3 tips for finding good books fast ~ Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins
A few months ago I met with some friends for a Let’s All Talk About Parenting Night.
A “parenting mastermind group,” if you will. Or “an excuse to troubleshoot over tall glasses of lemonade.” Either way.
We met in the evening, so we had to figure out what to do about food. Should we assign dishes? Sign up to bring stuff? This was actually more effort than anyone wanted to spend, so we decided to all just bring something. Anything.
We ended up with the aforementioned lemonade, but also wine and cheese and fruit and crackers, veggies and hummus, a couple of salads, a pasta dish, and something chocolate.
Everyone brought their own best thing. We put all our offerings together, and we had a feast.
I think life is like that, too. I have something to offer, you have something to offer.
Our gifts may be wholly unrelated to salad and chocolate, but we’re each holding something we can share with our families and with our world.
If we’re going to share our gifts well, we have to remember to let go of a lot of other things. Each of us does something, and none of us does everything.
You already do one million and six jobs every day. This isn’t an exact count, but the number feels accurate. You can let go of the things that aren’t part of your calling.
For instance, I love to read. I also have six kids who love to read. But those six kids are at six different reading levels—and strangely, there continue to be only twenty-four hours in a day.
This is not enough time to read all the books for all the ages to find the best ones for all our bookshelves. It’s not even enough time to read all the books I want to read for myself.
Such is the nature of the space-time continuum.
“Reading and evaluating all the books ever” is not one of the gifts I have to offer, either. To be faithful to the things that are really mine to do, I have to step back from all the other stuff.
In other words, I need help to find good books.
Luckily, I have a couple of easy tricks for finding books we’ll love so we can spend less time hunting and more time reading—and doing all the other things we were made to do.
3 Tips for Finding Good Books Fast
Pinterest is one of my favorite places to find picture books. It’s a goldmine for links to blog posts on pretty much any topic a kid might want to read about. They’re all just waiting to be discovered, with tall pinterest-friendly graphics and cute lettering.
Not every post is a perfect match, but there’s more than enough to choose from.
If my first search doesn’t turn up what I need, I can always try again using terms like “picture books” or “board books” instead.
Then I click through to any of the posts, get a quick description of the books, and order the ones that are right for us (or… request them from the library).
When we’re looking for new Middle Grade and Young Adult reads, we’ve had good luck using Goodreads. You don’t even have to have an account to browse the site.
Not every book or every list will be exactly what we’re looking for, but it’s a good place to start.
I’m so thankful for the tech resources we have at our fingertips—and in our purses, and on our desktops, and everywhere else—but best of all will always be getting advice from a friend whose taste matches yours.
For me, that’s sometimes an in-my-community friend, and other times it’s a blogger or online friend. (Hey, another score for technology!)
Sigh of relief.
That’s one thing off my plate. One million and five jobs to go!
What about you? Where do you find new books to read, for yourself or for your kids?
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