What started as a casual conversation with a local librarian led to a more extensive discussion with five local librarians about which books parents were requesting for their children but couldn't find. What was lacking, and what themes were being overlooked or underrepresented? With the exception of a couple of topics, the results were widely varied. Check out what five Los Angeles-based librarians had to say.
The first library I visited expressed a need for books about consent, such as the picture book, Don't Hug Doug. Another one that comes to mind is C is for Consent. The need for diverse books hasn't slowed, and helpful books to assist parents are also being requested. Newer takes on potty training, and weaning and books about single parenting are in high demand. The librarian specified that this topic extends beyond divorce and separation stories. She feels that parents need assistance and conversation starters to represent one parent raising a child/children while the other parent is absent.
The second librarian had yet to receive many requests from parents, but the library is still actively purchasing books with social justice themes and social-emotional learning. She expressed concern that Covid continues to affect social transitions in schools. She also reinforced that kids use their local library to do homework after school. I've seen this library at total capacity, and I love that the kids have a safe place to congregate!
The third librarian I visited needs books about climate change, Native Americans, and local biographies about interesting people. In her words, "Not the same ol' people." She also expressed interest in fresh takes on classic themes such as sibling rivalry and grandparents' passing. This library continues to acquire books on social justice, gender identity, and neurodiversity.
The fourth librarian said there had been little input from parents since Covid. But she had received a few involving themes of entering school for the first time (preK, or preK to Kinder). Other topics requested are books on emotions, trucks, and manners.
And finally, the last librarian commented on the disparity between the type of books parents want their kids to read, and the books children choose for themselves. Parents seek the classics for their children, but kids can't get enough of graphic novels. Kids are devouring them, even early reader graphic novels. She shared how her son loves this format. He reads and rereads stories such as Dogman. Each time he reads from a new perspective. As he matures, new connections are formed, and he accesses the material at higher levels of understanding.
So, there you have it. If you are a writer, I hope this information fuels your imagination, and I hope your book appears on future library's list to purchase. If you are a librarian, teacher, or parent, I'd love to hear which topics you wish to see on the shelves.
Leave your comment below!
Kidlit Authors Trivia Quiz
It's time for some kidlit author trivia! How will you score? TOP DOG? BADDEST CAT? or CASUAL KITTEN? Take out a sheet of paper to record your choices. Scroll down for the answer key when finished.
1 This book was written on a $50 bet when this author's publisher challenged him/her to write a book using 50 words or less.
a. Where the Wild Things Are/Maurice Sendak
b. Green Eggs and Ham/Dr. Seuss
c. Baby Animals/Gyo Fujikawa
d. Goodnight Moon/Margaret Wise Brown
2. This author only writes/wrote stories using a pencil and yellow paper.
a. C.S. Lewis
b. Jason Reynolds
c. P.D. Eastman
d. Roald Dahl
3. This author preferred outdoor activities to reading and was an avid sailor.
a. E.B. White
b. Arnold Lobel
c. Chris Van Allsburg
d. Shel Silverstein
4. A skating rink in Kiyose, Japan, was named after this author.
a. Laura Ingalls Wilder
b. A.A. Milne
c. Ezra Jack Keats
d. Madeleine L'Engle
5. This author's illustration of a red lobster created for an advertisement led to his first picture book assignment.
a. Mercer Mayer
b. Eric Carle
c. Crockett Johnson
d. Norman Bridwell
6. This author shares a birthday with Abraham Lincoln and Judy Blume.
a. Beverly Cleary
b. Bill Martin Jr.
c. Astrid Lindgren
d. Jacqueline Woodson
7. This author was frightened of “dogs, swimming, and thunderstorms as a child.
a. Grace Lin
b. Lauren Child
c. Judy Bloom
d. Sandra Boynton
8. This author kept a journal and jotted down private thoughts in a secret code.
a. Lewis Carroll
b. S.E. Hinton
c. Richard Scarry
d. Beatrix Potter
9. This author wished to become the first female major league baseball player, and also wanted a career as a FBI agent.
a. Rosemary Wells
b. J.K. Rowling
c. Jane Yolan
d. Mem Fox
10. This author hates Mickey Mouse.
a. Laura Numeroff
b. R.L. Stine
c. Mo Willems
d. Linda Sue Park
Path To Publication