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INFO 5420: Literature for Youth: Resources

Online Book Reviews

ALA Book Awards

The American Library Association (ALA) and its member units honor books, print and other forms of media through a variety of awards. These awards are given to publications, and the authors, illustrators, and publishers who create them. Below are some of the awards related to literature for youth.


The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

 The Best Fiction for Young Adults, administered by YALSA and recommended for ages 12-18, meets the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. The list comprises a wide range of genres and styles, including contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction and novels in verse.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished contribution to the body of American children’s literature known as beginning reader books published in the United States during the preceding year.

Designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards annually recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience.

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Each year, the Notable Children's Books list identifies the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) best of the best children's books.

The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

The Sibert Award honors the most distinguished informational book published in English in the preceding year for its significant contribution to children’s literature.

The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

The Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award and the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award are presented to English language books that have exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience.

The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults, ages 12-18, during a January 1 – December 31 publishing year.

How to Find Book Reviews

In order to make intelligent choices in purchasing books, videos, and other library materials, it is necessary to know how to find book reviews that evaluate the quality of the material. Most of the time, you will be unable to actually examine books to acquire for your library. Most librarians rely on reading the reviews published in hard copy journals, but since this class is taught online, you will need to follow these instructions in order to approximate as closely as possible the experience of looking at book reviews in journals. A list of review sources is available on this page.

Using Academic Search Complete to Find Reviews

These journals are available full text in the Academic Search Complete database:

  • Library Journal
  • School Library Journal

You can find reviews of current books by following these instructions:

1. Open Academic Search Complete and choose Advanced Search.

2. In the first search box, type the words "book reviews", without quotation marks.

3. Scroll down the page to where you find the section called "Limit Your Results." In the search box labeled "Publication" type the title "School Library Journal."

4. To find the most recent reviews, simply enter the name of the last month in the Published Date box and the current year in the year box.

5. When you run the search by clicking on the "Search" button, it will show you citations for book reviews from that issue. Look for several reviews on the same page, then click on the link for one of them that says "PDF Full Text".

6. It will show you a page with several book reviews on it. You can print out the page to read more conveniently.

You can further limit your search by adding an age designation like "young adult" to the second line of the Advanced Search. Other designations include PreK to Gr. 2, etc. You can also limit by genre, such as fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, etc.



Using ProQuest's Research Library to Find Reviews

The following journals are available in full text from ProQuest's Periodical Abstracts:

  • Booklist
  • Book Links
  • Horn Book Magazine
  • Publisher's Weekly

1. Go to ProQuest's Research Library.

2. To find book reviews in this database, you will need to do an Advanced Search.

3. In the first search box, type the journal name, in this case "Booklist" and use the pull-down menu to the right to select "Publication Title."

4. In the "Document type" pull-down menu, select "Review."

5. Under "Publication date" range, choose a reasonable time span, like "Last 30 days" or "Last 3 months." Otherwise, the search pulls over 100,000 reviews!

Again, you can limit your search by age range or genre as mentioned above.



Other Useful Review Sources

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database

This database allows searching by genre or type of book, and provides a listing of the book's awards as well as reviews of the book in some cases. This will be useful in filling gaps in a collection, as well as developing a collection in a specific area. It is probably less useful than School Library Journal Online or the other journals mentioned above for developing a general collection.

TLA Reading Lists

The Texas Library Association (TLA) encourages reading with its recommended lists for children and teens.

2x2 Reading List for children age two to grade two.

Texas Bluebonnet Award for third through sixth grade.

Lone Star Reading List for sixth through eighth grade.

Tayshas for high school.

Maverick graphic novel reading list.


Children's Literature

Web Resources

Additional Links