In time for International Children’s Book Day April 2, professor and book blogger Katie Caprino shared some of her top picks for early readers, middle grades and young adults. Caprino teaches children’s literature to future educators at the University of Florida and shares her favorite titles on her blog, Katie Reviews Books. She offered these suggestions:
Celebrate diversity and great writing
Caprino loves the new short story collection “Flying Lessons & Other Stories,” published in partnership with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.
“There’s a movement to bring in diverse authors and characters, which this book does, and it’s also quality literature from some really well known authors. It can help spark discussions about the similarities everyone goes through when growing up, as well as the differences.” Middle and high-schoolers can read the book on their own, but Caprino also suggests it as a read-aloud to share with younger kids.
Look for interactivity
In books like “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” and “We are in a Book!,” Caldecott Award-winner Mo Willems brings the reader into the action. Caprino loves Willems’ latest, “Nanette’s Baguette,” as a read-aloud for adults and kids to share.
“There’s a relationship between the text and the reader, so it can be read aloud in a way that’s inviting and exciting,” she said.
Looking ahead to summer reading, Sarah Williamson’s “Where Are You?” (available June 6) invites young readers to search through the pages to find the characters — even if they can’t actually read.
“You can get kids involved in making meaning from the book without being able to read,” Caprino says. “Reading the pictures is a good entrée into learning to read the text.”
Try the Caprino Test
“My litmus test is if the illustrations are so beautiful that I want to rip the book apart and frame the pages on …