Sometimes, stepping into a bookstore or a library to find a book for your child can be overwhelming. There are shelves upon shelves and rows upon rows, and it can seem like every surface is proclaiming, “This is the book you should read!” Navigating the literature world for the children in your life can be daunting, but it’s important that children have someone guiding them so they find the right book. Below are a few tips we recommend for finding the best book.

1. Think about your child’s level
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a book is what level your reader is, even if you’re reading aloud to them. For younger children, picture books with rhythm and rhyme and simple structure are easiest to follow, and as your reader grows, you can choose more complex books.

2. What are your child’s interests?
The second factor to consider is what interests your child has. If the book has content or characters involving something they like, such as dinosaurs or fairies, then they’re more likely to be interested in reading. A great way to enter the picture book world is to find books about your child’s favorite characters from movies or television shows. There are hundreds out there, and reading a book about something your child already has a connection with is a great entry point.

3. What books have you enjoyed?
When you’re reading to a child, they are more likely to engage with the book if you’re engaged. What better way to do this than to choose a book you loved as a child or maybe a new favorite? If they see that you have a connection to the book, they are more likely to foster one themselves.

4. Try something new!
While reading familiar favorites can be a great way to get into reading, there are only so many dinosaur books one can handle (in theory). Trying something new is a great way to introduce other interests and perspectives to your child and even to yourself!

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5. Check out your local libraries’ recommendations
Though a public library can seem daunting, they have great recommendations for the best books for you or your child. Librarians are there to help, and you can go to any of them with questions on how to find the best book. Read-aloud events are also great opportunities to introduce new books to your life and see important read-aloud skills being modeled.

6. Think about SEL
SEL stands for ‘social-emotional learning’, and it’s a big characteristic of children’s books today. Picture books can cover anything from learning to share to handling grief, and reading them with children is a great way to help them process and handle their emotions. Consider what your child is going through or skills you want them to improve, like manners, and search for books that engage with these themes.

7. Remember, reading is a labor of love
When it comes down to it, reading with your child is really about the connection between you and them, not just between them and the book. Taking the time to sit down with your child shows great care, and spending that time reading shows consideration for their success in life. Literacy plays a big part in providing children with opportunities later in life, and it starts by reading in the home. Though it is important to choose the right book, focus on why you’re reading to your child rather than stressing about what. Remembering that reading with a child is an act of love will make the time count, no matter the book.

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Isabelle is an incoming senior at Eastern Michigan University with a major in Children’s and Young Adult Literature with a Publishing concentration and a minor in both Professional Writing and Literature. She is an avid reader of all fiction genres and enjoys writing, especially poetry. She is currently working on her own fantasy novel. She is also a huge Swiftie and loves spending time with her three younger sisters.