Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Ideas for Kids: Second Childhood Reviews

Parents sometimes ask us how to find age appropriate books for their children. It’s a tougher question to answer than it should be. After all, terms like “children’s book,” “chapter book,” or “young adult book” are pretty nebulous. Does a fifth grader fall into the “children” category? How young is too young for “young adult”? Reading a brief summary on Amazon often does little to inform parents of the reading level and content of the book in question. Fortunately, there are resources out there, and one of our current favorites is the wonderful blog Second Childhood Reviews.

Heather, the blog’s primary contributor, has a master’s degree in literacy and works as a literacy coach at an elementary school. Her reviews are supplemented by contributions from Rachel, another literacy coach in the  same school district. Both bloggers spent many years delivering classroom instruction as well, and their knack for understanding what kids like to read is part of what makes this blog such a wonderful resource.

Second Childhood reviews books for readers from third grade through high school. Titles are accompanied by thorough descriptions of the books, as well as the bloggers’ opinions about them. Visitors to the site will quickly realize that most of the reviews are positive; the selection of titles is so excellent, however, that Heather and Rachel would be hard pressed to respond with anything less than glowing praise. The range of titles is diverse, and the analyses provide thoughtful commentary on good discussions the themes in the books may raise at school or at home, and which content may be objectionable to some readers.

Readers may enjoy simply scrolling through the posts by date; they’re great reads by themselves. Alternately, reviews are organized by labels like “science fiction,” “civil rights,” and “friendship,” making it easy for readers to browse by theme. Somewhat hidden farther down the right sidebar is a list of reviewed titles organized alphabetically. Alas, the site does not feature a list of reviewed titles arranged by grade. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful resource parents and educators should certainly bookmark.

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