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Mar 24 2021 - 11:46 AM
Children's and YA Materials on Ebook Central

This ebook guide focuses on the wealth of children’s and young adult materials available to members of the Teachers College community. It was written in conjunction with the 2020 October Staff Picks, Children’s Awards: An Ebook Retrospective.

Ebook Collections at the Gottesman Libraries

ProQuest Ebook Central is one of the ebook platforms where digital copies of children’s books are held. There are numerous ways to explore ebooks for young readers beyond a simple title or author search.

General assistance for Ebook Central can be found on its Help page and from ProQuest Support. For information on accessibility features offered by this platform, visit our Ebook Accessibility Series: ProQuest EBook Central blog post.

A screenshot of the homepage of Ebook Central, with its main search bar and links to other important features. The theme of the site is a cool purple with a white background.

Ebook Central

Ebook Central is a well-known ebook platform. Members of the Teachers College community have access to over 1500 children’s and young adult titles through its holdings. A notable feature of Ebook Central’s juvenile collection is its award listings, which were instrumental in developing the Children’s Awards: Ebook Retrospective staff picks. 

Browsing by Subject

Similar to EBSCOhost’s browsable collections, the Browse Subjects link below the main search bar on Ebook Central’s homepage brings users to a page that links to collections of ebooks curated by subject. Under a section labeled “Education,” there is a link to Juvenile Literature.

[Image: the Browse Subjects page of Ebook Central. A black arrow is pointing at the link for Juvenile Literature.]

Once selected, users can browse the available titles classified as Juvenile Literature. Keep in mind that “literature” refers to both fiction and nonfiction titles in this collection. Browsing can be refined by selecting publication dates, select subjects, or other limiters from the left-hand side of the page.

[Image: The first page of results in the 1672 book collection associated with the Juvenile Literature collection. Five item record links are visible in the center of the page, as well as a long list of specific subject limiters along the left side of the page.]

Clicking on a title in the collection allows users to see more information about a book before reading it. This information includes a description, bibliographic information, author information, reviews, tags, award information, and more. Award information will be discussed in this post, but all of the information associated with an ebook on the platform is worth exploring!

Browsing by Award

If a title in this collection won an award or honor, or is on a well-known book list, it is possible that the award or book list information is indexed with the item. Please be aware that this feature is not the easiest to browse on its own and may not be completely correct or complete. It is useful nonetheless when comparing texts that have been recognized for excellence. 

As mentioned in the previous section, award information may be part of an ebook’s record. For example, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz won a Pura Belpré award, a Stonewall award, a Printz honor, and many more accolades. Within this book’s record, there will be a section towards the bottom of the page where one award is displayed with the option to click a button to see all awards.

[Image: A heading reading “Awards” sits above the American Library Association’s logo which has a link for ALA Notable Children’s Books. A button reading “See All Awards” is beneath this text. Further down, there is a cloud of tags describing the book - YA, Stonewall Book Award, Friendship, Homosexuality, and others - with a “Browse Tags” button.]

Clicking on the “See All Awards” button will present a box with the other awards and honors recognized by Ebook Central. 

[Image: The results of clicking the “See All Awards” button. Awards listed in three rows of six columns include ALA Notable Children’s Books, Lambda Literary Award, Printz honor, and thirteen other distinctions.]

Similarly, clicking on one of the awards links to other honored titles that are available in Ebook Central. Be aware, though, that the awards listed may not be a complete listing of which awards a particular book has received and that most but not all books are appropriately cataloged. For instance:

[Image: The result of clicking on the ALA Notable Children’s Book link. An array of mostly children’s books is depicted.]

In the above image, there are well-known children’s books: When My Name Was Keoko, Alice in Wonderland, Aesop’s Fables, among others. Some appear in duplicate. However, there are also books like Judicial Review and Bureaucratic Impact: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives and The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science. One may be able to guess which books are actually publications for youth and which are not, but to be sure, searching for the book title and the name of the award on an internet search engine can help clarify.

Search by Subject

Like many databases, Ebook Central’s Advanced Search function enables users to search for books by subject.

[Image: Ebook Central’s advanced search fields. A dropdown menu beginning with the item Keyword & Full Text is extended to show its options.]

There are three sets of subjects recognized by this list: Book Industry Standards And Communications (BISAC) Subject Heading, Library of Congress (LC) Subject Heading, and Ebook Central Subject. Although Ebook Central offers users a way to browse by subject, there does not seem to be a relationship between the browsable subjects and the search function. 

Here are links for the complete BISAC subject heading and LC subject heading lists. To get an idea of which subject headings are relevant to children’s and young adult materials, the Subjects limiters on the left side of a search results page or the bibliographic information on the right side of an ebook’s record.

Main Search Function

Ebook Central is also searchable using Boolean phrases. Unlike searching in eBooks on Ebscohost, creating Boolean phrases which include award or honor names, or the words “award” and “honor” do not yield precise results. A search for the LC subject heading “juvenile literature” and the keyword “cat” yields over 4000 results:

[Image: An advanced search with the fields “LC Subject Heading contains juvenile literature” and “Keyword & Full Text contains cat” entered over its dropdown sections with the specific terms typed into the search bars.]

[Image: The results of the search, containing 4458 books with the word “cat” in the title or text and with LC subject headings containing “juvenile literature.”]

For those who are curious, it may be interesting to switch the drop-down menu options for “contains” to “matches.” It adds accuracy, which can be helpful when searching for materials that are written for children instead of written about children’s literature.

Searching by Title or Author

Of course, one tried and true method of locating a digital version of an award-winning book is to find a title of interest on an awards/honors/book list of your choice, access our ebook collections, and enter the title or author with quotation marks (ex., “The Princess and the Warrior” or “Duncan Tonatiuh”) to ensure a specific search. Most database interfaces allow searches to be limited by title or author instead of just by keyword in order to streamline a search even more. For example, this search where the search string reads: Title Matches “The Princess and the Warrior”

Other ProQuest Resources

ProQuest offers LibGuides to help users navigate its collections and services. The Ebook Central section of the LibGuide has instructional materials, including tutorial videos. The Platform Features section is especially helpful for anyone looking to understand the anatomy of an ebook on the platform. The K-12/Student Resources page links to LibGuides in a number of subjects that students and educators may find relevant.

Additional Support

As always, if you need assistance finding a text or have questions about using a database, please reach out to us using our live chat feature or the Ask a Librarian link.