A Parents Guide to Children’s Literature

by Anna Blanch on November 16, 2009

In writing a PhD on E.Nesbit, who is best known as a Children’s author, I am often asked my opinion about contemporary children’s literature, or what I would advise children of different ages should read, or whether I think this series or that series is good (you can imagine that many recent film releases have sparked a variety of conversations). While it is not central to my own interests, I am keen to develop skills to share the knowledge I have gained with those around me. The first port of call then is to develop a sense of the resources available to parents to help them think through what would be helpful for their children to be reading. Secondly, to think through the considerations that might affect what is or is not “helpful.”

How to Choose the Right Book for your Child?
This article, by Garima Gupta might be a helpful starting point. Gupta lays out the developmental needs in relation to reading and literature by age.

Selecting Books for your Child: finding ‘Just Right’ Books
Kathleen Rodgers presents practical advice to help parents and children find their reading level.

Guide to Searching Children’s and Young Adult Literature: Selected References and Sources
From the University of Iowa, this is essentially a list of books about children’s books and young adult literature. It also links to other resources for selecting children’s books and Young adult fiction, and specific bibliographies of children’s and young adult literature. There is no substantive information in the list and functions best as a finding aid if you have access to a good academic (university) library or National library.

Children’s Literature Web Guide
Comprehensive Web Guide for Children’s Literature including links to information about authors, awards, and resources for parents and teachers. Includes links to a Children’s Literature Index of Teaching Ideas and resources. Some links to the University of Calgary are no longer functional – they may have been moved. The essential list of “Kid Lit” Websites.

Literate Parents: A Parent’s Guide To Quality, Age-Appropriate Children’s Literature 
Reviews of Children’s literature written by parents with a focus on age appropriate fiction and non fiction. Considers the Best Audience, parts that might raise objections and ideas tht parents may want to discuss with their children in the course of reading the book. Also links books to sale points, including Amazon. Categorises books by age, gender, and themes.

Helping Your Child Use the Library
By Kathryn Perkinson. An Office of Educational Research booklet.
ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication
Read stories especially chosen to be shared between parents and children, as well as nonfiction articles on topics of interest to children, and reviews of recent children’s literature. Also includes resources and lesson plans for teachers and parents (may provide an excellent home schooling resource).

Peabody Children’s Literature Resources
This resource guide lists a sampling of materials available in the Peabody Library, Vanderbuilt University, related to the study or and use in the home or classroom of literature written for children. Ideal for the scholar of children’s literature, though some parents might find it useful.


The next post will consider the factors that might affect what is or is not “helpful” for children to read.

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