hit the ground running.

Novels and chapter books invite the young reader into different worlds or, very often, deep dives into stories about their own. Where early readers gently nudged the child into broader vocabulary, the long-form chapter book explodes with rich, vibrant language and more complex storylines—all of which the child can experience on her own. The novel in the hands of an independent reader is powerful, yes, but don't let that halt the opportunity for reading these aloud, too.

Cover detail from Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo

following the reader

the importance of

a few words about

diverse books

Seeing yourself reflected in the media you consume has a value that can't be overstated, for children and adults alike. Reading a book with characters who look like you has been shown to impact self-esteem, leading to improved social interaction and academic performance, and encourage a love of reading.


 According to the Open Book Blog by Lee and Low Books, Black, Latinx, and Native authors combined wrote just 6% of new children’s books published in 2016. Of course, diversity isn't only limited to skin color or cultural background; it also includes (but is not limited to) LGBTQIA, gender diversity, people with disabilities (physical and otherwise), and religious minorities.

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop's essay Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors elegantly outlines the benefits of diverse representation for all readers, not only those from marginalized communities.

Find more resources about diversity on our Resources list.

When it comes to watching a child launch into the elaborate and rich literary world of Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, it can be tempting to dig up your old favorites and, with much ceremony, present them to your child, heavy with expectation. 

You may have been a reader from the start, or maybe it's something that came to you later on and you value it all the more for that. However, a child who is not only reading more on their own but also entering adolescence is developing their identity and building their own relationship with books. While you should still offer recommendations and share your favorites, keep in mind that what a child chooses to read on their own is an immense piece of being an independent and confident book-lover. 

Whether they're picking up dusty literary classics or pulpy science fiction, romance or graphic novels, withhold your judgement and observe their choices so you can better recommend something they'll love when they're looking for something new.

diversity graphic.jpeg

what's new in novels

on the cosmic blog

you asked for it:

printable book lists

if we don't have it, we can find it.

resources for


& educators


we need diverse books

A non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

Publications about books for children and young adults.

A group of authors and illustrators who came together to push awareness of the myriad of Black voices writing for young readers.


By Hannah Ehrlich for The Open Book Blog by Lee and Low Books. March 30, 2017

how to raise a reader

 Pamela Paul and Maria Russo for The New York Times