How do you pick an age-appropriate book?

May 3, 2022

320 Sycamore Studios is a kids-book publisher. We share recommendations for great kids books, send serialized stories via our weekly newsletter, and offer free PDF versions of all our books.
Heya <<First Name>>,

How do you find the right next book for your child? 

How do you challenge kids, but keep reading fun?

Does age-appropriateness refer to vocabulary? Or to subject matter?

So many questions!

And no simple answers.

However, Laura Simeon, a young reader’s editor for Kirkus Reviews, offers some suggestions in her recent article, What Makes a Book ‘Age Appropriate’?

Here’s a quote:

Reading … is always about what readers bring to books. The same work can kick-start life-changing insights for one reader or, for another, serve as light entertainment (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading purely for fun and escape). Books can be upsetting and confusing—but so can real life. Unlike real life, readers can skim, skip, take breaks, and walk away. One important function of story has always been to vicariously work through strong emotions as catharsis or preparation for reality.

In her column, Simeon also compares the way five pairs of books address topics such as divorce, race, and body image from middle-grade and young-adult perspectives.

I hope her guidance helps you pick the next book for your child.

Thanks to my friend and colleague Dana Gaskin Wenig, who recommended the article. 

By the way, Dana will soon be writing a column for us on great children’s books, one per month. 

I can’t wait to share. 

… who believe that reading with kids can change the world for the better. 

In our current serial story: Things start changing, all sneaky and slow

Illustration by Dzana Serdarevic.

If you lose something like a book or a ball, it’s pretty easy to find it again. But what happens when you lose the thing that makes you YOU?

Well, if you’re a girl like Winnie Wisp — someone who likes doing things a bit differently — you set out on a journey to find it again.

Even if it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Part 1: What IS a whoosh?
Part 2: Whooshes can be shy
Part 3: Yagotters liked thing-ing
Part 4: Winnie Wisp really didn’t like math
Part 5: Winnie and her Whoosh take to the hills
Part 6: Things start changing, all sneaky and slow

New: Will Moldylocks find her roar?

Misfit zombie girl Moldylocks LaMort has lost her roar. And she only has a week to find it if she’s going to win the lead role in the town musical.  

Moldy’s best hope is to train with the new kid — IF she can trust him. He is, after all, a bear.

Buy “Moldylocks and the Bear” >
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