Continuing from our previous guest post by Bev Novak: a list of great tools that help students find books to suit them.
A simple but terrific site is What should I read next? Start typing the title or the author of a book you like and select the link that comes up to see heaps of suggested titles to read next. By selecting the little book icon next to the book title, the screen flips to Amazon where it’s possible to read reviews of the book prior to purchasing or searching for the book in your favourite library.
Maybe students would prefer locking into a social networking site such as You are what you read? Find out what others are reading – celebrities, authors, educators or librarians – by creating and sharing a ‘bookprint’ based on your five favourite books. See which books have been listed and liked the most. Search by book titles or people’s names and see others who have similar reading interests as the reader you are browsing. Alternately select a book cover to read more about it and then identify it as one of your favourites.
I also came across whichbook – a tool which allows you to find that elusive book to suit your tastes. Have fun playing with descriptors which help narrow down a book that fits with your taste or mood. Select descriptors such as ‘happy or sad’, ‘funny or serious’, ‘easy or demanding’ , ‘optimistic or bleak’ and then move the indicator tab to reflect how happy or sad you want the book to be, select GO and voila, book recommendations flow onto the screen. Not interested in creating your own book list? No worries! Just select anyone of the catchy categories such as ‘Slapstick’, ‘Short and sweet’, ‘Laugh your pants off’, ‘Weird and wonderful’ to see prepared recommendation lists. You’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy!
Literature Map is another cool way to help put your hands on a next good read. To use, just type in the name of an author you enjoy reading and then watch a bunch of author names spiral onto the screen. The closer the names, the more similar the writers. It’s a great way to prod the memory for ‘like’ authors. And don’t be shy – add authors not already in the database so that the many quality Australian authors get recognized on this great website.
Use these websites and tools to entertain, impress, excite and entice students about the wealth of literature that is just waiting to be read. Answer students’ requests by not only recommending a good book that you’re pretty sure they’ll like, but by teaching them how to use these sites to find the next good book for themselves. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Currently working as a Teacher Librarian at Mentone Grammar, Bev Novak is former Head of Library of two other Independent Schools in Melbourne. You can read more of Bev’s posts about books and reading on BevsBookBlog.