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Great Books About Things Kids Love: More Than 750 Recommended Books for Children 3 to 14 [Paperback]

By Kathleen Odean (Author)
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Item description for Great Books About Things Kids Love: More Than 750 Recommended Books for Children 3 to 14 by Kathleen Odean...

The author of Great Books for Girls and Great Books for Boys presents a helpful listing of more than 750 outstanding books for children, grouped into seventy categories according to reading level, including books of all types--fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and poetry--and multicultural titles and featuring helpful tips on how to get children to read. Original. 15,000 first printing.

Publishers Description

Most children want to read a book because it's about something they love or are curious about--dinosaurs, magic tricks, ballerinas, sports, secret codes, and a host of other topics. Now with this unique book, Kathleen Odean, current chair of the Newberry Award committee and author of Great Books for Girls and Great Books for Boys, makes it easy for parents and teachers to satisfy a child's individual cravings for good reading on any subject. Inside you'll discover

¸  More than 750 books divided into 55 categories, from Airplanes to Zoos
¸  Professional appraisals that are balanced, intelligent, and fun to read
¸  Stimulating book-related activities and helpful tips for parents

Whether the format is picture book, poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, here are wonderful selections like Why Does the Cat Do That? and Exploring the Titanic . . . tried and true characters, from the beloved aardvarks Arthur and D.W. to the hilarious Junie B. Jones and the courageous Harry Potter . . . new heroes and heroines to cheer for such as Katherine Paterson's Princess Miranda from The Wide-Awake Princess and the exciting Jack Black from Jack Black and the Ship of Thieves by Carol Hughes.

Great Books About Things Kids Love creates a book-rich environment in which the habit of reading can take hold and flourish for a lifetime.
Kathleen Odean has been a children's librarian for seventeen years in schools and public libraries. She is chair of the 2002 Newbery Award Committee and previously served on the Caldecott Award Committee and the American Library Associations's Notable Children's Books Committee. She is also a contributing editor for Book: The Magazine for the Reading Life. Her two other guides to children's books are Great Books for Girls: More than 600 Books to Inspire Today's Girls and Tomorrow's Women and Great Books for Boys: More than 600 Books for Boys 2 to 14.

"I like stories about children and wild animals and

Garnet in Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright

"Would you like me to read to you?"

"Yeah. About airplanes."

So Anastasia climbed up on the high hospital bed
and read to Sam from one of the library books she had
brought him.

Anastasia at Your Service by Lois Lowry

Annie put the dinosaur book back with the other
books. Then she gasped.

"Wow," she whispered. "Look at this."

She held up a book about Egypt.

Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osborne

"What sayeth he?" asked the red-cross knight's

"Methinks they know of us," whispered the tall one.

"Sure," I said. "I've read all about you guys--the
sword in the stone, Lancelot and Guenevere, Merlin
the Magician."

Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka

"The best kind of book," said Barnaby, "is a magic
book. . . . The best kind of magic book . . . is when it's
about ordinary people like us, and then something
happens and it's magic."

Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager

"What is the use of a book," thought Alice, "with-out
pictures or conversations?"

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Wild animals, explorers, airplanes, ancient Egypt, knights
and wizards, and stories about magic in everyday life--these
are just a few of the things children love to read about. The
speakers quoted above are all fictional characters, but they
speak for real children, too, who have so many interests they
want to explore, often starting when they are young.

When I think about what motivates a child to pick up a
book and read, or prompts a young child to ask a parent to
read aloud, the answer often has to do with the subject of the
book. True, some avid readers have an inner drive to read, but
most children choose a book because it is about something they
love. In my seventeen years as a children's librarian, I have
seen child after child check out a book not just because I said
it was a good story but because it was about dragons, dinosaurs,
or dolls. Children who ordinarily wouldn't pick up a book unless
they had to changed their minds when offered a collection
of brain teasers, a photo-essay with great shots of snakes, or
books about baseball, ballet, trucks, horses, monsters, or drawing.
Most children don't realize what a rich array of books
exists on so many fascinating subjects. Parents can take ad-vantage
of their children's excitement about different subjects
as a way to get them excited about reading. This guide will
help parents and children find books to satisfy their curiosity
and their thirst for "pictures or conversations."

The larger goal of this guide is to help your child learn to
love reading and to make sure that books mean more to him or
her than just a school assignment. (For ways to incorporate
reading into your child's everyday routine, see the sections of
the book under the heading "Encouraging Your Child to
Read.") If a child isn't enthusiastic about reading in school but
loves soccer, a book on soccer technique may suddenly make
reading worthwhile. A novel with a lot of soccer action or a
biography about a favorite player may capture his or her inter-est.
The child's devotion to soccer will spill over to books on
the subject, giving books and reading a new and positive status.
Learning can take on a practical purpose--such as under-standing
soccer better--that hooks a child into reading.

Oftentimes, children don't understand why they are taught
certain things in school, particularly when they have to study
things they don't enjoy. Why do they have to study geography?
What is the point of learning math? Outside of school,
parents can encourage their child's individual interests and
help make learning an active process that arises from the
child, not from a set curriculum. Many children who can't see
the relevance of reading in school feel differently if they are
calling the shots and deciding what they learn about. Frequently
these are subjects that never surface in a classroom,
like figure skating, detective work, magic tricks, or marbles.

Sometimes children want to learn more about what they've
studied in school, after the teacher has gone on to the next
subject. For example, children who develop their love of poetry
thanks to an enthusiastic teacher may want to make it part
of their lives at home. Children who have learned origami in
school while studying Japan often want to do more origami
outside of school. Or they might listen to a novel about
knights and castles in school and want to read other books like
it on their own. These are great opportunities for parents to
promote books at home and this guide is a great resource for
these times.

Parents can also use this book to nudge children who already
enjoy reading to widen their horizons. Readers who
have been immersed in fiction sometimes extend their enthusiasm
to nonfiction if the topic is right. Biographies offer an effective
segue into nonfiction thanks to the strong narrative
line biographies use to tie the facts together. Historical novels
pair naturally with books about history. Children who read
Number the Stars, a novel about the Danish resistance during
World War II, will readily pick up Tell Them We Remember, an
informational book about the Holocaust.

Conversely, readers who prefer nonfiction may be drawn to
novels related to a topic they love. Children who like the outdoors
and treasure their field guides often relish wilderness survival
books like My Side of the Mountain, or fiction about wild
animals like Swimming with Sharks.

Children who have not developed strong interests or an
affinity for books can be steered toward both with help from
adults. All too often, children assume that the books assigned
in class represent all books, and their experience tells them
that reading leads to worksheets or book reports. These children
are delighted to hear about books that require no work-sheets,
on topics they never thought books would address, like
secret codes or roller coasters. Even television and movie fans
can find tie-ins that lead them to reading, as more children's
books are made into movies and television shows. Interest in a
popular movie can spill over to books, too; for a while, any
book with the word Titanic in its title snagged even the most
reluctant readers.

Adults need to remember that there's a lot children don't
know about the world of books. Children don't automatically
ask if a novel they like has a sequel or if the nonfiction book
they just read is one in a series, yet if they knew, it would extend
their enthusiasm about one book to the next. Most children
don't realize that they can find directions for building
forts, making pop-ups, or knitting finger-puppets in a book.
And they have to be introduced to different types of books
like field guides and shown how to use them. But with help
from caring adults and with access to the growing number of
wonderful books, children can move smoothly along the path
to becoming lifelong readers.

How I Made the Choices
To choose the books in this guide, I read or reread every one,
and read many of the shorter ones and some of the novels
aloud to children. A number of the novels have also been read
aloud by classroom teachers I know, with great success. Still
others I've given to older children to read and tell me their

The guide is a selection from the many good children's
books in print and is far from exhaustive. I had to make
choices among the relevant books available, trying to achieve
a balanced whole, so inevitably many fine books are omitted,
which should not be interpreted as rejection. For most of the
subject categories, many other books are available. In the back
of the guide, I list resources to help parents find more books if
their child wants to pursue a topic further.

The subjects I've included do not exhaust the topics that
interest children. You will not find entries on fads such as
Pokemon or Beanie Babies, or music and movie stars, simply
because their popularity can wane so quickly. Plenty of books
are available on these topics, and they might be a good choice
for the child who doesn't usually enjoy books but is caught up
in the fad.

I drew on my extensive experience as a children's librarian
in choosing the topics, but I know that individual children
will have serious interests I didn't cover. In my work, I've had
children ask for books on fencing, specific military battles, how
to perform magic spells, and much more. Children who have
immigrated from other countries often want to pore over
photographs of their countries of origin. I couldn't cover every
topic, on account of space limitations, but I urge parents to

pursue their children's specific needs for information at a library,
through the public library interlibrary loan system, or at
a large bookstore. Again, a section at the back of this guide
gives useful information about locating more books.
In the area of picture-story books, I looked for different art
styles as well as strong writing, since these books often provide
the main way many children see art. I looked for novels with
good prose, fully developed characters, and strong plots. Not
all topics lend themselves to novels, so in some areas, the list
of novels is shorter than in others. The nonfiction varies the
most, from nearly wordless books of visual puzzles to photo-essays
to long, well-documented texts on serious subjects. In
areas where information changes quickly like geography and
science, I tried to find the most recent good books whenever

In all the categories, my goal was to include a diversity of
cultural groups, to reflect the many backgrounds of children in
this country. I also tried to include a balance of books in
which the main characters are girls and others where they are
boys. This effort is most obvious in the sports fiction lists, al-though
it was not always possible to find enough books on girls
to create a balance. My annotations reflect the strengths and
weaknesses of each book to make it easier for parents and children
to make decisions on what to try.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Great Books About Things Kids Love: More Than 750 Recommended Books for Children 3 to 14 by Kathleen Odean has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2006 page 22
  • Booklist - 03/15/2001 page 1334
  • Library Journal - 04/01/2001 page 92
  • School Library Journal - 01/01/2002 page 175
  • American Reference Bks Annual - 01/01/2002 page 479
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2002 page 3
  • Reference and Research Bk News - 11/01/2001 page 254

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ballantine Books
Pages   464
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.48" Width: 5.6" Height: 1.14"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2001
Publisher   Ballantine Books
ISBN  0345441311  
ISBN13  9780345441317  

Availability  0 units.

More About Kathleen Odean

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kathleen Odean has been a children's librarian for fifteen years, first in
California and now at Moses Brown School, a Friends school in Providence,
Rhode Island. She grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, and graduated
from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Odean then lived in
Berkeley, California for eight years, where she earned a Master's of
Library and Information Science as well as an M.A. in Folklore at
University of California.

Her peers across the country recognize Odean as an expert in children's
literature. She was recently elected to the Caldecott Award Committee by
her fellow children's librarians and was also a member of the 1991 Newbery
Award Committee. From 1991 through 1993, she served on the Notable
Children's Book Committee of the American Library Association, a national
committee of nine which evaluates all of the year's children's books.
Odean has also been a reviewer of children's books for School Library
Journal since 1985.

The author of the groundbreaking work Great Books for Girls: More Than 600
Books to Inspire Today's Girls and Tomorrow's Women
(Ballantine Books,
1997) and High Steppers, Fallen Angels, and Lollipops: Wall Street Slang
(Henry Holt Owl Paperbacks, 1989) on the folklore and slang of the stock
market, Odean has also done some free-lance writing.

Odean has been talking about the importance of books in children's lives
on NBC-TV's Today and with newspapers, local television and radio shows
across the country.

She lives in Barrington, Rhode Island, with her husband, Ross Cheit, a
professor at Brown University.

Kathleen Odean currently resides in Barrington, in the state of Rhode Island.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Books & Reading > Reference
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > General
3Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Literature Guides
4Books > Subjects > Reference > General
5Books > Subjects > Reference > Publishing & Books > Bibliographies & Indexes - By Subject > Literature
6Books > Subjects > Reference > Publishing & Books > Bibliographies & Indexes

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Reviews - What do customers think about Great Books About Things Kids Love: More Than 750 Recommended Books for Children 3 to 14?

An Awesome Resource  Apr 9, 2003
This is another great guide of recommended books by Kathleen Odean. In this book, there are over 750 books about the things kids love, and many, many different subjects. Whether you like cats, kings and queens, basketball, math, or magic tricks, there's sure to be a book in here that is right for you. The book is divided into subject categories with categories about the subject. (e.g.: sports, than one of the categories is football.) The back of the book includes a basic reference shelf for home, book-related parties, tips for reading out loud, lists of books in series, and much, much more. This is an invaluable resource and a perfect gift for all kids.
A great gift and resource for parents.  Jun 27, 2001
Kathleen Odean's books are a gift for parents and grandparents. With so many books to chose from for kids, we all need help picking the perfect one for our kids or our friend's kids or our grandkids. Odean has expertly organized the best of the best and given us a great guide. I would recommend this to everyone and plan to give it to all my friends who are parents or grandparents.

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