"I don't have anything to read!"
Such is the lament of a kid who speeds through books like I speed through magazines. I've got a quick reader, and his appetite for good material is insatiable.
I've already discovered the best reading hack of all — our local library. The library has saved us hundreds of dollars on books my son reads in a matter of days, not to mention space and time that would have gone to storing and organizing those books.
The trick, however, is to find a good source of fresh material and recommendations. We live in Portland, Oregon, home of the famed independent bookstore Powell's, always a great source of staff recommendations. Our library has good librarians and booklists of all sorts. But what has worked best so far is to lean on Amazon's well-built "let us show you other things to spend your money on" functionality.
- We go to Amazon and search for a title my son loves.
- We then examine that book's page for leads to other, similar books (read on for details).
- We log onto the library website and put those books on hold and have them delivered to our local branch.
- As the books arrive my son reads them, noting which ones he liked best. (We might buy those, as he like to read favorite books over and over.)
- We plug new favorite titles back into Amazon to widen our search for new material.
Here's what we explore on a given Amazon book page:
The "Customers who bought this item also bought" and "Customers also bought books by" sections. These are the first places to hunt. We let the collective experience of other readers guide us to new books and authors we might like.
The reader reviews. People take the time to write amazing reviews on Amazon. Often they will compare the title to other books they've read. We've found many a book by reading a well-written review.
Listmania lists and reader guides. A Listmania list is a collection of books or Amazon products users put together by theme. A guide is a narrative version of the same thing. Both are good ways to seek out new titles.
Similar items by category and subject. Wide-ranging, but helpful.
The author link. We check out other books the author has written. Many children's book authors write in a number of genres, which is a good way to break out of a rut of say, fantasy novels.
So far our Amazon research has yielded a slew of new titles. Not all have panned out, but that's the beauty of checking them out at the library first. Also, the research skills my son is gaining are priceless.
How do you find new books for your kids to read?