Richie's Picks: FROM COVER TO COVER
- Richie's Picks: FROM COVER TO COVER: EVALUATING AND REVIEWING CHILDREN'S BOOKS (REVISED EDITION) by Kathleen T. Horning, HarperCollins, April 2010***IMPORTANT: You MUST purchase the revised 2010 edition of Horning.-- as noted on the Fall 2010 syllabus for my Children's Materials 0-4 classesI did not think that there would be much of a need to write about the revised edition of FROM COVER TO COVER. After all, the original 1997 edition is the book that has been guiding so many children's services library students in learning how to evaluate children's books. I'd read it when I was a student in library school -- from cover to cover -- for one class and then reread various chapters of it for several other classes. Wouldn't everyone automatically order the revised edition of such a well-known and regarded book?One of the essential skills we learn in collection management is "weeding." When you have a book in your collection that is no longer accurate then it needs to be deselected and removed from the collection or, as we say, weeded. Then you replace it with something new. This happens all of the time with science books because new discoveries make older books inaccurate and obsolete. The same goes for atlases and books about countries. Stuff happens. Countries change names, get new leaders, start wars, or national boundaries move. You just have to get an up-to-date edition.How about having your child or patron reading a book about US Presidents that ends with Ronald Reagan? Working briefly in a school district in 2007 (Yes, that school district.), I came across such interesting curiosities as a 1967 biography of Richard Nixon and a 1983 biography of Al Gore while weeding one of their elementary collections. Laughable, when it's such an extreme example, but a real and dead serious issue when it comes to educating students in the Twenty-first century, particularly in an era of tightening job markets and budget cutting.Speaking of budgets, things got so bad budget-wise for the Sonoma County Library (where I live in California) that they had to shut down the main library and all twelve branches over the entire 2009-2010 winter holiday. Kids were out of school for two weeks and not a library in the county was open. You couldn't even access their online resources!And so I appreciate the notion that the Sonoma County Library might want to hold onto their three copies of the original edition of Horning and hold off on purchasing the new edition.But there is a problem. I just recommended to a friend of mine that she read FROM COVER TO COVER. This friend is both a parent to a three year-old and a graduate student in the School of Education at Sonoma State University. She's a specialist in reading and language arts. If I give her or another parent or another teacher a copy of the original Horning book, then they won't learn that the American Library Association now recognizes the best beginning reader of the year with an award named after Dr. Seuss. Nor will they learn that the Newbery and Caldecott medals have been joined by the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal which is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished informational book for children. (How many times have I now talked about ALMOST ASTRONAUTS, the most recent Sibert winner?) Nor will they learn about all the other significant changes that have taken place in children's publishing over the past thirteen years.Being that so many of the books that Horning cites in the revised edition were not yet published in 1997, readers of the original edition will also miss out on hearing about such great books as THE RACE TO SAVE THE LORD GOD BIRD HITLER YOUTH GROWING UP IN HITLER'S SHADOW WE ARE THE SHIP THE STORY OF NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT 8 A LIFE OF MARK TWAIN IN THE WILD WILD WEST TRACKING TRASH FLOTSAM JETSAM AND THE SCIENCE OF OCEAN MOTION ESCAPE! THE STORY OF THE GREAT HOUDINI THE LINCOLNS A SCRAPBOOK LOOK AT ABRAHAM AND MARY THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE SUPERNOVAE DARK ENERGY AND BLACK HOLES TSUNAMI! DIAMOND WILLOW THE UNDERNEATH THE HUNGER GAMES ELIJAH OF BUXTON THE LOUD SILENCE OF FRANCINE GREEN THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION WHEN YOU REACH ME THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (just to mention a few books to which Horning refers that have also been Richie's Picks titles).With all that we know today about the essential nature of reading to our children from the moment they are born -- or even before they are born -- there are good reasons to encourage parents and childcare providers to read FROM COVER TO COVER. They will really benefit from knowing how to choose the best books for their child's or young students' needs. I recommend that the revised edition of FROM COVER TO COVER be shelved in the Parenting Collection. Us professionals will have no problem tracking it down there when we need to refer to it.But it's got to be the revised edition and I'm needing to know what to tell my friend (the parent and reading specialist) about getting a copy, so this is specifically a request to the Sonoma County Library that you order a few copies of the revised edition of FROM COVER TO COVER asap.Thanks!(Hey, Marin County. You don't have a copy down there either.)Richie Partington, MLIS
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