Are you a kid looking for that next great read to just whisk you away? Or a parent or teacher eager to find those just-right reads for the youth in your life? Boston Public Library's Youth Services team can’t wait to find the perfect book for you! Wondering how we magically match readers with books they’ll love—and what you can do to help? Read on to find out!
Behind the Scenes at Shelf Service
To request personalized recommendations, fill out the BPL’s Shelf Service form. Once you’ve submitted the form, your request will be emailed to a BPL Children’s Librarian with reading interests like yours.
Your librarian will set to work looking at your list of books that you’ve enjoyed, books that you haven’t enjoyed, and any other information that you’ve given us on the Shelf Service form. Remember, the librarian looking at your form knows nothing about you other than what you’ve written. The more details you put on the form, the better we can match your interests!
What Do We Need to Know?
Why Is Key!
It’s great to know that you loved Harry Potter, but it’s much more helpful to know why you liked it. Was it the school story or the fast-paced action? Are you looking for more fantasy books, or would you rather read realistic fiction next? Similarly, if you loved Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson, do you want five more nonfiction books about the Titanic? Or do you want nonfiction books on other topics that also read like a story?
Why Not Is Key Too!
It’s okay to hate a book! (Your librarians have books they can’t stand too!) To make sure that we don’t give you books you dislike, please tell us what books you dislike and why. If you couldn’t get into Percy Jackson, was it the Greek mythology that turned you off? Or do you love Greek mythology but prefer classic stories rather than a modern-day setting?
Mood Matters Too—The Book’s and Yours!
Sometimes you might want to read a sad story, and other times you might want to read something funny. Sometimes you might want action, and other times you might want description. You might want to read a 32-page picture book one day, but prefer a 400-page novel the next. No matter what you tell us that you’ve liked in the past, please take a moment to write about what you want to read next. How challenging should the text be? How descriptive? What mood?
And Finally . . . How Do You Plan to Read This Book?
Some books have sentences just made for reading out loud, while other books take quiet concentration. Do you want to listen to an audiobook? Will an adult be sharing this book with four kids, all different ages? Is this going to be the first book a new reader tackles on their own? We can make suggestions for any situation—just tell us what you need!
Wondering What Other Kids Are Reading Right Now?
In the meantime, enjoy these book lists created by your very own Librarian Julia and inspired by other kids’ Shelf Service requests!
- Digital Download (e-book and e-audio) Recommendations: Magic and Mystery for Transitional/Early Chapter Book and Chapter Book Readers - Boston Public Library
- If You Liked Dragons and Marshmallows - Boston Public Library
- Digital Learning - Science! - Boston Public Library
- Digital Recommendation: Realistic Stories for Middle Grade (and younger YA) Readers - Boston Public Library
- E-Audio Recommendations - Fantasy and Adventures from Middle Grade to YA - Boston Public Library
- Tween and Teen Recommendation: If you like The Selection, School for Good and Evil, and Rick Riordan - Boston Public Library
We hope to hear from you soon!