One of my favorite (and least favorite) questions is, “Do you have any good books for a second grader?”
Rest assured; I want to hear this question repeatedly! It could even be the same question about a newborn, a senior in high school or anyone in between. However, it always gives me a little jolt, and it always leads to more questions.
Part of the jolt comes from knowing that every child is different. Their interests, relationships to reading and learning abilities vary wildly. That’s why the Library’s new Personalized Recommendations form is a great tool to connect you to a list of titles tailored for the children and teens in your life.
Another great way to start is to check out our Booklists for All Ages and Grades.
Every year, Children’s and Teen staff from all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations collaborate to build these lists with guidance from our Coordinator of Children’s and Teen Collections. We scour professional reviews, books on our digital and physical shelves, and recent reading memories to find suggested titles.
The process of creating these lists is challenging and rewarding, just like making a large batch of soup. I’ve found myself exploring formats and genres I am less familiar with to make a more complete list (or yummy soup, if you will).
I also get the chance to hear about how some of the titles have impacted a colleague or made for wonderful storytime memories. And occasionally I have felt a rare competitive edge, as I wait (and hope!) to see whether some of my titles will make the final lists.
There are so many books to choose from and so many readers to consider. We know that a list of 10 or so titles can’t possibly adequately represent our collections or suit all of the potential readers. So ultimately, we try to create lists that target developmentally appropriate material in diverse stories and genres, giving folks a taste of what’s available and encouraging them to seek out formats and flavors that will suit them best.
I hope with this peek behind the scenes, you’ll never look at a booklist the same way. Behind each title suggestion at the Library, there are conversations, consideration, and lots and lots of intention. In the case of Books for All Ages and Grades, you have the chance to see our collective ideas in action.
Looking for a good book, album, movie or TV show? We’re happy to recommend them to you! Use this Personalized Recommendations form to send us some information about what you like and we’ll curate a list just for you.