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A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  346 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Two of the most trusted reviewers in the field join with top authors, illustrators, and critics in a definitive guide to choosing books for children—and nurturing their love of reading.

A FAMILY OF READERS is the definitive resource for parents interested in enriching the reading lives of their children. It’s divided into four sections:

1. Reading to Them:
Choosing and sharin
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Candlewick Press (first published September 28th 2010)
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Nov 26, 2010 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A curious thing happens when you find yourself pregnant. I don’t mean the sudden desire to devour your neighbor or the embiggening of the belly region. I’m talking books. A person could work with children’s books for the majority of their adult life, think they know them back to front, up to down, forwards to backwards. . . . and yet when it comes to YOUR OWN child, horrors! Suddenly you know nuthin’ bout nuthin’. Less than that. I mean board books? Seriously? I need to have opinions on these no ...more
J L's Bibliomania
Apr 23, 2012 J L's Bibliomania rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, read-in
Finding books to enjoy with your kids is hard. Finding books that they would enjoy reading themselves is harder.

I enjoyed the first few chapters and requested several picture books and early readers we missed from the library. I didn't finish, but plan to bring this back in a couple of months to look for more gems we missed for the upper grade-school set to offer to my kids

Jenn Estepp
so i bought this book for the library and when it came in felt that i was sort of professionally obligated to at least peruse it. but, i assumed that would be all i did - skim the titles, dip into a few paragraphs, maybe read one or two of them on topics i was really interested in. but, lo and behold, it's really well put together and it ended up being my lunch/break reading for a few weeks. even topics i didn't particularly think i was interested in were dealt with in such a smart and entertain ...more
Monica Edinger
Jul 03, 2010 Monica Edinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, but I admit I'm biased as I consider Roger, Martha, and many of the contributors friends. Felt like I was at a version of my beloved CLNE (the now biyearly-used-to-be-every-summer amazingly wonderful Children's Literature New England conference) as so many of the names are from that group. The essays are smart --- intended for thoughtful and smart parents. Definitely opinionated, just like the Horn Book from which they all came (either reprints of articles from the venerable jou ...more
Dec 28, 2011 Shaunee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book as the opinions are by a wide variety of authors, illustrators and reviewers who all have had a life-time reading habit. They cite many books that I know and love, but also have added to what I know and am sure will love. I also like that rather than say a child must read this, the child's opinion is valued. Letting your child make decisions, even at an early age, as their opinions should be valued and you end up with a reader!
Feb 26, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book about books is so much greatness. The chapter on the value of reading fantasy alone was enough to make me highly recommend it, but that's just the beginning of the amazing insights. Anyone who thinks that YA reading is 'on the way out' needs to read the last chapter.

I have a book nerd happy.
Sep 19, 2016 Dolly is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents who want to learn how to encourage children to love to read
An excerpt from this book was required reading for one of my MLIS courses at the University of Maryland.

interesting quotes:

"When in my thirties I took up running, it was very important to me to be able to run one mile. The friend who was coaching me showed me a path and two landmarks, a beginning and an end, with exactly one mile between them. Although my first mile probably took me fifteen minutes, the time didn't matter so much as reaching the end. Reading 'a whole book' has the same satisfac
After reading Jim Trelease' "The Read Aloud Handbook" and a series of other more inferior books about reading to children with book recommendations, I stopped at getting similar books since I think one inspirational/informative book is enough in this area. However, this book proved me wrong. One of the author, Roger Sutton, has been the editor of the magazine "Hornbook" for many years, and both the Hornbook and he are well known by their seriousness in picking the reviewing Children's publicatio ...more
Jan 04, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the more interesting "book about children's books" that I've picked up, and there have been a lot of those. I skipped over some parts (What Makes a Good Science Nonfiction Book?) but other chapters were very insightful and there were some fascinating interviews with authors and a great little chapter on poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye. Did not agree with everything, but I tend to gravitate toward writers who write about children's books in the same way I think about them, so it was go ...more
Fiona H.
Jan 14, 2016 Fiona H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent collection of articles about modern children's literature. I've found it very helpful to read before taking up a position as school librarian. It is a very accessible read, and I appreciate the insights of parents and librarians of different generations. I love the way the book is set out, progressing from books for very young children to teenagers, with a collection of articles for each genre.
Aug 04, 2015 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Select essays and book recommendations, along with some author interviews, provide information on different genres and types of print materials for children.

A good resource for anyone needing guidance on book recommendations.
Jenny K
Feb 21, 2017 Jenny K rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes of getting some good reading recommendations out of this book. Nope. Not only do I disagree with some of the major tenants of the book: don't screen what your kids read! What? But I checked out several(6-8) of the recommended books from different sections of the book, and I was not impressed. The books were nonsense, no depth, or outrageous in content. I want to steer my family toward quality reading that has depth and meaning. Not to be found in this book.
Nov 26, 2010 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this list. I had to start another Goodreads shelf for Brayden with the recommendations from it. Here are some of the quotes I liked:

"Mother Goose will show newcomers to this world how astonishing, beautiful, capricious, dancy, eccentric, funny, goluptious, haphazard, intertwingled, joyous, kindly, loving, melodious, naughty, outrageous, pomsidillious, querimonious, romantic, silly, tremendous, unexpected, vertiginous, wonderful, x-citing, yo-heave-ho-ish, and zany it is."
-Iona Opie

Mar 22, 2014 Mauri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction

Lots of little interesting publishing world details – why you should be careful about selecting the board book “version” of a favorite picture book, trends in publishing, how the line between YA and Adult fiction gets blurred internationally (“The Spell Book of Listen Taylor” was published as adult fiction in Australia, then re-edited for YA in the States).

The format had strengths and weaknesses, with the author writing the lead in for each section, followed by essays on individual topics. A
Ccl Children's
Apr 09, 2013 Ccl Children's rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a great book to help adults select and guide children toward books that will engage the child as a listener or reader and promote a love of books. Authors Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano are the editor in chief and the executive editor of The Horn Book magazine, respectively. Contributors include authors, illustrators, editors, and reviewers of children’s books. This body of the book is arranged into four parts: Reading to them, reading with them, reading on their own, and leaving t ...more
Jan 31, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I've been savoring this book since a good friend gave it to me for Christmas last year - savoring because it's so full of information, and because it takes some time to digest it all. There are short essays about children's and teen books, often by famous authors, and presented in the order of a child's growth. It's similar in feel to the journal Horn Book, likely because Horn Book's editors also edited this. It's a great resource for parents and librarians, and of particular interest if you're ...more
Aug 30, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of essays by readers for readers and for the children and friends of readers. For the most part, all of these writers are with me on the same page regarding what makes a good book for children and what does not...I say for the most part because we do diverge a bit when it comes to teen reading and also on the the particular subject of sex education for nearly all child readers. Perhaps with teen readers I'm biased because I never read books written for teens, or the group ...more
I am skimming through some of the early parts of this book (with some sentimental feelings!), as my children are out of the stages of early picture books and readers. There are some gems in the essays sprinkled throughout, including this part of the author's interview with Maurice Sendak:

"I see myself as a fairly weak person. I've gotten better with age. Age has really done well by me. It's calmed the volcanoes down considerably. Age is a form of kindness we do ourselves. But I don't feel like I
Michael Fitzgerald
Apr 26, 2015 Michael Fitzgerald rated it it was ok
A disappointment - this book could - and should - have been much more and much better. Instead, it is shallow and trite, with about 80 pieces (I can't even call most of them "essays" or "chapters") some of which have the length and depth of a back cover blurb. There are big names here (Henkes, Zolotow, Zemach, Voigt, Lowry), but many get just a single page. Some of these are tantalizing, but then you realize that *that* is the meal. There isn't any more to it. The short lists are especially bad. ...more
Nov 27, 2010 jacky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to jacky by: elizabeth bird
I loved this book! This book was a perfect fit for me. As an English teacher with a child, I am more sophisticated (or maybe snobby is a better word?) in my thinking about what my child will read. This book is for that type of parent. This is not a book for someone who just reads the occasional best seller on a plane or at the beach.

That said, this book was great. I read the beginning about board books and picture books (because that is where we are with Natalie right now) and the end about YA
From the editors of the Horn Book Magazine comes a book for readers who are in uncharted territory when it comes to their children's reading lives. It's a book of essays, with the occasional interview thrown in, on choosing books for babies through teens. (though to be fair they recommend allowing your teen ample reading freedom). Sutton and Parravano write the overviews to the different sections, and then various reviewers and authors discuss what makes a good book in that section. Along with t ...more
Dec 05, 2010 Brianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think that I would read this cover-to-cover. I thought I would just skim the sections about genres that I'm unfamiliar with and skip over everything else - but I couldn't put it down! I really enjoyed the collection of voices and the insight into a wide variety of reading material. Some of the information was very familiar (girl books, for example) and other sections were very informative (board books and preschool science books - who knew?). Perhaps my favorite little passage was the i ...more
May 18, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roger Sutton's expertise is evident throughout this book. Designed as a guide through children's literature, he gives a little bit of history, author interviews, book recommendations, and insight about what kids want to read. He introduces each section of the book and his voice is evident throughout the collection. Authors reflect on genres, their own experiences with writing and reading, and tell about their craft. It's a beautiful compilation and I recommend it for serious parents, librarians, ...more
Oct 06, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this look at the different stages of reading. The bibliography provided me with even more books I want to add to my list of reading! Essentially, the authors advice for creating a family of readers is to be a reader yourself-model the behavior that you want to see in your child and allowing them to pick books they are interested in reading exactly the way that you as a reader does,

"The best way to understand how children read is to read for yourself."

"Only by experience it (a book
although this is allegedly written for parents, to aid them in all the stages of their children's reading development from baby to teen,it's also a great professional resource for educators and librarians alike. even if you think you already know it all, this is an inspired look at all the different qualities that make children's and young adult books great. brought to you by the fine editors of horn book, with several entries and interviews from many an author and illustrator (and of course lis ...more
Jun 26, 2011 Marcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book! Especially if you love reading children's books, love reading about children's books or just know kids who like to read. A helpful volume for librarians, teachers and really parents who are the target audience.
The authors are from Horn Book, which has never been my favorite selection tool (SLJ hits the mark more often) but they are experts. They've broken the book down by format and genre, beginning with board books and going straight to YA. It includes many author essays and inter
Seeking out great children's lit is a favorite pastime. Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook first gave me permission to take the matter seriously and this guide is helping me to up the ante. It's chock full of funny and thoughtful essays from Horn Book editors and favorite authors. I've been tipped off to plenty of quality books I was hereto for unfamiliar with such as the Science Play series by Vicki Cobb. I've found helpful introductions to genres like science fiction and fantasy that I know ab ...more
Sep 01, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The positive: A wonderful resource for help stocking a library (home, baby's, or otherwise), with lots of advice. I found the section on board books especially helpful, since I have very little experience with them. Lists and lists of books to add to my to-read shelf, and reminders of ones I'd read and forgotten.

The negative: Some of the interviews/essays got a little too "tell us how you are wonderful" for my taste, although my dislike/lack of knowledge about some of the authors in question is
Sarah Sullivan
Feb 24, 2011 Sarah Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read as part of my applied project research. Lots of familiar information, but a really strong overview of what's out there for young people of all ages in recent years, with lots of good information about the field at large. It was also helpful for me to get a sense of some of the areas I know less about, like board books, for example, or alphabet books (which, the authors explain, are only as strong as their "X" page).
Aug 11, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting compilation of essays, some originally published in Horn Book Magazine, and some new essays/interviews that together provide a reliable guide to anyone wanting to make more informed choices when considering books for children or young adults. Each chapter ends with a list of examples of superior publications in each category, e.g., picture books, science books, realistic fiction, poetry, etc.
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“That life can be a rich place, comprised of the highbrow and the lowdown, the casual and the ambitious, private reading and public sharing. As a parent in that landscape, you'll need to be sometimes traveling companion, sometimes guides, sometimes off in your own part of the forest. A relationship between readers is complicated and cannot be reduced to such "strategies" as mandatory reading aloud, a commendable family activity whose pleasure has been codified into virtue, transforming the nightly bedtime story into a harbinger of everybody's favorite thing: homework.” 2 likes
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