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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

How To Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo

We all know the studies - reading to your children is one of the most important things we can do as parents.

How To Raise A Reader helps parents and caregivers to foster a lifelong love of books in our younger generation.

Written by Pamela Paul, who oversees all book coverage at The New York Times, and Maria Russo, the Time's children's book editor, How To Raise a Reader combines wisdom, practical inspiration, tips, lists, and insider know-how to give you the tools to instill a time-stopping love of reading.

The book is helpfully divided into sections that correspond with children's ages, not surprisingly starting from birth.

The authors debunk some common myths and provide simple, easy to understand information about the things we hear so often - yes, babies really do need books and why bedtime rituals are important.

As well as the basics, the authors also list what to look out for in books - those tips and tricks you can often overlook, as well as things to be wary of when choosing a book.

The pair cover a lot and all of the advice is very practical. I loved some of the headings (anyone who has had to read to children has experienced this one: 'It's Okay to Hate Some Children's Books').

At the end of each age group, a simple list of 'book picks' helps adults choose some wonderful examples of books.

The books they choose are all perfectly pitched to the right age group and make a fantastic guide for adults wanting to buy a book as a present. As well as the title and author, a brief description of each book is included, as well as why it appeals.

Not unsurprisingly the lists are very American themed, you won't find a New Zealand book on the list. However, the lists included can help you discover your own similar Kiwi alternatives, and as it states, the local librarian is your friend.

Some adults aren't readers and it is common for new parents to be a bit self conscious about reading to their children. Fortunately, this book does offer you some practical advice. Reading aloud can be a big learning curve so it was wonderful to see a small section about reading aloud and what a joy it can be. So to was advice about putting your own emotions about reading to one side - not all of us are readers but it's important our children remain excited about reading.

The book covers independent readers too, right up to the teenage years. While the junior years were predominately about picture books, it was great to see poetry, series, audiobooks and graphic novels included. The well-known 'Harry Potter' slump is also tackled, with some great suggestions on what else could grace the bookshelves.

The final chapter is an even larger book list, broken into theme and then reading level. There is a diverse range of book offered up, in regards to author, theme, era and medium. There are plenty of books on the list to add to even the most voracious bookworm's to-be-read pile.

How To Raise a Reader is an invaluable reference book and one that will help inspire a love of reading into every family.

Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

Workman, RRP $49.99


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