With thousands of books for young people being published each year, finding that perfect book can be a daunting task. This guide was created to provide tips and strategies that can be used to find quality children's and young adult literature.
In order to match books to young people, it's important to know some basic terminology.
Reading Level: Reading levels are based on the expected grade level language development of students. Reading levels are often thought to be rigidly structured through programs like Accelerated Readers; however, it is possible (and encouraged) for educators to be able to quickly analyze a text and draw their own conclusions on whether or not it meets the reading skill level of individuals or groups of students.
Development Level: The development level of a book is based on the specific topics/themes represented in a book as well as how they are portrayed. Young people should be reading materials that reflect the lived experiences/perspectives of their age. Topics will also be handled differently based on the target age range; ex. social justice issues should be portrayed differently in books written for preschoolers than for books for high schoolers.
Undiscovered Reader: The preferred term at the TDRL for students labeled as struggling or reluctant readers. Many students do not considered themselves to be readers or develop reading skills because they are not provided access to reading materials they find engaging. They're reading preference are still undiscovered.
Diverse Books: Books that reflect the lived experiences of people with marginalized identities. Individuals carry multiple identities including race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability, socio-economic class, and citizenship.
Own Voices: When authors or artists with marginalized identities create books that address those identities, they are considered to be Own Voices books.
Formats: Children's and young adult literature includes a range of different formats that serve different purposes. Some unique formats collected at the TDRL include:
Children's and Young Adult Literature Guide: This digital guide is a great place to start browsing recently published books for young people. Use the tabs at the top of this page to start navigating through lists of award winners, finalists for national book lists, or specific topics/formats such as LGBTQIA+ books for young people, graphic novels, or Hi-Lo books.
NoveList Plus: Use NoveList Plus to search for book recommendations by age, format, genre, topic, tone, character type, awards, and more. Includes professional reviews and read-alike recommendations for each book. For tutorials on how to get started, visit our NoveList Tutorial page.
Teaching Books: Contains resources on children's and young adult literature and authors. Includes discussion guides, author interviews, and other multimedia content. For tutorials on how to get started, visit our Teaching Books Tutorial page.
Quick Search: Use quick search to see which books are available at the TDRL. Search by title or author, or browse books by format and publication year by conducting the following search:
Additional tips for searching for children's and young adult literature include: