Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Kind of Stories Do Kids like? Check Reference Books for Answers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What Kind of Stories Do Kids like? Check Reference Books for Answers

Article excerpt

One of the best things about working at a newspaper is getting 365 chances a year to start fresh -- write a better story, a different story, a story that tells readers more.

The worst things about working at a newspaper are those same 365 chances.

Yesterday's stuff is just that, old.

What now? What next?

Sure, people cut out recipes and football schedules or save stories for scrapbooks, but for the most part, readers don't keep newspapers on their coffee tables the way they do books and magazines. This morning's lead story is on the bottom of the bird cage by the time reporters go to bed.

The beginning of a new year is a journalist's best chance to do articles that fall into the clip-and-save category. Lifestyle sections are full of them -- a timeline for getting out of debt, a 12-month guide to lawn and garden maintenance, lists of release dates for movies and CDs. Now these stories get stuck on the fridge.

Today's column is my effort to get clipped, saved and filed. I'm using the term "filed" loosely. It could mean stuffed in a shoebox or tacked on the bulletin board. Come to think of it, throw this list in one of my favorite filing places -- the floorboard of your car. That way it will be easily accessible for trips to the library or bookstore.

THE LIST

Top three reference books for adults who are constantly stumped by the question, "What kind of books do children like?"

1. The New York Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books for Children by Eden Ross Lipson (Three Rivers Press, $18). This book has more than 1,500 titles organized by reading level and divided into six sections labeled "Wordless," "Picture Books," "Storybooks," "Early Reading," "Middle Reading" and "Young Adult." What makes it outstanding is its index system. Besides the usual title, author, illustrator listings, the indexes are divided into three additional categories: age appropriate, read-aloud, special subjects. The special subjects section is especially useful. …

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