Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mom Tip: How to Pick New Children's Books to Read

I'm sure I'm not the only one that isn't able to spend hours at the library browsing through children's books to pick new ones to read at home.  I have a toddler that loves to pull books off the shelves and run through the aisles and three other kids that need a little help finding/picking out books.

Don't judge me, but I totally judge books by their cover.  If I don't find the cover attractive, then I mostly likely won't even open the book.  If I do like the cover, then the next step is opening the book to see how many words there are on a page.  Seriously, for those of you that have ever read a LEGO Ninjago book outloud, you'll know why this is important.

I've developed a system over the last few years that has helped my family find new favorite children's books to read.
My younger elementary school age kids bring home Scholastic Book Club flyers from school throughout the year.  If you don't have these coming home, then you can check the flyers out online on Scholastic Reading Club's website.

My first step is I get a marker and sit down with the flyer.  I circle all the books that have a Hardcover retail price of $15.99 or more.  The books are usually marked down to $4 or less to buy through the book order.  It usually says something like Paperback Exclusive!  This is my clue that this book is pretty popular and should be worth reading.  The books that are regularly less than $10 aren't the best books, just okay.  The really good ones have the original price of $15.99 or so.

These paperback exclusive books are sometimes featured several times throughout the flyer, sometimes bundled with other books.  This is another clue that this is a must-read book.

This is a great way that I find out about new books by some of my favorite authors, like this one by Karma Wilson.
Sometimes I go ahead and buy the book from the book club.  But more often, I go to my library's online catalog and see if they have it in our library system.  If they do, then I put a hold on it.  Then when I go to the library I get to quickly grab a big bundle of books all ready for me.  No searching required.

This way my time at the library is spent with my children helping them find books they are searching for, while not having to worry about finding new books in the thousands of books in the library shelves.

We've found a lot of favorite books to read and eventually purchase this way.

How about you?  How do you find new, fun books to read outloud to kiddos?
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