With so many fabulous titles to choose from, it can be hard to compile a list of books to include in your child's library. However, you can start by reviewing a list of award winning books and recommendations by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).
Award Winning Books
When looking for books to read with your child, you'll definitely want to consider obtaining a list of award winning children's books. Many of the books that win awards go on to become classic children's literature.
There are several different types of awards that children's books can receive, but the awards that are most relevant to parents of children in preschool through fifth grade include the Caldecott Medal and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. (The Newbery Award list includes some books for children in second through fifth grade, but is primarily comprised of books for junior high school students.)
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. This prestigious children's book award is given the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published within the previous year.
In 2011, Caldecott Medal books included:
- A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead
- Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill
- Interrupting Chicken, written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein
A complete list of Caldecott Medal recipients dating back to 1939 can be found on the American Library Association (ALA) website.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given to the most distinguished book published in the United States and written for beginning readers in preschool through second grade. The 2011 recipient of this award was Bink and Gollie, written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGee and illustrated by Tony Fucile.
The 2011 Honor Book picks for this award included:
- Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!, written and illustrated by Grace Lin
- We Are in a Book!, written and illustrated by Mo Willems
You can download a list of past Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winners from Target's Commitment to Reading website.
The ALSC, a division of the ALA, regularly publishes lists of book recommendations based on a child's age. The list automatically includes recipients of major children's literature awards, but suggests many other deserving titles as well.
For students in kindergarten through second grade, the 2011 list of suggestions included titles such as:
- April and Esme, Tooth Fairies, written and illustrated by Bob Graham
- Chalk, written and illustrated by Bill Thomson
- Big Red Lollipop, written by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
- Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes, written and illustrated by Salley Mavor
For students in second grade through fifth grade, the 2011 list of suggestions included titles such as:
- The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester, written by Barbara O'Connor.
- Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys, written by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
- How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships, written by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
- Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down! How Elvis Shook Up Music, Me and Mom, written by Mark Alan Stamaty
A complete listing of titles for all age groups is available on the ALSC website.
Encouraging a Love of Reading
While stocking your child's library with well written books is certain a noble goal, don't forget that the best way to encourage a love of reading is to choose books that are related to your child's interests. This may mean that your library includes popular children's book series titles as well as award winners and ALSC recommendations.