In a library of over 10,000 books, I reshelve the same 200 books over and over again. Kids – like adults – get caught in ruts. Take the fairy jag for example. I know little girls who visit the library, head straight for the one “fairy series” we have and never venture beyond. I’ve tried various strategies to encourage exploration, but if left to their own devices, I know exactly where to find these girls. The 6 to 9-year-old boys do the same thing; you’ll find them in the robot or snake sections.
I understand their impulse. Most of us like to stay with what we know or with what seems popular, but as I re-shelve the snake and robot books and put the puppy fairy book next to the guinea pig fairy, my eyes often catch the forgotten titles – books I know the kids would enjoy, but unless handed to them by a teacher or myself, they are seldom circulated.
In an effort to bring some of these books the attention they deserve, I’ll list three of them every Thursday. And maybe some day when I least expect it, one of them will be handed to me in the check-out line.
The Outside Dog by Charlotte Pomerantz – I used to read this story to my son all of the time. It’s a pleasant story about a girl, her grandfather and a dog. There’s even a little Spanish sprinkled in.
Alien and Possum by Tony Johnston – In the tradition of good friends books (think Frog and Toad), this is a wonderful series. The stories are sweet (read “The Bedtime Story”) and the illustrations by Tony DiTerlizzi are wonderful.
The Other Side of the Bridge by Wolfram Hanel – This is a quiet little story, but my son used to love it. It’s about a boy named Andy who dares to cross the bridge to meet Old Jasper, who legend has it eats children for breakfast!