What Makes for a Great Children's Book, Really? | Sol Book Box

2022-08-02

What Makes for a Great Children's Book, Really?

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Remember when you were little and how certain children’s books transported you to a whole new world and made your imagination run wild? What an incredible feeling! So incredible, in fact, that it’s well worth trying to recreate that feeling in your own child.

Here at Sol Book Box, our team spends a lot of time thinking about how powerful books are, and how meaningful it is when children discover books they want to read over and over again. And let’s not forget how good parents feel when they witness their child develop a particular fondness for an author, illustrator, series, and/or book.

If you’re a parent invested in curating a diverse and engaging collection of children’s books for your little bookworm, you may be wondering what to look for when it comes to buying children’s books. Whether you decide to shop online or in-store, you’re guaranteed to find an immense selection of titles. Sure, you can narrow your search by filtering the results by subject, by author, by language, and even by reading level (board books for pre-readers or picture books for beginning readers, for example) but it can still seem difficult or downright overwhelming to find a book that you’re confident your child will not only enjoy, but also treasure.

If you’re on a mission to find the best children’s books, we’re delighted that you’re here because in this blog post, we’re going to attempt to answer this question: what makes for a great children’s book?

What To Look For:

Memorable Characters

A great children’s book should contain characters that are unique in their own way—their name, how they dress, or how they speak, for example. If you find a book in which the main character is a witch who likes to breakdance and tell silly jokes, your child may get a huge kick out of this witch, especially because she breaks the mold in that she’s not a scary old witch stirring her witch’s brew.

Another way characters can be memorable is by being relatable. If your child opens a book and meets a character who aspires to be a magician and your child loves magic, there’s a strong likelihood that your child is going to take to this book and perhaps even feel empowered to start learning some magic tricks outside of their time spent reading.

Other memorable characters are those that are personified—this means that the author has given a nonhuman character one or more human characteristics. Here’s an example: a story about a popsicle and an ice cream cone coming up with a plan to get out of the sun before they melt.

Attention-Grabbing Plot

Children love adventures, and some of the most successful children’s book authors do an excellent job of establishing plots that encourage children to root for the characters and to try to figure out what’s going to happen next. An example of an attention-grabbing plot? A dog named Lickity has lost his favorite chew toy. Lickity goes on a big adventure through his town trying to find the toy, stopping along the way to get belly rubs and treats from his favorite friends and neighbors. Inevitably, Lickity gets super dirty, almost doesn’t make it home in time for dinner, and, in a surprise twist at the end of the book, he finds his chew toy hiding under his owner’s bed! Simply put, an attention-grabbing plot will make your child feel excited to turn each and every page.

Emotive Content

Let’s return to the example above—to the book about the dog who has lost his favorite chew toy. We discussed the power of plot, and now we want to discuss the significance of emotions. In the same way a great movie can make you laugh, cry, and experience a wide range of emotions, a great book has the ability to do the same. It’s a good thing if your child is laughing at the silly dog’s obsession with his toy, crying when they get worried the dog might get in trouble for getting so dirty, and then feeling relieved when the story concludes with a happy ending. The more emotions that a book can elicit from your young reader, the more the book will resonate.

Stunning Illustrations

When it comes to children’s books, illustrations are just as relevant as the words. It’s amazing how enamored children can become by illustrations—and rightly so! Illustrations, after all, help your child make sense of the book’s contents and help them get to know and better understand the characters and the settings.

By the way, a prestigious award called the Caldecott Medal gets awarded annually to children’s book illustrators. You can find the list of the Caldecott Medal winners and the honorees online; this list would be a fantastic reference in terms of finding wonderfully illustrated books that are sure to delight your child.

Meaningful Values

A great book can teach your child values and lessons, such as reinforcing the need to be kind to everyone no matter what they look like or where they come from. When you’re searching for a great children’s book, try to find one that strives to leave a lasting moral impression. A great children’s book can help your child recognize that they are capable of making good or bad decisions, and it’s always rewarding to make good ones.

Cultural Awareness

The world is a beautifully diverse place. Children’s books that celebrate diversity and different cultures can help your child recognize that every person they encounter is unique—and that’s a beautiful thing! The more open-minded your child is, the more accepting they’ll be toward others and the more appreciative they will feel about their own culture and heritage.

Here at Sol Book Box, we take great pride in delivering Spanish and bilingual children’s books that we consider to be truly exceptional—books that meet our high standards and check all of the above boxes. Our monthly selections cover topics such as inclusivity, multi-cultural representation, and eco-consciousness. They’re well-written, beautifully illustrated, and perfect for parents who want to raise a bilingual child. Best of all, you can buy books individually or subscribe to one of our monthly book boxes. No matter your preference, you can rest assured that our selection has been carefully curated, reviewed, and approved by not only our team, but also many happy young readers.

May you find many great children’s books that take your child on one magical journey after another and may your child’s bookshelf be populated with books they’re thrilled to own.