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The new term, new year and new decade has brought with it a plethora of book lists. Some recommend the best children’s books published over the last year, some highlight titles on a particular theme or for an age-range.

There is no doubt that book lists have their place. For busy teachers they can be a starting point for titles to recommend to children, they can form the beginnings of a classroom or school book collection or be a handy way of engaging parents in reading. Often they give confidence that books are age-appropriate.

The children’s book market is huge and it’s impossible for most teachers to have extensive knowledge of children’s titles past and present so any list that give some guidance is going to be helpful.

Remember though that many lists are subjective – the creator’s personal favourites. Lists can be static – a list published today will exclude anything published tomorrow or beyond. And just because a book is recommended doesn’t mean that it’s available. In a fast-paced market books go out of print quickly and even some established and classic titles can become unavailable.

So seek out lists created by reliable organisations and teachers to inspire your own choices. Use resource services (like us) for the widest choice of titles and expert advice and use a range of lists rather than relying too heavily on one.

Sally Harrison

Sally Harrison

Sally is the School Library Service manager for Juniper Education. She has worked in primary school and public libraries for 17 years and as a children’s book reviewer. She is a chartered librarian, a member of the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians and has been a board member of the School Library Association.