One of the most vivid memories from my childhood is when each evening, our babysitter would tell us stories of mysterious creatures from faraway lands. Growing up, those memories played a huge role in shaping me. They also set me up for further exploration through reading.

Research states that we’re wired for storytelling. Good storytelling teaches life skills, builds emotional intelligence and creativity in children. Not just that, it also helps with their language skills and connecting with their own roots and culture.

As a parent, it can be tough to find good books for your children. There are literally millions of books out there and any parent would agree how hard it is to sift through them all. So how do you find a “good” book? The best way to know a good book from a not-so-good one is to keep your child’s interest in mind. For starters, a good book is never going to be boring.

1. Ask the experts

Experts, who? Your children! Ask them what they enjoyed about a book they read. They are the best children’s book critic you’ll ever find.

Make a note of books that bring them a sense of joy, no matter whether the plot is too simple or twisted, and the type of characters they can relate with.

A good practice could be to ask them share three key lessons they learned from every book they read.

2. Let them reject

You can always share the books you loved as a child with your children. But remember, it is not about you. Let them reject books they don’t enjoy (they can make a decision by just looking at the cover).

Don’t force them to read something they have already rejected. The more often you take them to the library, the more they want to pick books for themselves. Let them.

3. Don’t reject books rich in vocab

There will be times you’re worried whether a book is too challenging for your child. If it is classified in the right age group, still pick it and see how your child responds to it. Children learn new words through exposure and by making connections through reading.

4. Use best-seller lists

If you’re stuck, try books from a best-seller list. Here are some good ones to keep your kids considerably busy for a long time:

1. The NEA’s Top 100 Kid’s Books
2. The NEA List of Top 100 Teacher’s Picks
3. New York Times Best-Sellers Children’s Picture Books
4. New York Times Best-Sellers Children’s Middle-Grade
5. New York Times Best-Sellers Young-Adult

5. Use an online library

If you’re concerned about the content of books your child is reading or want to be sure your fifth grader didn’t pick the next Game of Thrones, try online tools such as Library Thing, BookBub, BookGorilla and The Fussy Librarian, that let you choose types of books by preferences on profanity, sex and violence for your kid’s account.

There you have 5 easy ways to find great children’s books. Have a sixth way to pick up good books? Tells us in the comments below!

Want more great books for your child? Try 15 Children’s Books Best Read on an iPad.

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