Book Pusher

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I’ve been at the library now for about two months and I still love it so much. I love the kids, the books, the same everything I’ve mentioned loving before, but I don’t love everything.

I don’t love putting away the books since I still haven’t organized the shelves in the young adult section. Everything I’ve researched and read about library operations say nonfiction should be organized by the Dewey Decimal list of call numbers and fiction should be by alphabetical order by author’s last name unless it’s a biography or autobiography. In that case, it’s arranged alphabetically by the last name of the person written about. You also have general separations for age groups/reading levels. You’re not going to shelve Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell next to Forever by Judy Blume.

The partially organized shelves means finding books for kids isn’t always something I love, either. I love finding the right book for the right child. I love it. Anyone who has asked me for an opinion on books knows I’m always willing to help out. But I volunteer in a library without an electronic record–without a paper record, even–and rely mainly on my strong photographic memory, which has served me well these past two months. But there is only one of me and dozens of kids who are eager to find the right book.

Card Catalog

This has me wondering why it’s so important for elementary school libraries to organize their collections traditionally. If the goal is to encourage reading and allow students to browse the library shelves and discover something new, maybe school libraries should organize themselves like bookstores. City libraries, college libraries, and certainly law libraries are in place to facilitate subject access. You walk in, for the most part, with a goal. You have a mission. Elementary students stumble in like excited puppies with no real plan unless they are working on a science or history report. Finding a book, especially for a reluctant reader (I hate that label), is a lot like diagnosing a patient who walks in with “body aches.” It takes digging. They can’t tell you what their favorite book is because they “don’t really have one.” They “kind of like scary, maybe” until I show them all the Mary Downing Hahn and they shrug their shoulders. I walk two aisles back and show them all the Tony Abbott. Nothing. I walk forward three aisles–past where I started originally–and show them all the Edgar Allen Poe.

Are you sure you like scary? Maybe you mean fantasy. And there I go: Rowling, Funke, Paolini, Lewis, Colfer.

This has been great as far as getting my 10,000 daily steps, but I know the kids, especially the older ones, would like more autonomy. I would love to organize the library according to genres and alphabetize within the genre. I already have a dinosaur, animal, sports, and “popular series” sections that I did last year and over the summer on a hunch, and they are a huge hit. My 5 sports freak boys spread across 6th and 7th grade hit the sports section every time. I ask them each week if they would like to try something new, but so far they’re content with their section. Little J. in 2nd grade goes straight to the dinosaurs every week without fail. He knows where they are, he loves them, and during check out he tries to stump me with dino trivia. Impossible! He doesn’t understand what it means to be Mikey’s mom.

Glasses

I can think of several reasons why the “bookstore system” wouldn’t work. One, it flies in the face of tradition. Two, it reduces the role of the media specialist with an advanced to degree to that of a retail associate. Three, most libraries don’t have the catalog to support sections according to genre. Four, change is hard, y’all.

I’m sure I’m missing several other reasons, ones they probably teach you in graduate school, but I doubt anyone can deny a Barnes & Noble store encourages reading more than a traditional library. (Assuming you go home and read everything you buy.) I should hope so, since it’s Barnes & Noble’s goal to get you to part with your money. (See previous parenthetical.) If the library system worked as a method to discover new authors and books, then bookstores would follow suit.

Let me add something else, and it’s heartbreaking. Some of these kids have never been to a library. They download or they buy and borrow. Borrowing is very popular in the upper grades. One girl will buy a book and then pass it around to 6 of her best girlfriends at school. The boys, not so much. They have their books their parents buy and there isn’t much back-and-forth sharing unless it’s a huge hit like The Hunger Games. I spent a lot of time the first few days of school explaining how a library works to the younger grades.

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Comments
55 Responses to “Book Pusher”
  1. Susan says:

    The benefit I see to organizing the library in the traditional fashion is that it prepares the children to use the library as they advance in their school career and studies. Seeing other books next to the books they want may pique their interest. It did for me. Does your school offer a how to use the library class? I loved that class when I was a kid! It was like getting the keys to a secret kingdom. I have to admit I had a moment of aversion at the idea of “commercializing” the library.

    • Jules says:

      No, because there is no library–aside from what I and do other volunteers do. Most of the schools in our area have had to do away with school libraries. I’m not sure if it’s because CA is notorious for their horrific school budget cuts or because the culture here is very buy, buy, buy and the library just doesn’t see much use.

      • Amy says:

        Wow. That is heartbreaking. If I draw a 30 minute drive circle from my house (and almost half the circle is lake) I hit 6 library branches. We differentiate our most frequented by “the one with the fish tank/upstairs/by the grocery store”

        Random thought – you should come visit Rochester, NY. There’s a great science museum, plus the Museum of Play – which has a branch of the city library in it and books everywhere. You can play and then take a book home! It’s SO COOL.

        • Jules says:

          We have as many city libraries. I was talking about school libraries. :)

          Interesting trivia: when we first immigrated to this county, we lived in Rochester, NY.

  2. Bec says:

    I teach at a school and I think our library is organized in a combo of your school and what you want. Nonfiction is Dewey Decimal, picture books or little kid books are all on one half of the library and chapter books are all on the other side. Makes it a little easier to point kids in the right direction! They also have a section just for biographies/autobiographies.

  3. I love this kind of question! When I was in my library program I became convinced that ALL books should be shelved according to subject: Mix the fiction and non-fiction together. (Yes, people looked at me like I was weird.) The main argument I see against doing anything radically different is that one goal is to teach kids how to use the library. If your library isn’t like any other, they’ll only learn how to use your library.

    That said, I think many school libraries are organized much in the ways you describe. The elementaries in our district have E books (for everybody), which are picture books. Easy readers (very beginning chapter books) have their own section. Graphic novels (which have a 741 call number and aren’t all novels–drives me crazy!) get their own shelf in the fiction section. Most series are shelved in a series section, which is especially important if a series has different authors. Kids aren’t into authors (for the most part). They want the next Junie B Jones (not Barbara Park). Our elementaries don’t have YA, but if they did, those would be in a separate section, too. Oh, and Kinders have their own, separate books stored in plastic tubs. We are fortunate that our electronic cataloging system does support this. It’s easy to put a designation in the call number.

    And just in case you were wondering what I looked like in the 80s? Picture #2. Thought it might actually be me, just for a minute. :-) I loved the old card catalogs back in the day.

    • Jules says:

      I see the point about learning to use a library except…have you ever tried to use a law library? It flies in the face of anything you have ever learned. There are entire courses devoted on how to find the information you need and reference librarians are paid well because most attorneys just toss up their hands and say, “Eff it. Can you find me law that says X.” Oh, and these days, most attorneys never darken the inside of a law library. You pay a monthly subscription to legal search engines like Lexis or WestLaw. It’s like having an online law library at your fingertips. It’s expensive, but it was manna from heaven for me. Most attorneys also have a small library of books in their office relevant to their field they update annually or so.

      Yes, this is how I have it set right now. I say we have a young adult section, but that’s because we have Little Women, one Kurt Vonnegut, and other books along those lines. It’s not because there’s Twilight or Uglies or Evermore, etc.! :)

      Great idea about the tubs for kinder. But how do you decide what a kinder book is?

      • I was thinking more of high school libraries than law school libraries. :-)
        As for the Kinder books, I’m not sure how it was decided what makes a book a Kinder book. In some of our libraries they are all paperbacks. I think it’s the ones the librarians/managers won’t cry over when they get lost/mangled!

        • Jules says:

          Haha, yes, you probably weren’t thinking law libraries. What can I say? I’m a long range thinker. Thinking back to high school, I was still clueless. Or, not so much clueless as I was completely dependent on the librarian. Things were so different then. You didn’t make a sound, they never spoke to you except to tell you when you couldn’t check something out or glower over a late fee…I would just walk up and (meekly) ask for what I needed and walk in the direction they pointed.

    • Melissa says:

      This is exactly how our middle-grade library is organized. (And we do have a nice big illustrated chart with the popular nonfiction topics by number, so kids–and parent volunteers–can find the dinosaur/sports/puppies/volcano books easily.) We’ve been having lots of conversations about how to highlight older books in the collection that get overlooked. I like the idea of genre stickers, as well as shelf tags that say, “If you liked X, you might like Y.” I have a school librarian friend who told me she had great success with book talks at the beginning of each library session, which you may already know about. If you google “book talk rubric,” you’ll get plenty of hits. I hope to convince our school librarian to let some parent volunteers put together some book talks, especially for the 3rd graders, who are new to using the library independently, and are often overwhelmed.

    • Kate says:

      Rita, I kind of love you. And I actually have one of those old card catalogs in my home because I loved them so much….

  4. Oh, and we refer often to “gateway books.” The drug metaphors are universal!

  5. Jill says:

    Long story, but right before I clicked to read your post, I was trying to remember the name of the author who wrote The Underworlds. I saw Tony Abbott and knew! My son could not put the first book down. He read it in it’s entirety last night. So, thank you! The library is such a wonderful place, and I wish I would have known that and enjoyed it more as a kid–I was intimidated by it (and the librarians with their silent stares), and didn’t understand the organization or Dewey Decimal System. Now, I very rarely buy books–we are library people. Also, I would have loved to have someone encourage and help me select books when I was in elementary school. I think it’s extra special that you take time to do that.

    • Jules says:

      We’re library people, too. Readers usually are, because buying becomes an expensive habit!

      I will say this: the kids say they love how I spend time with them searching for books. They’ve never experienced anything like it, so that makes me feel good. They were used to the silently staring librarian, too.

  6. Susan says:

    Our elementary school library sounds like Bec’s with the sections but the early chapter books (stink, clementine, junie B, etc) are grouped separately from both the picture and the middle grade books. The library is functionally a courtyard. All the classrooms are a rectangle around it and the shelves are only 3 or 4 shelves tall, double sided. The librarian uses the top of these short shelves to display books to help catch the eye of the kids who walk past/thru the library all day long. She also has special display areas where she does rotating themes – sports books, award nominees, “if you like harry potter then try these . . .” etc.

    We have over 700 kids in K-5 at this school, and budget cuts have reduced the staff to 1 full time and 1 part time librarian. They rely heavily on moms who volunteer for shelving. I think the book store concept would make it harder for them to help.

    • Jules says:

      Our shelves are traditional height, 6 feet. I’ve seen those mid-sized shelves and the “if you like” displays before, though, and they’re super cool. That’s great your library can do that.

      • frances says:

        You can enlist kids to do “If you like…” recommendations, too. Kids love to see their names on things, as I’m sure you know! And sometimes another kid’s recommendation carries more weight than an adult’s. I love to involve all community members in the library. Get teachers to fill out a card recommending their favorite books, too.

        • Jules says:

          This is a great idea. I had to enlist the help of another student to sell Little Women. It worked.

          • Katherine says:

            I love this idea too! I would have felt so special if I had a book recommendation section of my own. And I would have loved to see what my classmates recommended.

            Our elementary librarian was great. She read aloud using great voices- really bringing the books alive. She was very loud, too, so the library was always hushed but not intimidating-quiet.

  7. Fairfax Avenue says:

    I’m volunteering weekly in the library at my daughter’s school. Shelving is very much like the description RITA@THISSORTAOLDLIFE gives, and it’s basically what I’m used to, but shelving books in this environment is frustrating. There is a separate section for series – okay, fine. What about authors of multiple books about the same characters, like Astrid Lindgrin (the third graders are all about Pippi Longstocking) or Beverly Cleary (Ramona). And when series sprout other series…don’t get me started. But the library is a spacious bright room with floor to ceiling windows facing the city with couches and floor cushions as well as round tables and chairs, and a workroom for the staff.

    All-in-all, it’s very nice and the children are fun. And my own daughters are not embarrassed to say hello to me in the halls!

  8. Laura says:

    Here is a secret they don’t tell you in library school: You can take a lot of liberties with how you organize a library. The argument that your library has to teach kids about every other library falls flat with me. As long as your library has a clearly identified system, it will do its job. I have never visited two libraries with exactly the same layout or organization. Every time I go to a new library, I have to get my bearings and this has been learned over many, many years. I was even shocked (and annoyed) to learn there are variances in the Dewey system. A book may have one call number in one library and a different one in another, depending on how the respective librarians catalog their books. There is way more leeway than we are led to believe.

    As a school library your primary goal is to get the kids reading, for pleasure, for information, etc. They will learn your library and come to understand there is an organizational system. Plus, with explicit teaching, you can explain the change and how it may be different than other libraries they encounter. The libraries at the school I work at have a mixture of traditional and book store style and it works for us. Graphic novels have their own section, as do (most but not all) books in a series. We also have sections for realistic fiction, fantasy, classics, humor, and mysteries. The funny thing is my library serves kids who are pre-k to Grade 2, and even with that limited demographic there were a lot of things to consider with the organization. Long story short, you are very smart and thoughtful…do what works for you and your students.

  9. Jess says:

    There was a great article in (I think) School Library Journal a year or two back about school libraries ditching Dewey – they organized by topic in a way that made sense for their patrons, which I think is a great solution for a small school library. All the animal books were together, maybe alphabetically? They had color coded labels, I think, and shelved more like a bookstore. Even just signs by a section – “dinosaurs,” “sports,” etc.

    In my public library, we separate out some genres (fantasy, mystery) but in a small library I would just sticker everything, if you can. Historic, sports, fantasy, dogs, etc. to make it easier to browse, but also so that you’re not running from section to section trying to remember where you stuck something.

    Also, Dewey is great if you understand it but it’s also INSANE.

    • Jules says:

      Stickers are a good idea. I’ve seen them in the library catalogs. Tempting.

      • Laura says:

        We sticker a lot of books…graphic novels, early readers, princess books, superhero books, and holiday books each have their own stickers. Makes it so easy to pull books for a specific purpose and also makes it easy for volunteers who help shelve.

  10. frances says:

    I haven’t read the other comments yet so I may be repeating – if so I apologize. I’ll read them when I have another moment, but since I have a rare one right now I wanted to share a couple of thoughts with you (as a non-practicing but official in the grad school sense librarian):
    1. Go for it! If you think a non-traditional organization would be more accessible to readers I vote a big YES. The books are useless if the readers can’t access them. (That was actually one of the main lessons I took away from library school, that information [in this case books] is worthless if you don’t have an access point, i.e. if you can’t find what you want/need. I found that thought revolutionary. I still do.) For inspiration you might also look to Sandy Berman, a librarian in Hennepin County, MN, who developed his own alternative classification system when Dewey was too restrictive and unresponsive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanford_Berman is a place to start).
    2. My only caveat about organizing by genre is that some books are, or could be, genre-crossing or genre-defying, and some readers refuse to read certain genres because they think they won’t like them. If they trust you as the librarian/book pusher then it’s not so much of an issue, but I’ve known plenty of readers who refuse to cross genre lines because they think there’s nothing there for them. For me, that’s the main thing to recommend keeping books shelved alphabetically only.
    I guess I have one third thought, which is that you can always change your mind. Try a “bookstore” style and see if it works. If it doesn’t, try something else. I know that the organization itself can be a lot of work, but if you’re anything like me (and I suspect in this respect you are) it can also be mentally stimulating and fun.
    I love that you’re thinking about this so much, and taking the mission of connecting kids with books – with the right books – so seriously. As that becomes less and less a part of my life it’s fun to experience it vicariously through you just a little bit.

    • Jules says:

      Great suggestions, thank you! And you’ve touched upon the reason why I haven’t yet made the switch: genre-defying books. Also, I’m afraid of having this huuuuuuge general fiction section that collects dust because fantasy is hot and no one wants to try general fiction because they’re sure they won’t like it. I have two boys who will not read anything other than Star Wars. Will. Not. Period. Never. Ever. I’ve tried everything, and I will keep trying, but they’re also my dedicated re-readers so I don’t give them a hard time about it.

  11. Kristin says:

    I didn’t have time to read the other comments but I think your idea of organizing by genre is brilliant for children. I actually find it annoying for adults in a bookstore, probably because I worked in libraries for years and am used to that system, but for kids…that is HOW they read. My public library already does this for kids. It is perfect for my four year old girl, who right now only wants to read about princesses and mermaids, and my 7 year old boy who is all about animals, and my baby who is 18 months and will only look at picture books featuring other babies. Next month that might all change, but the idea that they will be obsessed by a specific topic will probably stay the same.

    • Jules says:

      Exactly. This is how kids are. They want to see all the books on bugs or butterflies or sharks. This sort of works with nonfiction/Dewey, but not always.

  12. Alexis says:

    At the middle school library where I did my practicum they had transparent color stickers that went over the call numbers. Blue for SF, Pink for Romance, etc. That seemed to work very well. There are quite a few articles (SLJ and other lib. professional magazines) of librarians who have rearranged “bookstore style” and loved it. The main reason I haven’t entertained the idea is because it is part of pre and post tests for information resource skills is 3-5th grades that students understand how a traditional library is organized. District tests that our teaching evaluation is based on. So private school that doesn’t have to worry about that…go for it! Oh and no catalog to speak of, even easier, no changing thousands of records.

  13. jessica says:

    Second what everyone’s said above. Subject organization is EXCITING and great for browsing, but there are caveats. I think the “teaching kids how to use the library” is the most pervasive argument. Even if they encounter different organizational systems in the future, the whole “each book has a number” concept will prove useful, or at least will give a kid a little ammunition when confronted with a giant university library (But I’m not even sure how you can even apply that skill without an online catalog… heck, even a CARD catalog!)

    You should check out what the Darien CT library did with their kid’s collection. It’s epic and inspiring http://www.slideshare.net/gcaserotti/darien-library-kidlit-reorg-2719879

    I have far too many thoughts about dividing up kid’s collections than are appropriate for a comment box. It is, in fact, what I do all day. I probably spend entirely too much time pondering the difference between an “early chapter book” and a “fiction book” and whether your nonfiction easy-readers should be shelved with the nonfiction or the easy readers… no one right way to do it, though. I have to remind myself of that a lot. The end goal is to build and maintains collections for little patrons that serve their needs and interests…. not make sure Every Book Is In The Perfect Place With the Perfect Sticker On the Perfect Shelf.

  14. jasi says:

    I love old libraries too. I volunteered through high school and worked at bookstores through that time after school and throughout college. I’m saying, “I really love books!” But I don’t think that the dewey decimal system is useful anymore. It was ideal for very large collections in a time before computers, when keeping track of precise subjects and volumes was beyond tedious and impossible. I say, toss it. Down with Dewey and take Imperial Measurement too! Give me metric and bookstore order. Keep the librarians though. They’re pretty cool.

  15. Kate says:

    I think one of the best benefits of the traditional system is that almost all libraries are laid out that way – when you teach kids at an elementary level how libraries are laid out, they can then use that skill whenever and wherever they go. I can’t speak for all schools, but I think it’s at an elementary when “how the library works” is taught.

  16. Sarah says:

    There are lots of great comments on this already, so I’ll keep it brief :) I definitely see the benefit of a library organized by subject. I’ve volunteered at a huge library booksale since I was 10, and they organize by subject. It does make it a lot easier for people to wander in, know what they are interested in, and then peruse the books in that section.

    However, I only know the dewey decimal system because of my school library. We would review it and learned the song and while I don’t necessarily remember said song (haha) I do understand more how the system works and use libraries just fine.

    I like a combo best – having the library organized somewhat traditionally, separated by age, with areas or displays that feature certain themes or style of book. That gives people the opportunity to explore different genres, to learn what they like, and also experience the joy of wandering around and visiting new sections.

  17. Missie says:

    I love reading your library posts! Walking into a library is like walking into Michaels. It gives me the same feeling of endless possibilities. :) I have a VERY “reluctant reader” at home. His wonderful teacher sent home Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and put every other chapter on a CD. He finished the book yesterday, his first real chapter book and he’s 10. I hope someday he can find joy in reading as I did. Keep up the good work!

  18. Leigh Kramer says:

    This makes me even more glad that the library has always been a part of my life. The public library, school libraries, even a church library. I’ve always loved browsing and finding possible new favorites authors and books.

    P.S. Grouping by genre makes so much sense for kids!

  19. Kara M says:

    I haven’t read the comments, so apologies in advance if I am repeating…

    Can you coordinate a field trip to the new library down the street, for each grade?
    Do any kiddos need volunteer hours? They could help shelve, once a system is in place? It may add another layer to their experience?
    Have you thought about volunteering at the local library an hour a week? It may give you some ideas?

    That is just heartbreaking about the kids not going to the library, we lived at the library when I was a kid.

  20. Kitten says:

    I was actually thinking about your library posts the other day because I wanted to ask you if you got other moms who volunteered to help you. If so, what would you want them to do besides that which you asked them to do? I volunteer as much as possible for my son’s library classes, and I’d love to be more helpful to the librarian. She’s given me some basic training on the computer so I can check kids in and out. I mostly just hand things out and help during craft time.

    • Jules says:

      I would love for someone to help me shelve the books. I only have two mom come in every Monday. The other days I’m on my own–no one else seems interested in coming in. There is a university archivist who says he’ll come in and possibly help me organize, but I have yet to hear from him. I’ve had lots of people no-show.

      • Kitten says:

        I’ll try to ask more about shelving. I love working in the library since my daughter is content to hang with the other children. I’d happily shelve books even outside my son’s class time. Our class is pretty packed (we have four moms for my son’s class that rotate weekly) with volunteers, but maybe I could offer more.

  21. Lianne says:

    I love all the librarians you’ve congregated here, Jules. Ditch Dewey – and if you have no catalogue system at all – you might want to take a look at Library Thing for orgs: http://www.librarything.com/organizations.php

    For fun:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4nRHHPpnVc

  22. Rebe says:

    So many great comments and I think about this same question in my library and have found making small changes works the best for us. Example: we moved the Magic Tree House Research Guides so they are shelved with the Magic Tree House series itself and now they are circulating more. I worry that pulling everything into genres preemptively labels the books for the kids but also recognize that for many kids they just want to know where the XYZ books are already!

    Whenever we approach a shelving adjustment in our library, we just consider what will make it easiest for the patrons to get what they need. We don’t want to make it hard on staff to implement, but if it makes the most sense for the users of the space, then we’ll figure out the way to get there. Sounds like this change would be reaching that goal for you.

    Interesting fact (that is second hand from my library aide who worked at both our library and the local Barnes and Noble so maybe things have changed): even though bookstores, specifically Barnes and Noble, shelve by subject, they also are required to have the books shelved alphabetically so for every princess book in the princess section, it also exists on their shelves by author. I’m not suggesting this for any public or school library (what luxury to have 2 copies! or all that shelving space!) but I was completely fascinated to learn that they actually shelve using BOTH ways.

  23. Susan G says:

    Haven’t read any of the comments yet, but I think you’re a genius!

  24. Hi,
    My daughter has encouraged me to post my thoughts on this subject, so here goes! I am a recent graduate of Library School, have my Library Tech certificate in addition to my MLS. All that is to say, I have read a lot of differing opinions on this subject.

    My experience is in the Middle School library, where I worked for 7 years, and now I am the Circulation Supervisor for a medium-sized public library.

    Organizing the books is really up to you. You can put them wherever and however you like. I agree with the earlier post about teaching students to use the library, but if you don’t have an automated card catalog, this may prove difficult because part of teaching library skills involves learning how to navigate online systems.

    If this were my library, I would have it set up by genre, then reading level. I would have animal books together, perhaps starting at one end with the lower reading levels and progressing upward. This way students who enjoy reading at different levels can cross-read and those who need a challenge, can simply navigate to the next section. Having said that, this could get really tricky remembering where books are. In our children’s library, we have great big stickers on the spine that have one letter on them (representing the author) and they are all in bins, face out, by letter. This is great for browsing but murder if looking for a specific title. Stickers are great if used consistently, and can supplement signing. Since you don’t have a catalog, I would recommend using stickers in addition to call number spine labels because this way you would be able to put the books away in the same place each time.

    When it comes to chapter books, I love organizing them by series, or by author. I make lists of series bookmarks and have them available to the kids so they can use them to check off the titles. Kids want to have goals and something to finish. I found that many want to plow through an author, or a series, and having the bookmarks is a tangible way of encouraging them to keep on going. Again, I would put chapter books in one section and then break them down by reading levels.

    Lastly, there are a number of free catalog programs on the web. Sadly, the one I used in school is no longer available, but if you do a search with your needs an goals, I’ll bet you could find one to meet your needs. That would require a lot of data entry, so you would want to line up a bunch of help, if you go that way.

    You have gotten a lot of great advice! I hope you find your way. In the library world, everything takes time, and you are never finished. Constant change is the norm. Embrace it, experiment and do what works for you!

  25. Allana says:

    A little off topic, but I’m a long time reader and thought you may be able to help before I head to a book store! My son (grade 2) has asked for chapter books for Christmas. We read together every night and he’s doing great on things like Robert Munsch but wants to take the next step up, but not too big a step, if that makes sense. Any suggestions?

    Also, I loved your post on TV shows and we’re now on season 3 of Robin Hood with our kids. So great! I turned it on for Richard Armitage and it’s been great fun.

    • Jules says:

      That’s funny, I was working on a TV post last night but didn’t post it because it didn’t come out the way I wanted! I’m trying again tonight right after I finish this comment. :)

      Has your son read any of the Magic Treehouse books? Those are the classic “first” chapter books after the I Can Read books (level 3-4, I think). My 2nd graders go for MT but now that we have Geronimo Stilton in the library, forget it. It’s a mad dash for our collection and sometimes I have to pull them apart like wrestling puppies. They love Geronimo because there is color on every page either in the form of different and fun fonts/typefaces or pictures. Both Magic Treehouse and Geronimo Stilton have 50+ books in the series. They go on forever.

      Let me know if that’s now what you’re looking for.

  26. Shannon says:

    I actually think it makes a lot of sense to organize by genre as long as you interfile the fiction and nonfic. If the whole point is to facilitate discovery of something you might not have otherwise read, it just makes sense. Also, Dewey is like the product number in a store- it helps the staff locate things, but it’s not really necessary for the customer to be able to parse it. That’s just my 2 cents as a former children’s librarian!

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.