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Children's Literature Gems: Choosing and Using Them in Your Library Career (ALA Editions)

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0838909959
ISBN-10: 0838909957
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  • Children's Literature Gems: Choosing and Using Them in Your Library Career (ALA Editions)
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Bird writes in a chatty tone reminiscent of her popular blog, A Fuse #8 Production, and her love of children's literature shines through on every page. This slim volume is not meant to be an in-depth textbook, but rather a brief overview of the field and an introduction to the stars of children's literature. There are several lists of recommendations, most notably the 100 Children's Books That Belong in Every Library. Shorter lists cover baby books, overlooked novels and picture books, middle-grade titles to booktalk, and great picture-book read-alouds. Highlighted boxes throughout feature questions and answers from seasoned professionals on how they handle various parts of their collections and aspects of their work. Readers who are new to the field may find this a comforting basic guide to managing their collections. For instance, the chapter on how to use your materials touches on displays, reference and readers' advisory, storytimes, storytelling, booktalking, and book parties. A chapter on professional development outside the workplace is also included. Practical advice in a compact form.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY END

About the Author

Elizabeth Bird is a Senior Children s Librarian with New York Public Library s Children s Center at 42nd Street. She runs the children s literary blog A Fuse #8 Production on the School Library Journal website, which was shortlisted for Book Blogger Appreciation Week in the Best Kidlit Blog category. Bird has written articles for Horn Book Magazine and currently reviews for Kirkus. In 2004 she earned her Master s in Library and Information Science at The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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Product Details

  • Series: ALA Editions
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Amer Library Assn Editions (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0838909957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0838909959
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,078,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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I picked up this book not because I'm a librarian, but because I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Bird's newsy and witty blog, Fuse #8. I always love to hear what she has to say about the world of children's literature and I respect her taste in books, so I was curious. What books would she put on a must-read list? How does she choose books, in general, for a library collection? What makes a book perfect for storytime? All of those questions and more are answered in this book, and make CHILDREN'S LITERATURE GEMS, for me (an author/illustrator), a valuable peek behind the library shelves.
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Format: Paperback
From the title I expected this book to be a listing, with perhaps a short description, of hundreds of books that the author would recommend to be in a children's library. To be sure, she does have a list of a hundred children's books that belong in every children's library. But beyond that she gives some understanding as to how a children's librarian should seek the books to acquire.

This includes a list of awards given to children's books so you can learn what books the experts are recommending each year. She talks about finding desirable books in overlooked locations. And she recommends several books that indeed are a listing of the best in children's literature.

It's not a big book, but if you're just getting assigned to set up or run the children's collection here are some excellent tips on getting started.
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Format: Paperback
I finally got my hands on a copy of librarian blogger Betsy Bird's first book. Her primer on children's literature is geared for library school students or first year librarians. Experienced librarians will probably find themselves nodding their heads in recognition of many of the reference scenarios that Bird describes.

I had expected that the book would have Bird's trademark relaxed, sometimes silly, always rambling style, but she (or her editors) really reigned things in for this short monograph. The normally verbose Bird weighs in at only 108 pages, along with a few booklists and an index. The slim paperback edition is priced at a hefty $45. Library school students overwhelmed with plenty of lengthy reading assignments and accustomed to paying high prices for textbooks probably won't mind. For the most part, Bird adopts a more sedate tone but she does let her own ad hoc patois slip through here and there, for example; when describing Tana Hoban's White on Black she explains, "Clear, contrasting tones are particularly good for babies vision and it doesn't get much 'contrastier' than black and white."

Mainly, Bird advocates maintaining a healthy balance between classic children's literature and brand new items. She also covers such basics as the importance of the Newbery and Caldecott awards. I was tickled to see that she highlighted a couple of my own favorite lesser-known favorites to booktalk such as A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz, Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story of Brain Science by John Fleischman, and The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice H. Harrington, illustrated by Shelley Jackson.

With an influx of new children's books being released every spring and fall, this book is sure to be dated in another few years. But, for the moment, this is just the thing for anyone wanting a quick, readable guide to children's librarianship.
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