Creating a Book List: Simple, Right?

I’ve encountered the need for targeted lists of children’s books in every stage of my career, from preparing curriculum units as a teacher, to writing curriculum for a literacy nonprofit, and even for fulfilling my kids’ burning desires to learn about various topics or provide thoughtful baby and birthday gifts to family and friends. There are so many fantastic children’s books out there –but it turns out, compiling the perfect collection, whether it’s three books or three hundred –is significantly more time-consuming that you might think.

Some of the factors I consider when I’m compiling a book list include:

  • Quality of writing
  • Appeal of illustrations
  • Match to list purpose
  • Genre variety, or quality of genre-specific characteristics for a genre-specific list
  • Representation of gender, cultural, familial and lifestyle diversity
  • Reading level based on quantitative and qualitative measures, as applicable
  • Real children’s reactions!

Curating book collections becomes significantly easier with experience. Being familiar with existing available titles and authors, industry trends, and reliable resources all streamline the process. Cultivating and maintaining relationships with a variety of publishers makes it possible to better stay on top of new releases and obtain review copies.

An excellent book list provides an unparalleled foundation for a curriculum unit or program. It’s definitely worth the time and investment. Please enjoy some of my recent book list posts below, and contact me about how I might support your organization to assemble book collections and related resources to fit your needs.

Mentor Texts for How To Writing

Books and Tips to Help Children Understand Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa Books for Kids



Why You Need It: Customized Blog Content for Your Literacy Organization

“You should write a blog,” argued my husband several years ago when I began contemplating getting back into the workforce after our second son finally began sleeping through the night. Joining the ranks of parent bloggers didn’t appeal to me, but as I began to connect with more literacy-related organizations, I realized there is an acute need for top notch blog content to help organizations maintain a productive online presence. Fresh and focused blog posts:

  • Bring traffic to your website
  • Keep visitors on your website longer
  • Reflect your story
  • Provide you with social media content to extend your reach
  • Highlight your products or services in a meaningful way

Of course, it’s crucial to make the right choice as to who provides your blog content. Oftentimes senior staff members have too many other commitments to contribute frequent content, and less experienced writers may produce content that isn’t reliable.

Whether it’s ghostwriting as the voice of an organization or writing as a contributor or guest blogger from my own perspective, digging into an organization’s mission and values to prepare fresh blog content has been hugely satisfying for me. I frequently receive appreciative feedback, and, as one client told me, “A blog is an animal that constantly needs to be fed.”

I’d love to help you improve your blog offerings. Please enjoy a few recent samples of my blog contributions:

An Intro To Early Brain Development for Raising Readers

A Culturally Responsive Approach to Discussing Thanksgiving in the Classroom for LEE & LOW books

7 High-Interest Picture Book Biographies for Women’s History Month for the Barnes & Noble Kids Blog