“Where are your mystery books?”
“My teacher says I need to read a historical fiction book for my report.”
“My son hates to read, but loves sports. Do you have any fiction sports books he might like?”
Sound familiar? These requests are made daily because most kids we serve think in terms of genre. A few have favorite authors and series, but most of them are open to the possibilities of what is out there, as long as it is whatever genre is capturing them at that moment. Maybe our patron just read Goosebumps and is looking for something else to give them that knot in their stomach, anticipating what creature or magic is waiting for their favorite character. Maybe the patron laughed their way through Greg’s antics in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and she wants to recapture the humor. Most kids are still open to suggestion. When they ask us for a recommendation based on genre, it is a chance for us to open yet another door for them.
But… what about those kids who aren’t searching for genre because they already have an interest? Because they have read something similar and what more? What about those kids whose teacher or parent is trying to broaden their horizons for them? For me, even as a veteran to advisory, this is where I falter. I don’t want to give a kid a book just because it is this genre. I want to give them a reason to connect with the specific book I put in their hands. I want to get a feel for what they could read if the choice were their own and get as close as possible while sticking with what they need in regards to the genre. That is what we all want. To give them a reason not to dread that project but to open them up to the possibilities of trying something new!
It is a tricky balancing act sometimes, and the more knowledge we have as to what is out there, the better we will be at getting the right reader with the right book. With this in mind, we are launching our series on Reading by the Genre. We have created lists of new and old titles, some popular and some that flew under the radar, that will hopefully add titles to our arsenal so that when we get that genre request we have more options to share with our patrons.
For us at MPL, historical fiction seems to be one genre that we get asked about a lot (I mean… A LOT) in September, so we are jumping off there. Some of these titles are familiar and even award winning but some are lesser known. All are awesome options when put with the right reader.
What books would you add to this list?
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
Prisoner 88 by Leah Pileggi
Countdown by Deborah Wiles
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance by Eleanora E. Tate