Friday, December 5, 2014

What kids want to read and how we can support them

Yesterday, Scholastic published a sneak peek at its forthcoming report on what kids and their families are reading. The results are, to me, not surprising, totally fascinating, and super useful as we work to build our school library collection. Check out the infographic on Scholastic's site here.

Key takeaways include:
- Kids want books that make them laugh.
- Kids want good, rich, creative stories that give them opportunities to use their imaginations.
- Kids want books with characters who inspire them.
- Kids want books with characters who look like them.

This last point brings me to a brilliant movement in the book publishing world, #WeNeedDiverseBooks. Based on the idea that young people need to see themselves reflected in the books they read, this group of writers and readers has created a powerful and compelling campaign to raise awareness of the lack of diverse characters in books for young people and to make positive change in the world of children's book publishing.

The SK library supports the mission of the We Need Diverse Books campaign and aims to create a library collection in which all children will see themselves, their lives, and their experiences reflected in the books on the shelves.

How can we get more good books into more kids' hands? Check out some of these best-of-the-year lists. Personally, before I commit to reading a book (or recommending a book to a child) that I've discovered on a "best of the year" list, I cross check other lists to see if it appears in multiple places. After all, starting a new book based solely on the recommendation of a stranger is a rather risky endeavor. That being said, here are several lists from which to cross check (if you so desire).

Association of Library Services for Children Notable Books of 2014

Young Adult Library Services Association Best Books for Young Adults 2014

We Need Diverse Books Guide to Books for the Holidays

Common Sense Media Best Books for Families (not limited to 2014)

Indie Next List of Inspired Recommendations from Indie Booksellers Autumn 2014  (make sure you select the appropriate age range)

New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2014

NPR's Best Books for Kids 2014

Happiest of end-of-the-year reading to you.