Book Review: What to Read When by Pam Allyn

What to Read WhenEven though I’m a librarian, I sometimes have trouble finding age appropriate books.  Don’t believe me?  Then read this post.  I mean, I know how to help college students conduct research, I know how to preserve documents and I know how to make early American history relevant to today’s present but sometimes finding a children’s book stumps me.

That is where What to Read When:  The Books and Stories to Read with Your Child ~ and All the Best Times to Read Them by Pam Allyn comes in handy.  Pam Allyn is the the founder and executive director of LitLife, an internationally recognized organization that trains hundreds of K~12 teachers each year.  She is also the founding director of Books for Boys, an award~winning mentoring and reading initiative at The Children’s Village.  Allyn is also the recipient of a Points of Light/Disney award and two James Patterson PageTurner Awards for excellence in bringing literacy to underserved populations. In other words, a librarian’s dream

The idea behind the book is the belief that reading aloud to your children is important in the development of happy, healthy, well~rounded children.  And while most read~aloud book guides are geared towards children from birth until roughly 5 years of age, this book also offers book suggestions for children up to the age of 10.  Yes, it is just as important to read to older children as it is to younger children.

The book begins by explaining why parents should read aloud to their children ~ think bonding, developing an interest in reading and expanding your child’s imagination.  The next part provides an annotated list of what to read to your child at every age and ends with a reading guide for  books by theme, such as adoption, courage, death, loneliness and spirituality.

I like that each section is prefaced by a memory of Allyn’s interactions with her own family members or children she has come in contact with during the course of her work.  These little vignettes make the book approachable and help the parents to understand why a certain book was chosen or the discussions that can develop from the readings of various books.

One of my favorite book choices is in the section dedicated to books about heroes because gasp a librarian is included in the mix of civil rights leaders, Native American activists and suffragists.  The Librarian of Basra:  A True Story of Iraq by Jeanette Winter tells the story of Alia Muhammed Baker, a librarian in Basra, Iraq who struggled to save her library’s books before the war.  According to Allyn, caregivers should read this story to provide “a new perspective on the war in the Middle East, and to show the incredible capacity of books to inspire heroism.”  Wow.

This book is a definite must for any parent or adult looking to find age appropriate books to read to their children on a plethora of topics.

For more information about Pam Allyn go here and for the website companion to the book, go here.

Disclosure: This book was provided to me free of charge courtesy of The Mom Renewal Project and Jill Daniel of PastaQueenpr.com in exchange for a review.  This does not in any way compromise my review.

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