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The Best in Children's Literature

A pathfinder for parents who use the Tularosa Public Library.

The "best" of children's literature was determined by the students at NMSU-Alamogordo in the Fall, 2007 Reference and Information Resources class using evaluation and selection criteria.

To access any of these resources, contact the Tularosa Librarian.

Non-Fiction Videos and DVDs
Fiction Online Resources
Reference Dewey Numbers
Magazines Keywords


  • Mound, Laurence. Eyewitness Insect. New York, New York: DK Publishing, 2004.
  • Eyewitness Insect gives you an amazing and up close experience of so many insects. This book has great pictures of real insects. It shows actual pictures and even breaks the pictures down into the insects certain bodyparts. There are thirty different headings that range from the parts of an insect to insect architects. It has so many pictures and information about insects that this book would be perfect for any child that needed an in-depth look at insects. (BAM)

  • Katzen, Mollie. Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 & Up. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press, 1999.
  • Mollie Katzen has written many cookbooks and several specifically for children. Honest Pretzels offers 65 vegetarian recipes for children to make and enjoy. There are recipes for breakfast dishes, soups and sandwiches, salads, main courses, snacks, baked goods, and desserts. There are such recipes as named Gingerbread French Toast, Smart Cookies, Tom Tortilla Casserole, and Not-From-a Box Macaroni and Cheese. There is information included on the dishes, safety tips, and quotes. This cookbook will teach children how to measure ingredients, how math is utilized in the kitchen, and basic essential kitchen skills-and also when to ask adults for help. This book was listed as a 2000 ALA Notable Children's Book and also was on the Children's Literature Choice List 2000. A great resource for children ages 8-12. (CR)

  • Kuklin, Susan. Families. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2006.
  • This book consists of interviews with the children from 15 different families, including mixed-race, immigrant, gay, lesbian, and divorced, as well as single parents and families for whom religion is a focal point. The children may be adopted, have special needs, be only children or have multiple siblings, and, of course, the characteristics frequently overlap. The interviews focus on the youngsters' feelings about being part of their family: adults do not interfere. According to an author's note, Kuklin allowed her subjects to choose how they would be photographed, including the clothing worn and what family mementos would be shown. The interest level for this book is Kindergarten through 3rd grade, with a reading level of 3.1. It is the recipient of the 2007 Children's Books of the Year - Special Interests award and is included in the 2007 Notable Children's Books - Middle Readers. (LK)

  • Owens, L.L. Pilgrims in America. Rourke Publishing, 2007.
  • This educational book is filled with information. It provides details about the first Thanksgiving and the settling of Plymouth, Massachusetts which was the second English settlement in the New World. There are historical accounts of how Thanksgiving came to be a National holiday and what life was like as Pilgrims and Indians. This is an excellent source for true historical accounts that includes illustrations, pictures, time lines and more that will keep a child's interest while they are learning about the important historical facts. The interest level for this book is 9-12. (AJ)

  • Silvey, Anita. 100 Best Books for Children. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004
  • This book is a compact list of some of the best in children's literature. A mixture of both classic books, such as The Secret Garden and some new favorites , such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, are included. The author breaks the list down by age and provides brief plot summaries as well as descriptive essays. The lists range from Board Books for children birth to age 2, to books for older readers; children ages 11 to 12. This book is designed to help parents and even educators choose the best books for children. It is also designed to help parents who want to help start their kids explore the joys of reading. With 35 years of experience in the publishing industry, the author chose books that have been popular throughout the years and have remained popular to this day. This book is written for parents but educators can also benefit from this book. (RS)

  • Weatherford, Carole Boston. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom. Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, 2007.
  • Recommended for grades 2 - 5, Tubman turns to God in the account of her journey to Freedom and her role in the Underground Railroad. (AC)

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  • Reynolds H. Peter. The Dot. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2003.
  • This book is a great reader for any elementary child. The Dot is the title of the book but somewhat the whole story. In this book a young girl named Vashti thinks she can not draw, so her art teacher told her to try. She jammed the paper with her marker and said there I did it. The art teacher then told Vashti to sign it and hung it up behind her desk. Vashti was so moved by her teacher's efforts she goes on to make bigger and better dots and ends up being the star at their school art show. This is very cute an inspiring book for any young mind. (BAM)

  • Osborne, Mary Pope. Magic Tree House Series. New York: Random House, 1992-2007
  • A mixture of fiction and non-fiction, this series presents history to children in a fun, unique way. Beginning with the first book in the series, Dinosaurs Before Dark, we are introduced to the two main characters, Jack and his younger sister Annie. The two children travel to historical places with the help of a magic tree house belonging to Morgan Le Fay. All the children have to do to travel is open a book, point to a picture, and wish to go there. Then they are magically whisked away to the location. The first four books in this series, introduces us to the characters and explains the mystery of the tree house. Beginning with the 5th book in the series, Night of the Ninjas, mysteries are presented and continue for the following three books. These books are very simple chapter books with frequent pictures written for 1st - 3rd grade students. (RS)

  • Patron, Susan. The Higher Power of Lucky. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.
  • In The Higher Power of Lucky, Patron takes us to the California desert community of Hard Pan (population 43). Ten-year-old Lucky Trimble eavesdrops on 12-step program meetings from her hiding place behind Hard Pan's Found Object Wind Chime Museum & Visitor Center. Eccentric characters and quirky details spice up Lucky's life just as her guardian Brigitte's fresh parsley embellishes her French cuisine. The Higher Power of Lucky, is the 2007 Newbery Medal winner. This book is written with an interest level for 3rd-5th grade students. (LK)

  • Shulman, Janet. The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1998.
  • The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury is 320 pages filled with 44 complete classic and otherwise well-known stories. Some of the stories included are "Stellaluna", "Madeline", "Where the Wild Things Are", and "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day". The book excludes some illustrations from the original stories in order to house so many. The reading level is 4-8 years and enjoyable for many ages. (CR)

  • Spinelli, Eileen. Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Tale. New York: Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers, 2001.
  • Sophie is a spider that is also an artist. She can create amazing things with her webbing. She grows up and goes off in the big wide world searching for a place to call home and tries to set up home at a boardinghouse. She attempts to create beautiful and useful things for the humans around her, but she is thwarted time and time again by people who are either afraid of her or disgusted by her. She is forced to move to another part of the boardinghouse. . There she finds a young expectant mother who leaves Sophie alone and also who is in desperate need of a blanket for her baby. Here in Sophie's last days, she creates her final masterpiece-a blanket to rival all blankets. Sophie finally finds her true place. The story is about kindness and love. The reading level is ages 4-8, but for all ages. (CR)

  • White, E. B. (Elwyn Brooks). Charlotte's Web. New York: Harper-Collins, 1952.
  • This classic Newbery Honor book starts with a little girl named Fern who takes Wilbur, a cute little pig under her wing. At the very beginning, Wilbur meets a spider named Charlotte. He and Charlotte develop a close friendship as Charlotte helps him escape being sent off to be slaughtered. In this truly touching story you see the cycle of life and fall in love with every character right down to the end. (AJ)

  • Wiesner, David. Flotsam. New York: Clarion, 2006

    This is a beautiful watercolor illustrated book. A wordless picture book of a boy at the seashore and his discoveries. Recommended for Preschoolers - Grade 2. (AC)

  • Wright, Blanche Fish. The Real Mother Goose. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1994.
  • Blanche Fish Wright's edition was first published in 1916, complementing Mother Goose with her beautiful illustrations. Standing out from other Mother Goose collections, the drawings add something to the imagination and are sure to impress any reader. This collection has all of what someone would expect from a Mother Goose book, including favorite rhymes such as "Pat-a-Cake", "Thirty Days Hath September", and "Old Mother Hubbard". The reading level is ages 4-8 years but enjoyed by all ages. (CR)

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  • Wright, David. The Facts On File Childrens Atlas. Facts On File Incorporated. 1987-1993
  • This book was created to merely introduce young children to the world. It goes in to depth about certain regions and countries of the world. it is an ideal book for any kind of refrence to the world. With great pictures from all over the world this book is sure to entertain any child wanting to know about the world. I like this book because I can remeber being very young and wanting to know where this country was and where that ocean is, and if I would of had this book I am sure that I probably would have not bugged my Grandpa so much. (BAM)

  • Bollard, John K. Scholastic Children's Thesaurus. Scholastic Inc, 1998
  • This Thesaurus comes in handy for the young student writing there first essay or research paper. (AC)

  • Commire, Anne. Something about the Author. Michigan: Gale Research, 1971-2007
  • This series of books gives brief but detailed overviews of authors and illustrators of children's books. Each volume in the series features facts and pictures and the entries are in an easy-to-use format. The entries include both personal and professional information. This series covers award-winning authors and illustrators to newer authors and illustrators. These books are great tools for students needing to find information about authors and illustrators. This series is benefical for any age. (RS)

  • Davidson, Mark. Right, wrong, and risky : a dictionary of today's American English usage. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006.
  • Many words in the English language sound the same but are written in an entirely different way, they may be derived from the same root but have different meanings, or they may be spelled differently but be used interchangeably. Mark Davidson makes sense of it all in this easy-to-use A-to-Z listing of 2500 entries, this book can help us express ourselves without sounding ambiguous or dull. This book is included in the 2007 Outstanding Reference Sources List. It is written for young adults, but can beneficial for all ages. (LK)

  • Levey, Judith S. ed. Scholastic First Dictionary. New York: Scholastic Reference, 1998.
  • The Scholastic First Dictionary is 224 pages long with more than 1500 definitions. The text is large, the colors are bright, and there are pictures on every page along with phonetic pronunciation guides for each word. The dictionary is ideal for beginning or young readers who are interested in the meanings of words, or curious to what things are. It is a very simple, clear reference tool. It is recommended for ages 4-8, but might be of interest to older children as well. (CR)

  • Corbeil, Jean-Claude, and Arianne Archambault. The Firefly Visual Dictionary. Firefly books, September 2002.
  • This dictionary is perfect for all ages. It presents a whole brand new kind of dictionary. There are over 6,000 color diagrams and illustrations. This book is divided into seventeen sections that are related to everyday life. This helps children associate the word they are looking for with other things in its category. (AJ)

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  • Owl. Canada: Transcontinental.
  • I chose Owl beacause when I first opened the magazine I noticed they have four sections that are different each issue and for the November issue they have "Owl's Travel Guide" ten places to do cool things, "Animal Of the Month" ten wacky animal facts. "Do It Yourself" ten tips for bowling a strike, and "Science Close Up" ten cutting-edge gadgets. I know if I was a child looking for a good magazine this one would be it. Just because of all the cool facts to learn. (BAM)

  • Ladybug. New Hampshire: Carus Publishing.
  • Ladybug Magazine is created for the young child. It is a magazine filled with beautiful illustrations by award-winning artists that spark the imagination. It includes interactive stories, arts and craft ideas, games, and activities. There are also recurring characters and crafts to cut out. Each issue is usually 40 pages long and is published monthly. In addition, there is no outside advertising in the magazine. For ages 2-6. (CR)

  • Ranger Rick. Virginia: National Wildlife Foundation.
  • Ranger Rick is a magazine suitable for children ages 7-12. It features animal articles, fun facts, comics, riddles, games, and activities all designed for kids. Published monthly, each issue also features bright colorful photos that are visually exciting. It is not only fun for kids, but it is also educational. This magazine helps kids sharpen reading skills and helps them develop an appreciation for the natural world. (RS)

  • Spider. New Hampshire: Carus Publishing.
  • Spider is a magazine created for children ages 6-9. It is designed for children who are beginning to read, think and learn for themselves. The magazine contains riddles, puzzles, games, stories, poems, and articles on nature and the world. This magazine encourages children to use their critical thinking skills. (LK)

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    Videos and DVDs

  • Knuffle Bunny : a cautionary tale. Video recording. Prod. Scholastic : Distributed by Weston Woods. 2006
  • Trixie steps lively as she goes on an errand with her daddy, down the block, through the park, past the school, to the Laundromat. For the toddler, loading and putting money into the machine invoke wide-eyed pleasure. But, on the return home, she realizes something. Try as she might, (in hilarious gibberish), she cannot get her father to understand her problem. Despite his plea of "please don't get fussy," she gives it her all, bawling and going "boneless." They both arrive home unhappy. Mom immediately sees that "Knuffle Bunny" is missing and so it's back to the Laundromat they go. After several tries, dad finds the toy among the wet laundry and reclaims hero status. Yet, this is not simply a lost-and-found tale. The toddler exuberantly exclaims, "Knuffle Bunny!!!" "And those were the first words Trixie ever said." This video recording is the recipient of the 2007 Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in Children's Video. It has an age range of 2-5, but can be enjoyed by all ages, including adults. (LK)

  • Schoolhouse Rock!: Grammar Rock. Dir. Tom Warburton. 1973. Videocassette. Walt Disney Video, 1997.
  • Originally created and run in the 1970's and 1980's, this series is not only educational but fun as well. These videos consist of school topics such as grammar, multiplication, science, and American history and politics. There is also a video about money that was introduced in the 1990's. Each video features songs that teach help teach children. In this particular video, children are taught the parts of speech and what the subject and predicate are. Catchy songs such as "Conjunction Junction" and "A Noun Is A Person, Place, or Thing", will have children and adults alike singing along. Kids will hardly know that they are learning! These videos can be enjoyed by any age, including adults. (RS)

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    Online Resources

  • Story Reader. ( 8th of November 2007 )
  • Story reader is a cool website that sells the new interactive book called story reader. Imagine that a book the actually reads the child the story. It also helps the child to read when they are old enough to start reading on their own. Story reader has already won the National Parenting Publications Gold Award for 2006. This site is awesome. So go online and find out why. (BAM)

  • Bartle, Lisa R. The Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature 20 Apr. 2002. (22 May 2002).
  • This website has almost 7,000 records of 78 awards in six English-speaking countries. The author holds a Masters in Library Information and Science. She created this database as a tool for librarians and others to find virtually any award winning children's book. This database allows for several different search criteria to be met in order to find the exact kind of book you are looking for your child. (AJ)

  • Warren, Jean. Preschool Express.
  • This site is great for teachers, parents and anyone looking for patterns for craft activities. Theme units are designed for preschool to Middle School age students. (AC)

  • The International Children's Digital Library: A Library for the World's Children. The International Children's Digital Library Foundation. 23 Oct. 2007
  • The International Children's Digital Library is a website that offers a free online library of selected children's literature from around the world. It was created and maintained by The University of Maryland and The Internet Archive. The online books are made to look and feel as if the book is in the reader's hands. The books are very diverse and multi-cultured, opening up new worlds for children. The books are available for viewing in several languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, English, Filipino, French, German, Hebrew, Persian, Spanish, etc... Recommended for children of all ages. (CR)

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    Dewey Numbers to Browse

    Keywords to Search

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    This pathfinder was created by the combined efforts of Angela Creamer, Azizi Jones, Lisa Kemp, Bettina McKinley, Cynthia Rockett and Ronda Sepulveda. Instructor: Jenna Kammer.

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