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What book should I get for my child?


Your mother may have told you, “You should read a book to your child every night. Remember how you used to love all your books? You would read them aloud to your pet and think that he understood every word.”


So, you jump to your feet and drive to the bookstore. The children’s book section is as big a warehouse. Confused, you wonder, “What book should I get for my child?”


In this first blog entry, let’s learn about children’s book categories.


There are fiction and non-fiction books. In fiction books, the author invents a character who faces at least one problem. Most of the time, a work of fiction also includes an antagonist, or troublemaker. The plot complexity of a fiction book is normally determined by the reader’s age and reading level. In nonfiction books, the author explains facts and concepts to readers (ex: dinosaurs, volcanoes or planets).


Series: This is a collection of books with the same cast of recurring characters. Fiction and non-fiction books from any of the book categories listed below may be part of a series. Some book series are very popular.


Board books are designed for babies and toddlers age 0 to 3 years old. In these books, the illustrations are normally more important than the words. Board books may be made of wood, cardboard, plastic or fabric. Publishers often use unconventional techniques to produce these books (ex: different-shaped books, pop-up books, sticker books).


Picture books: If your child is 3 to 8 years old, he or she will likely enjoy a picture book. In these books, illustrations dominate the text. Most picture books are 32 pages long. The number of words in a picture book varies from 300 to 1000 words. Choose a book according to your child’s attention span, interests and reading level. Another important criterion when selecting a book is the amount of time you have to read it. If you only have 15 minutes to read a bedtime story, a 300-word picture book would be your best choice.


Picture storybooks: These are written for young readers ages 6 to 8. These books contain more text than illustrations and the storyline is more complex. A few illustrations support the text.


Easy readers: These books are suitable for first- and second-grade students who are learning to read. In these books, the storylines are simple. Vocabulary is controlled. Dialogue and action are more important than descriptions. Some of these books have illustrations.


Chapter books: These are appropriate for older children (ages 7 to 10). These books are normally between 40 and 100 pages long, and they may include black-and-white illustrations. Series are very popular in this category since children like to identify with a cast of characters.


Novels are longer books. Novels aren’t usually illustrated unless they are deluxe editions from bestselling authors. There are two types of novels:

  • Middle grade books are written for pre-teen readers ages 8 to 12. Young readers often feel proud to take on a book that looks so grown up. To be sure that your child has a positive reading experience, keep in mind that middle grade books are recommended for readers with a relatively high reading level.

  • Young adult books are written for teenagers. By definition, in young adult books, the main character, as well as his or her friends and enemies, are generally teenagers. In these longer books, the plots are more complex. Themes and issues relate to a teenager’s life and interests.

Short story collections are, as the category title suggests, a collection of short stories about a specific theme, such as holidays, bullying, surviving cancer, etc.

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Nicole Audet, M.D.
Family Doctor and Author
Contacts

Agent: Danielle Hampson, Danielle@theauthorsshow.com

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