The Power to Recommend

(or my Library Superpower OR why I read MG books so obsessively)

I like to think that my greatest library superpower is my ability to put the right book in the right hands. It’s a job that I take very seriously. If I ever reach the point where a comment to the effect of, “You always recommend the BEST books Mrs. Whitehead,” gets old, then I need to start doing something else. I really take a lot of pride in this ability.

Recently, one of my ELA teachers — after I passed along Lauren Myracle’s Shine and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars for her reading pleasure — explained my talent to her students in a way that totally made my day:

If you don’t have a book that you are reading and enjoying, then you NEED to go see Mrs. Whitehead. She knows exactly how to find the perfect book that you will love and not be able to put down. I’m telling you — it’s just like she can look into your eyes and see it, then know what book you need!

It’s easy to get distracted by all of the other aspects of our job, the technology, troubleshooting, programs, and day to day library business to the point that we forget that reading and recommending books is still at the heart of our job. We all know that if we’re doing our job, there’s no WAY that we have time to read at work regularly. But then the thought of my kids never seeing me read really bothers me, too. I’m supposed to be their ultimate reading role-model. They’ve got to see me read sometime! I try to keep my current read on my desk (amid everything else that seems to converge on my desk over the course of the day). I let them see it, know what I’m reading, maybe see me read a few pages from time to time, even. But like I said, if I depended on “reading time” during the course of the school day, I’d never even finish a book! So it’s something I commit myself to doing. It’s not always easy, especially when I get into a reading slump. It’s all worth it, though, when I’m able to take that book that I just finished and hand it with confidence to a child that I know won’t be able to put it down.

Here are some of my favorite go-to books to recommend —

For recovering Hunger Games addicts:


Series for girls without too much mature content:


Books for boys:


Edgy reads to hook more mature reluctant readers:


For my mature, YA reading girlies:


For my Sci-Fi/Fantasy lovers:


For those looking for a book that’s not boring:


I’d love for you share your go-to recommendations for your students! I’m working on my to read list for this summer, and it’s going to be a looong list!

2 thoughts on “The Power to Recommend

  1. Wow, trying to narrow down my list to fit in comment section. A few recently read titles that I loved are Sean Griswold’s Head (romance, but not graphic), Water Balloon (family and friend drama for MG), Unearthly (paranormal romance, but not graphic), The Outlaw (action packed for the boys), and I must mention Wonder because it is so perfect. A few standbys that never fail for me Far From You or anything else by Lisa Schroeder for the girls, The Gathering and Hex Hall series for paranormal fans, Red Moon Rising and the First Kill/Vlad Todd series for boys that are too cool for Twilight, The Last Thing I Remember and Tunnels series for boys that love action. I’ll stop myself now:)

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