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Jun 24 2020 - 09:22 AM
Workshop: Children's Literature: An Overview of Library Resources


This blog post introduces you to library resources that strengthen study, teaching, and research in the field of K-12 children's literature, including biography, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, fables and fairy tales. From locating children's books in the library's catalog, to using classroom-centered databases, through to reading up on secondary source material, you'll discover a wide range of possibilities that inform the field of literature.


The Gottesman Libraries house outstanding collections of children's books. The Harvey Darton Collection, originally built by the scion of the Darton firm, contains an unmatched selection of early children’s works of the 17th through the 19th centuries. The Annie E. Moore collection of illustrated books furnishes superb examples of important types of illustrations, showing major changes in the ways art for children was conceived and reproduced; included are crude wood-cuts of early chapbooks and the work of eminent 19th century English and American artists. The “W Collection” of over 2,400 items yields more rare works, including several hundred 18th and 19th century chapbooks; often published by Sunday school societies and other groups to encourage moral uplift, chapbooks provided stories intended to be inspirational, as well as amusing. These fine historical collections are complimented by a representative selection of children’s fiction from the first half of the 20th century, including award winning and notable picture books, fantasy, folklore, and other genres, in addition to selective foreign children’s books. 

Current collecting efforts focus on award winning and notable children's books that may be used across all subject areas of school curriculum, in addition to teaching of the English Language Arts. To highlight these resources and encourage usage, the Library features curated book displays, usually in the Fall semester as part of the Staff Picks program. Examples include those for 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016.

Location and Retrieval:

While children's literature dating from 1990 onwards are shelved in the second floor reading room, older materials are housed in the closed stacks and are retrieved by the staff upon request. A retrieval request may be submitted via online support, or by clicking on the link from the catalog record in Educat ("Click here to request that this item be retrieved from the closed stacks").

Image: Illus. by Ethel Franklin Betts for "Little Miss Muffet Sat on a Tuffet" in The Complete Mother Goose. New York: Frederick and Stoke, c1909.

Finding Books:


Educat, the catalog,  offers the definitive record of what's held in the Gottesman Libraries. Apart from allowing you to search the entire collection, you can scope your search to look only for dissertations, serials, non-print, children's books, or images.

The default search is basic (searching by keyword, title, author, subject, call number, ISBN/ISSN):



But there is also an advanced search screen that allows you to combine search terms with Boolean operators (AND, AND NOT, OR ). 


Image: Five Cats, One Sitting with a Dunce Cap While One Reads from a Book to the Other Three. Boston Public Library, Flickr

More on Using Educat: Children's Books:


Because many children's books are not assigned subject headings in Educat, keyword searching is often helpful when looking for books on a particular topic. First, use the drop down menu to stop your search to "Only Children's Books" and then enter your criteria.

Image: The Cat In the Hat, by Cara Tam, Deviant Art

Here is an example:


Subject headings for Children's Literature, Young Adult Literature, and other topics can be browsed in Educat; one option is to insert a topic and conduct and advanced search, like:

(animal* OR cats OR dogs)/anywhere AND Children's Literature / subject

Suggestion: Keep in mind...

  • The Horn Book Magazine, which provides reviews of children's and young-adult literature, articles, editorials, and interviews of authors and illustrators. Designed for professionals and academics in the field of children's books.

Select Databases:

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database contains catalog records in MARC format that have children's headings assigned. These records come with all of the official cataloging data, subject terms, and annotations. In addition, the database contains critical reviews of thousands of children's books, ranging from the earliest baby board books to novels and nonfiction for young adults. CLCD allows you to search by reader and genre; author and publisher; and reading metrics (exile range, Scholastic interest and reading levels; Scholastic point range; ATOS text complexity; accelerated reader points), in addition to keyword and other typical search criteria.

ERIC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to provide extensive access to educational-related periodical literature. ERIC (which stands for Educational Resources Information Center) provides coverage of conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, dissertations, reports, audiovisual media, bibliographies, directories, books, and monographs. It includes lessons plans and teaching materials. In addition to this version, made available via the ProQuest platform, ERIC is also accessible via the U.S. government ERIC site and through Ebsco ERIC.

SIRS Researcher, a Proquest resource,  provides news sources, magazines, and articles that cover trending topics and issues in politics and international affairs. Designed for secondary school students, it includes opposing viewpoints to generate discussion. It also links to curriculum standards, Common Core, so that teachers can familiarize and then find topics, websites, and articles that match state curriculum standards.

Teaching Books is an award-winning library and collection of materials designed to bring books alive, offering a vetted collection of instructional materials about children's and young adult books and author. It contains lesson plans, vocabulary lists, author interviews, — organized by grade levels, curriculum areas, genres. There are helpful videos: 4-Minute Overview; Completing Qualitative Text Complexity Rubrics; Creating Custom Reading Lists; Educator Login; Posting to Google Classroom; QR Codes: Linking Literacy, Text and Technology; Sharing Resources. There are also professional webinars.

Select Handbooks:


Hall, Kathy, ed. International Handbook Of Research On Children's Literacy, Learning, and Culture. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.


Lapp, Diane and Douglas Fisher, eds.. Handbook of Research On Teaching the English Language Arts. 4th ed. New York, NY: Routledge, 2018.


Taylor, Barbara M. and Nell K. Duke, eds. Handbook of Effective Literacy Instruction: Research-Based Practice K-8. New York: Guildford Press, 2013.


Waski, Barbara Hanna. ed. Handbook Of Family Literacy. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2012.


Wyse, Dominic and Christine Parker. The Early Literacy Handbook: Making Sense Of Language and Literacy With Children Birth To Seven - A Practical Guide To the Context Approach: Birth To Seven. London : Practical Pre-School Books, 2012. 


Select Journals:


Best Books for Kids and Teens, published by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, is a guide to the best new Canadian books, magazines, audio and video for children and teens. Whether you’re stocking a bookshelf in a classroom, library or at home, every title in this guide has been given the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s stamp of approval


Children’s Literature in Education offers critical evaluation, analysis or commentary for librarians, teachers, students, writers and interested parents on social issues reflected in books, interviews with authors and illustrators and accounts of classroom practice and experience.


Curriculum Review is a journal of K-12 curriculum resources, as well as current events in teaching and schools. Its mission is to help educators learn about a variety of teaching tools and allow them to make informed decisions about which will best suit their communities.


Deakin Review of Children’s Literature is an electronic quarterly review of contemporary English-language materials of interest to children and young adults. Of particular use to librarians, parents, teachers and anyone working with young people, we also publish news and opinions relevant to children’s literacy.


Journal of Children’s Literature, published by Children’s Literature Assembly, Texas Women’s University is devoted to teaching and scholarship in the field of children's literature.


Kirkus Reviews, like Horn Book, is a publication containing professional quality reviews of books. The reviews span books for all ages. Kirkus can also be accessed outside of the Library’s holdings at


School Library Journal offers more than just book reviews. There are sections of this publication dedicated to school library and public library news, trends in publishing and education, lesson plan and curriculum ideas, and tools for using technology and creating diverse book collections. In addition, School Library Journal hosts a number of virtual events and courses, as well as a variety of popular blogs geared towards K-12 materials like Teen Librarian Toolbox and The Classroom Bookshelf. More information is available at


Select Professional Organizations:


The Children’s Book Center (CBC) is a non-profit trade organization of book publishers who are devoted to promoting quality materials for young readers. Their resources for educators include book lists; author, illustrator, and librarian columns; award and honor lists; and information on hiring and reading for diversity. They are also the originators of initiatives such as Children’s Book Week -- the oldest literacy initiative in the country -- and Every Child a Reader.


International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a global nonprofit with many national sections, all devoted to connecting books and kids around the world. Some of their activities include International Children’s Book Day, collecting resources for their Children in Crisis fund, and book clubs in adherence to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as set forth by the UN.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) offers certifications and materials for teaching digital citizenship for all education professionals, and promotes understanding and use of technology to enhance learning across disciplines.


National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) brings teachers of literacy in the English language together, providing resource recommendations and lesson plans for K-12 learners. The NCTE has professional opportunities for educators, as well: they can be published in its journals, engage in virtual events as attendees or panelists, and join gatherings with authors and other professionals in their field.

Select Websites:


Common Sense Media is a popular site among families and guardians of pre K-12 students, as it allows adults to screen books, movies, games, and apps before sharing them with their children. Adults and children write reviews for the site. There are parent guides for popular media and concepts regarding technology, and a comprehensive collection of resources in Spanish.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art aims to inspire a lifelong love of art and books through an extensive collection of pieces by picture book illustrators. They have online exhibitions, videos, storytimes, and art projects available to enjoy the museum from afar.

NewseumED may strike astute library visitors as familiar; our Daily News from Around the World series is sourced from the array of front pages on NewseumED gives educators free access to thousands of lesson plans and related materials on history and critical information literacy. 

Titlewave by Follett is a tool typically used by school librarians to develop collections (Follett is the proprietor of Destiny, the library management software responsible for many K-12 schools’ catalogs). However, any educator can sign up for a Titlewave account and search for books, digital media, toys and manipulatives by subject, genre, reading level, state standard, and more.

We Need Diverse Books is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes anyone involved with children’s literature in the pursuit of more equitable reading and publishing. Awards, grants, mentorships, and diverse reading lists can all be found here. 


YALSA Book Finder is a database available for free online and as an app. Users can search over 4,000 books curated by the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Blog compiled by Jennifer Govan and Rachel Altvater

Related Library Blog Posts:

Navigating K-12 Distance Learning, by Rachel Altvater

Resource Highlight: TeachingBooks, by Kalliopi Mathios

Image: TCMI Cheshire Cat 1, Wikimedia


Posted in: Learning at the Library|By: Jennifer Govan|995 Reads