Hey, reading grandmas! 7 tips for reserving terrific picture books at the library.

“Can I Skype with Nanna so we can read books?”

Isn’t that what you’d love your grandkids to ask their parents? Sure!

Reading picture books to faraway grandkids is a terrific activity when video chatting on FaceTime, Skype, Google Duo, or Facebook Portal. (For assistance or how to read picture books to babies, toddlers, and young children, check out my post: “I did it! An easy way to read books to grands on Facebook, Skype.“)

Most kids love variety in reading so we “reading grandmas” need to have an ever-changing stack of books. If you’re like me, that means picture books a’plenty from the local library.

Since most libraries aren’t open for browsing these days, you have to reserve specific books and follow the library’s instructions for pickup.

Here are some tips to be a Reserving Champ!

Tip 1: Search the library catalog by title. Easy — if you know the name of the book. If you don’t remember the exact title, use the “keyword” feature found on many library catalog searches. For instance, type in the keyword “ribbon” and the library will show books that might include the one you’re seeking.

Tip 2: Search the library catalog by author. Maybe your grandkids really like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. Use Mo’s name as a search and you’ll not only find more pigeon books but also other delightful titles he’s written.

Tip 3: Use “subject” search term. If your grandchild loves trucks, just use the search word “trucks” to browse the catalog. It’s fun to see so many options. Some libraries give you the opportunity to narrow a search. For instance, if I use trucks as a subject but select “juvenile fiction” as one of the prompts, my local library, the Franklin-Springboro Public Library website, gives me lots of truck picture books to choose from.

Tip 4: Think outside the box.

  • Sure, your little Audrey loves princess books so by all means, search for books with “princess” as the subject. But remember you were talking to her about the Olympics the other day? Find a kids’ book on a famous Olympic gymnast.
  • Manuel loves to cook so read him stories about cooking. But he’s got a wiggly tooth. Search for kids’ fiction books about teeth.
  • Adeela loves dinosaurs and you can really please her with loads of dinosaur books. But how about a picture book about a woman you admire?
  • Noah is having a new baby in the family. Help him understand what’s going on with one of the many picture books on the subject.

Tip 5: Remember the series of books your grandkids like. If your grandchildren like a few in a series — such as The Berenstain Bears, Amelia Bedelia, Pete the Cat, Arthur, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie — won’t they be thrilled when you find some titles in the series that they have not read! Using the author’s name is a good way of seeing all titles in a particular series.

Tip 6: Use book lists found on the internet to get titles. If you Google the term “best kids picture books” or something similar, you’ll find hundreds of websites with great ideas. Granted, some of these sites are selling books, but you can just gather titles to order from your public library. Here are a few links:

Teacher Picks: Top 25 Picture Books

The Top 100 Picture Books of All Time

The All Time Best Books for Toddlers from GoodReads

The Ultimate List of the Best Picture Books – Happy You, Happy Family

Tip 7: Search Amazon. Sure, Amazon sells books but you can browse their books to find titles to reserve at your public library. Enter exploratory terms such as:

  • Books for a six year old boy
  • Dragon books for kids
  • Books about space
  • Toddler books about farm animals
  • Diversity books for preschoolers
reading a book via ipad
Pick up your reserves at the library and … ready, set, read!

Do you have any favorite titles your kiddos love? Please share a few in the Comments section below.

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8 thoughts on “Hey, reading grandmas! 7 tips for reserving terrific picture books at the library.”

  1. My grandson Chase really enjoys Dragons Love Tacos. Good thing I own a copy!

    Thanks for ideas on reserves. I asked my librarian to pick out kids’ books for me and I got them at the pick up time. But I know I can pick out better books for Chase.

    • My grandkids like Dragons Like Tacos, too! It’s by Adam Rubin, in case anyone is looking.

      What a wonderful librarian you have, Lou Ann! But it doesn’t surprise me. I have found that librarians love to help readers.


  2. I’ve been hunting for books for a 3-year old that include people of color. I don’t think she’s old enough for content about systemic racism, which is what I kept finding. Someone recommended this presentation, which breaks the books down not just by age, or by picture vs. chapter books, but type of content. Very helpful.

    Also, I was given a copy of Reading Magic by Mem Fox, a gold mine of good books and WHY they are good books.

    I am not a fan of Amazon, but their associative database can be helpful. So maybe you look up a Mem Fox book, and Amazon suggests something similar. Then, of course, I get it from the library.

    I am thrilled that our library allows us to put books on reserve!

    • Thanks for sharing, Mary. Sounds like you’re a library fan like me.

      I just went to author Mem Fox’s website and it looks interesting. I think I will put her book Reading Magic on reserve. 🙂

      I am thrilled by the diversity I see now in the picture books that I read to my grandchildren vs. the books I read to my children. Groups of children depicted almost always are a diverse group, I find. Plus there are many titles in which a child not in the culture of my grandchildren is the lead character.

      As the grandchildren get older (my oldest are 8, 6, 4) we are including age appropriate books that talk about racism. For instance, I was amazed to see there are 19 titles of children’s books about Rosa Parks, including a board book which might be good for your 3-year old called “I Am Strong: A Little Book About Rosa Parks” by Brad Meltzer.

  3. Thank you so much! I was looking through a book of poetry I had read to my son when he was the same age as my granddaughter, Evelyn, now almost 3. I probably bought the book because of the adorable illustrations. However it’s no longer the early 1980s and I want to share books with Evelyn in which there are little girls who look much more like the diverse group of children she was spending time with prior to the pandemic. Also, most of the little girls depicted are wearing dresses ~ with smocking, no less! Although she wears a dress every now and again, Evelyn has already figured out that it’s more fun to jump in muddy puddles wearing a T-shirt, leggings and rain boots……. After looking through the book, it occurs to me that perhaps I should work on my illustration skills and do my own pictures for a book of poetry.

    • Your own pictures for a book of poetry for Evelyn sounds like a wonderful idea, Wendy!

      I enjoy poetry with my grandkids, too. They’re in a group of home-schooled children who get together a couple times a month (moms and kids) to read poetry to each other — and also have snacks and fun. I have gotten to attend a few of these sessions and was delighted. Following the pandemic, they’ll be starting up again.

      The poetry books these kids share at the get-togethers are contemporary, and almost all books are from the library. I am amazed at the scope of these books. Hooray for diversity!

      Thanks for sharing, Wendy. Have fun with your puddle-jumper!



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