Professional Shelf | Go-To Guides to Books for Children and Teens

Two recently published titles offer recommendations galore for collection developers, classroom teachers, students of literature, and parents.

Two recently published titles offer recommentations galore for collection developers, classroom teachers, and parents.

GIORGIS, Cyndi, ed. Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook. 8th ed. 384p. bibliog. notes. photos. Penguin. Sept. 2019. pap. $20. ISBN 9780143133797.
Giorgis, a professor of children’s and young literature, revises Jim Trelease’s classic guide, which was first published to great acclaim in 1982. This eighth edition generally adheres to the earlier version’s format, with some changes to chapter headings. It retains the chatty success stories, some repeated, some new, but updates some of the research that supports the importance of reading aloud to children to promote a lifelong love of reading. Both editions stress the need for easy access to literature. Sections on the stages of reading aloud (infant, toddler, etc.) and strategies for reading aloud are repeated from the earlier edition. This version explores visual and digital literacy in greater depth, with useful examples. This edition differs most from its predecessors with the section “A Treasury of Recommended Read-Alouds,” which features more current titles. Both editions provide lists of the authors’ own special favorites in particular genres. VERDICT Like its predecessors, this is an excellent choice to recommend to parents and also useful for beginning teachers and librarians. Libraries that possess the seventh edition should consider replacing it with this more current version.–Jackie Gropman, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, VA

redstar HART, Melissa. Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books To Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens. 304p. bibliog. further reading. index. Sasquatch. Apr. 2019. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781632172273.
This exceptionally useful text offers well-curated annotated bibliographies on subjects such as immigration, race and ethnicity, LGBTQIA+ identities, adoption, religion, and poverty, framed by brief and engaging essays on why each topic matters to readers today. Hart (Avenging the Owl) shares her personal connections to several issues, reflecting on how lacking or having the right story at the right time can make a world of difference to young people. Even with some appropriate overlap among lists and the wise focus on more recent titles, there is a feeling of abundance. Books vary widely in terms of genre and age level (with the occasional adult title featured), and Hart writes with an intersectional lens, considering within-group difference. Interviews with children’s authors, including An Na, Chris Crutcher, Donna Gephart, Beth Vrabel, and Eric Gansworth, are seamlessly integrated and add insight, as do anecdotes from teachers and librarians. An introduction by author Sharon M. Draper and appendixes of additional resources and research further situate the book within the larger landscape of engagement with life-changing adolescent fiction. VERDICT Offering valuable reading lists, this beautifully organized work should become a go-to resource for parents, students of young adult literature, teachers, and librarians.–Miriam DesHarnais, Towson University, MD

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