Connecting Children with Classics
A Reader-Centered Approach to Selecting and Promoting Great Literature
by Meagan Lacy and Pauline Dewan
March 2018, 482pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-4439-3
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4440-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

This standout children’s literature guide focuses on children’s reading needs and “the classics” to better engage with young readers and encourage lifelong reading.

This guide identifies hundreds of books that can help children develop into engaged readers. Children's librarians, collection development specialists in public libraries, as well as K–8 school librarians and teachers will choose from the best in children's titles.

This unique readers’ advisory and collection development guide for librarians and others who work with children focuses on readers and their needs, rather than simply categorizing books by their characteristics and features as traditional literature guides do. Taking this unusual perspective brings forth powerful new tools and curricular ideas on how to promote the classics, and how to best engage with young readers and meet their personal and emotional needs to boost interest and engagement.

The guide identifies seven reader-driven appeals, or themes, that are essential to successful readers’ advisory: awakening new perspectives; providing models for identity; offering reassurance, comfort, strength, and confirmation of self-worth; connecting with others; giving courage to make a change; facilitating acceptance; and building a disinterested understanding of the world. By becoming aware of and tapping into these seven themes, librarians and other educators can help children more deeply connect with books, thereby increasing the odds of becoming lifelong readers. The detailed descriptions of each book provide plot summaries as well as notes on themes, subjects, reading interest levels, adaptations and alternative formats, translations, and read-alikes. This informative guide will also aid librarians in collection development and bibliotherapy services.


  • Enables collection development specialists who are building a new collection or strengthening/augmenting an existing one to create balanced and enduring collections
  • Serves librarians seeking to increase their knowledge about children's classics and help young readers get more out of them
  • Helps teachers who are looking for ways to use literature in the classroom, as well as parents seeking books that are suited to their child's interests, needs, and problems
Meagan Lacy, MLIS, is an information literacy librarian at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY, New York. She is the editor of Library Unlimited's The Slow Book Revolution: Creating a New Culture of Reading on College Campuses and Beyond, which is a librarian's response to the Age of Digital Distraction. She also studies children's literature, and in 2015 she received the Emerging Scholar Award from Children's Literature in Education for her article, "Portraits of Children of Alcoholics: Stories that Add Hope to Hope." Lacy received her Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington (Seattle) and her master's degree in English from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.

Pauline Dewan, PhD, is a reference librarian at the Brantford, Ontario campus of Wilfrid Laurier University. She has published two books about children's literature and a number of articles about reading for pleasure. Dewan served for five years on the Reader's Advisory Committee of the Ontario Library Association. She won the 2015 RUSA Press Award for her article, "Reading Matters in the Academic Library: Taking the Lead from Public Librarians." Dewan received her doctorate in English from York University (Toronto).


"The book provides a solid list of classics for 9–13 year olds, but its main strength is the focus on advising the reader based on appeal and mood."—Booklist Online, July 9, 2018

"This is an excellent tool for any parent to give guidance to those children who have a difficult time finding a book to read or who want books similar to the one they just read. . . . Recommended."—ARBA, November 29, 2018

"Intended primarily for librarians who serve child readers...provides practical advice and information on how to introduce children to classic children's books that match their reading interests."—Children's Literature Association, June 1, 2019
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