Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the books for kids choices on the library shelves, book store displays or pages and pages on online shopping sites?
The other day I was sitting at the library with the kids and I watched a gentleman who wandered into the children’s department looking around aimlessly at the book spines on the shelf. He seemed to want to find just the right book, but he was definitely not confident about his search. I wondered if he was a father, uncle, mentor or big brother. I wanted to ask, “Can I help you find a book?”
There are thousands and thousands of book choices on the market. It can be confusing and difficult to decide which books to borrow or buy. How do you find the best quality books that your kids will love?
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I am an independent consultant for Usborne Books & More.
There are a few publishers that are on my go to list for high quality, high interest and high engagement books. One of them is Usborne Books & More.
Tips for Choosing the Best Books for Kids
1. Match Books to Interests
This is probably the single home run tip for finding those just right books. When we read as adults, we like to read about a topic that interests us. Kids are the same. What are your kids into right now?
My boys adore everything car and truck related right now so The Usborne Big Book of Big Machines with huge fold-out pages keeps them engaged for quite some time.
Find books on the things that your kids love. I have over 50+ book lists based on topics and themes from which to gather ideas.
2. Check the Illustrations
Illustrations can really make or break a picture book. Child friendly illustrations are crucial for drawing a young reader into the book.
Dan, the Taxi Man is full of illustrations that draw you in and has a rhythmic text that keeps you chanting along with the story.
3. Does it Wake the Senses?
Piggybacking off of tip #2, kids love to feel like they are part of the story. Flip through the book. Is it a touch and feel book with various textures? Are there lift-the-flaps that will engage the reader? Read the first page. Do the words draw you into the story? Any of these things put the book higher on my list of books to get.
Both of my kids adored That’s Not My Monkey? Not only did they enjoy all the high quality touch and feel pages but they also loved to find the little white mouse hiding out on each page. In fact, it made our list of favorite books for babies!
Secrets of the Rainforest is a fun shine-a-light book. There are several pages that you hold up to the light and more illustrations appear on the pages. There is also Secrets of the Sea Shore and Secrets of the Apple Tree in this series.
4. Variety, variety, variety
It is easy to accumulate only fiction books on your shelves. Make sure to add non-fiction titles into your personal library. Also, check to see how diverse the characters are in the books you choose. Our world is a huge melting pot of races and cultures and our books for kids should represent that.
Look Inside An Airport is and interesting behind-the-scenes look at what makes an airport work. Lift the flaps and reveal even more information.
Illustrated Stories from Around the World is full of stories such as Brer Rabbit, King Midas and Baba Yaga.
5. Explore More From the Authors that You Love
Is there a book that your child already loves? See if the author has written more books. The book may even be one in a series or collection of books.
We love Super Duck by Jez Alborough who also happens to have other Duck adventure books. Duck in a Truck is a super fun one.
6. Broaden Horizons
One of our jobs as caregivers is to help expand the reading repertoire of our kids. Look for books that will help to teach kids about new places, new things or new ideas.
Does your child want a puppy or dog? Dogs and Puppies will teach them about caring for a pet and training the little guy or gal.
7. Who is Doing the Reading?
The Phonic’s Readers series is great for the newest reader. My son loves, loves, loves Hen’s Pens.
Bears is full of photographs and interesting facts about the mammal and comes with an easy to read text.
When choosing books to read to kids, I most often select titles that are above the child’s independent level. These books are rich with words that might be new to the listener and serve to build their growing vocabulary.
I hope that this list of ideas makes it easier the next time you are trying to figure out which books to add to your library.