Children's Literature Collection

Choosing Books to Share

Thoughts on selecting books...

  • When sharing books with children it is important to consider which books to share.
  • Be sure the the book is of appropriate length for the age children you are sharing it with.
  • Be sure to read the story ahead of time.
  • Look for books:
    • of high interest to kids (on subjects the children are interested in such as dinosaurs)
    • that are predictable with repetitive words or actions
    • with familiar characters
    • with silly words and sounds, songs
    • of classic stories, fairy tales,
    • of Mother Goose and poetry for the short-attention spanned
  • A good place to start is to select award winners. Check out the Award Winners Lists on the "Getting Started" page of this guide to help you find some.

Special Considerations

Is the book...

  • accurate?
  • positive?
  • multiethnic?
  • non-sexist?

Evaluating Books

When looking at these types of books keep in mind these considerations:

  • ABC Books
    • Clear lettering and illustrations?
    • Upper and lower cases included?
    • Illustrations should have items iwht only one commonly used name
    • Older readers will enjoy books where letters are "hiding"
  • Counting Books
    • Numbers are clear
    • Illustrations are easy to count
    • Older readers may enjoy mathematical concepts such as addition and subtraction
  • Concept Books (opposites, shapes, colors, relative sizes)
    • pictures must clearly illustrate the concept
  • Informational Books (Science history how-to)
    • All facts should be accurate
    • stereotypes should be eliminated
    • illustrations should clarify the text
    • analytical thinking should be encouraged
    • organization should aid understanding
    • style should stumulater interest
  • Poetry
    • should be lively with meters and rhythms
    • emphaize sounds and play with words
    • subject matter should delight or amuse
    • encourage to explore their world and language
    • should be able to stand up to repeated readings, and perhaps inspire a child to memorize or write a similar poem

The Experience

  • Choose an appropriate & quiet location to share books.
  • For smaller groups or individual children, choose books with interactive parts, pop-ups, questions, lift the flap. For larger groups choose larger books. Oversized books are great for large classrooms of children.
  • Get children to participate by finding pictures or words in the book, by predicting what will happen next, or by using props such as puppets or felt boards. Books with repetive text where listeners can participate by reciting are terrific for large groups.
  • Make storytime a fun time to create life-long lovers of books.

Engaging Children in Literacy Skills

Before reading the story:

  • Talk with your child about the cover. Ask “What do you see on the cover?” and “What do you think might happen in this story?”
  • Slide your finger under the words of the title, author, and illustrator as you read and explain those words.

While reading the story:

  • Follow the words you read with your finger
  • Pause and talk about the pictures and the words.
  • Ask questions about the pictures. Ask “How many babies are there?” and “How does the crocodile feel?”
  • Ask your child “Where are the words on this page?” Point to a word and name the letters that make up that word. Clap the syllables in the word.
  • Ask your child “On this page, do you see any letters that are in your name?
  • Point out any rhyming words – make up new rhyming words
  • Explain the meanings of new words
  • Make connections to something familiar to your child. Ask “Have you been to a zoo?  What did you see at the zoo?

After reading the story:

  • Ask your child, “Who are the characters in the story?” Write a list.
  • Ask your child, “What might happen next?


This information was taken from the Association of Library Services for Children's blog.

Some page content used with permission of Cathy Outten, CSULB