Thursday, January 08, 2009


I always love hearing about a new site that is dedicated to getting the very best books in the hands of children and young adults. That is why I was so excited to be part of the MotherTalk blog tour for James Patterson's ReadKiddoRead site. Patterson is dedicating it to helping parents, teachers and librarians find the books that kids latch onto and can't put down.

The books are listed in categories divided by age: 0-8, 6 & up, 8 & up, and 10 & up. Patterson has hand picked the best books he could find in each section and has added author interviews, reviews and a community ning with forums. In the "transitional" books for age 6 & up, for example, there are genre selections for fantasy, real world fiction, action and mysteries, and "just the facts', or nonfiction. In every category there are books that will grab kids and not let go.

The one thing I am wishing for on this site is a more diverse ethnic representation in the authors and books. I am not seeing much color on the book lists and I wonder why. There is an opportunity in the community ning to post one's own favorite book lists to share and I am working on making a list on my page there. I'm wondering how much influence members of the ning have over Patterson's lists? It will be interesting to watch how this relatively new social network community develops as folks join. How about you? What books would you recommend for a favorites list?


Tricia said...

I read about this site at Sarah Miller's blog on Monday. Seems her book was highlighted there. Looks like a site I'll need to visit. Thanks for highlighting it.

BookChook said...

Wow, your blog is a visual and literary delight. I can see I will need to come here when I lack inspiration!

I am off to the Patterson site to check out the lists, but not sure I would know the racial or ethnic background of any writers. Was there a gender bias? A nation-bias?

Anonymous said...

i will admit to there not being a lot of color on V's bookshelf presently, but we do love There's a Flower at the Tip of My Nose Smelling Me, by Alice Walker. She's one of my favorites anyway, but it's a beautiful children's book with gorgeously colorful illustrations. I like it also because even when V was younger, she could easily sit through a reading of the entire book because it's so calming. It can be hard for younger kids to sit through poetry because it can be so complicated. This one is not, yet it's still poetry.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind words about READKIDDOREAD. As someone who has been having an absolute blast selecting and annotating the books for the site, I was interested in your comment about there not being enough ethnic diversity in the lists. I've worked very hard to choose books that kids won't want to put down, but I'm always looking for books that bring all kids into the wider world. I have included many of these books on the site, with more to come.

I went back and did a rough count, and there are 18 titles with a multicultural cast of main characters out of the 140 books listed so far. Mind you, about 50 of the books have all animal characters, so if you do the math, of the 90 books about humans, 18 of them (a full 20 percent) sport ethnically diverse main characters.That's a pretty good mix, I think.

James Patterson's only bias is in recommending books your kids, age birth to teen, won't be able to put down. His agenda is to help parents and teachers and librarians and all other kid-friendly adults in their efforts to raise lifetime readers and help them find books that will bring them great joy. I'm thrilled to be working with him on this site and I hope it'll be valuable for you and your children.

If you'd like to recommend books your children love, go on over to the site and click on the COMMUNITY button at the top of the page. Sign up as a member, and add your comments on one of the blogs or forums. We'd love to hear from you.

Happy reading and discovering--

Judy Freeman

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Judy thanks for commenting! I went back and looked over the books again. I see there is some diversity on the shelves. I guess I am just looking for more depth and richness. I am a member of the community there and I have a GoodReads widget on my page with many of the best loved kid's books that I have experienced reading over and over to my own kids and my students in the library. There are so many wonderful books circulating.

I appreciate the challenge in finding the very best and getting them into the hands of children. I truly believe that ALL of us benefit when we see the world represented as widely diverse, colorful and multicultural as it actually is. Anytime there is an opportunity to broaden the view or spotlight really wonderful books like Julius Lester's How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? Jules Feiffer's A Room With A Zoo, Louise Erdrich's The Porcupine Year, or Christopher Paul Curtis's Elijah of Buxton I think we need to shout it from the rooftops!

I am glad to be part of the community that recommends these and other books to kids, parents, teachers and librarians. Thanks for all your work on the ReadKiddoRead site.