How to Pick the Best Children’s Books

There are so many children’s books out there to choose from, it can become overwhelming to sift through. When I look at books that will help my students grow, I look for four key elements to really stand out:

1. Vocabulary: a combination of words that are already a part of a child’s vocabulary, interspersed with new language that is challenging.

2. Entertainment Value: what kinds of emotions will the story evoke? Fear? Joy? Anger? It is exciting when kids can track with the ebbs and flows of the characters in a book and the situations.

3. Illustrations: this is where the non-verbal story happens, where subtle hints can be exposed, an underlying story line explored. These visual details aid in bringing the story to life. You can help your kids to use the illustrations more fully by posing questions about the colors, facial expressions, hidden details, setting of the scene.

4. Take-Home Message or Moral: what can your child learn from the book and its characters? My personal favorites are the stories where the message is open to interpretation, and each child can take away a little something different, depending on how he relates to it individually.



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