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Interactive Ideas, Teacher & Parent Recommendations

KIDS TREASURE HUNT: How to find a good book

A teacher or a parent tells you to go read a book.  You wander into the library, see shelf after shelf after shelf of books, books and more books. How are you ever going to find one you might like?
You need a treasure map!  Through reading we discover countless treasures in our imaginations and the world around us.  Create your own treasure map by collecting the clues around you.

The kind of book or story that you know interests you is a clue.  The two main categories are (1) Fiction—imaginary; and (2) Nonfiction—actual events or facts.

Within Fiction and Nonfiction there are many genres (types).  Some examples are:  (1) realistic fiction; (2) mystery; (3) adventure; (4) fantasy; (5) poetry; as well as (6) memoirs and biographies.

Books can combine elements from more than one genre. Historical fiction often tells stories that are an intriguing mix of fact and imagination.  Humorous stories cross all genre lines, as humor is found throughout the real and imaginary parts of life.  Add the types of books you like to your map.

A word search on a library catalog computer unearths more clues!  Enter the title of a book if you don’t know the author.  Enter an author’s name to get a list of books by him or her.  Enter a topic that interests you like ‘giraffes,’ or ‘outer space’ or ‘yoyos.’  All these entries will give you lists of books—any one of which may be your hidden treasure!  Add them to your map.

 Some clues are overlooked by the untrained eye.   Clues like the lists in the front or back pages of books you enjoy.  There can be lists of other books by the same author, book suggestions similar in tone or subject, or other books in a series.  Ask a media specialist at your library for a list of books nominated for children’s literature awards.  Ask people for their recommendations: what books are their favorites?  Write these down.  They are now a part of your treasure map.

Map in hand, search for books on the shelves.  Fiction is arranged alphabetically by author’s last name.  Nonfiction is grouped by subjects (giraffes together, outer space together, yoyos together) and then by the numbers on their spines in ascending (rising) order from left to right.

As you find the books from your lists, glance at the books on the shelves around them.  Any interesting titles?  Pull one out.  Good illustration on the cover?  Open it and read the first few pages or a page from the middle.  Intrigued?  Check it out!  I found one of my favorite books, Fame
and Glory in Freedom, Georgia
by Barbara O’Connor because it was next to a book on that day’s treasure map.

If  buying a book, your map works in the bookstore too.  Great places to find inexpensive books are:  (1) your local library used bookstore; or (2) bargain used bookstores.

Take advantage of opportunities to have books and stories read to you and to read them to others.  (Libraries have audio books you can check out.).  Find out story times or special events at local libraries and bookstores—sometimes you can even meet an author!

Reading aloud is great practice for book reports and speeches assigned in school.

Finding just the right book to read—the one you can’t put down—can be an adventure. Take a chance on a book you might not ordinarily choose.  You will find treasures in places you had never thought to look before. I would never have discovered Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle if I hadn’t tried a fantasy book for the first time. (She became one of my favorite authors.)  Draw your own map and follow your clues.  Your treasures are waiting for you!

SUMMARY OF HOW TO MAKE YOUR TREASURE MAP:

►Word Search on the library catalog

*Enter an author’s name and get a list of books by him or her

*Enter the title of a book if you don’t know the author (books are arranged alphabetically on shelves by author’s last name)

* Enter a topic that interests you (‘giraffes,’ ‘yoyos,’ ‘outer space’)

*All these entries will generate a list of books.  Any one of these could be your hidden treasure!  Write them down.

►Look at lists in the front or back pages of books you like.  There are sometimes lists of other books by that author, books similar in subject and tone, or more books in a series.

►Ask a media specialist at the library for a list of books nominated for children’s literature and book awards.

►Ask people for their recommendations:   what book(s) are their favorites? Ask
friends, parents, teachers and media specialists at the library.

►When you go to a shelf to find one of the books on your list, glance at the books on the shelves around them.  Any interesting titles?  Pull one out.  Good illustration on the cover?  Open it and read the first few pages or a page from the middle.  Intrigued?  Check it out!

(This is how I found one of my new favorites:  Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by Barbara O’Connor)

►TAKE A CHANCE ON A BOOK YOU MIGHT NOT ORDINARILY CHOOSE!!!!  I never would have discovered the Time Warp Trio books or Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle if I hadn’t tried fantasy/science fiction book for the first tim

►Take advantage of reading programs and events at libraries and community parks and bookstores

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