The Children’s Book Council has announced the inaugural Reading Beyond book list, an annotated bibliography for parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians, and others seeking book recommendations for children who read at an advanced level. The list will be updated biennially.
The 75 books featured on the 2017 Reading Beyond list were selected by the ALA-CBC Joint Committee from more than 600 books submitted by publishers and librarians. Titles were evaluated with an eye toward challenging yet age-appropriate content for young readers.
The list represents a variety of genres and formats, and is divided into three categories, with 25 books each: for kindergarten and first graders reading at a third grade level; for second and third graders reading at a fifth grade level; and for fourth and fifth graders reading at a seventh grade level.
Janet Wong and Susan Polos, co-chairs of the ALA-CBC Joint Committee, said in a statement, “The Reading Beyond list celebrates the power of books to lift and expand children’s minds, providing reading experiences beyond levels and limits.” Wong told PW that the list, which was several years in the making, addresses an urgent gap. “The need is clear: there are many resources for struggling and reluctant readers, but very few that recognize the diverse learning needs of advanced readers. Traditionally, advanced readers have been given books that match their reading ability but are out of sync with their interests. As a consequence, for too many of these children, reading has become a dull activity that they try to avoid.”