I promise you it is more than picking a book with a great cover (although that does help). So let’s step into how we select fantastic children's books each month for Be Curious Books.
1. The Cover
I'm going to get this one out of the way first. We all know the saying "don't judge a book by the cover......." But let's face it, we all do. The cover is what draws us to pick the book up. The illustrations give a sense of what the book will be about, the genre, characters, and target audience. The cover is the main marketing tool that publishers use to get the book into the hands of readers. Each cover is a beautiful work of art. The Australian Book Design Awards 2021 showcase some of the amazing children's book cover designs in Australia over the past year.
Image: Collection of book covers we love at Be Curious Books
2. From Our Favourite Publishers
There are a handful of publishers who get it right time and time again. We have a shortlist of publishers that we know rarely put a foot wrong when it comes to quality children's publishing. We search the globe to ensure that we are offering different options to our readers. Some of our favourites include Book Island UK, Red Paper Kite, Affirm Press, Gecko Press, Chicken House Books, University of Queensland Press plus many more.
3. Written By An Author We Love
We keep an eye on our favourite authors so that we don't miss any of their new releases. These include Jennifer Bell, M.G. Leonard, Renee Treml, Peter Carnavas, Allison Rushby, Sam Usher, Marianne Dubuc, Gus Gordon to name a few. We are always on the lookout for a new author. We are always reading and the list of our favourites continues to grow.
4. Read A Sample
If we are contemplating a new book and so far the cover, author, and publisher all look positive we read a sample. What better way to review a book than by actually reading it. If we are happy with the writing, the strength of characters, storyline, and themes are age appropriate then it goes to the next review stage.
5. Our Book Testers Read It.
In the case of Explorers' and Intrigue Club books, the two chief testers are my son (4 years old) and daughter (7 years old). If they love it then we will add it to the book selection for the month. For the Curiosity Club, we have several older testers who we run the selections by to check that it is a book that would appeal to them.
Image: Rigorous book testing in progress - Be Curious Books 2021
6. No Themes Here
We do not search for great kids reads based on a monthly theme. This is for several reasons. We always want to make sure that we pick the best kid's books available at the time. We also think kids need variety and interest in the books they read and three books on the same topic are going to be a little dull. When we are selecting our books the enjoyment that comes from the reading is greater than what it is about.
7. Go With Our Gut (and years of experience)
After years of working amongst kid's books and seeing what kids are reading you get to know which books will be hits (and which will be misses).
8. Is It What Our Readers Want?
The only way we are going to know the answer to this is to ask. So what children's books would you like to read? What would you like to see more of (or less)? Who are your favourite authors? What are your favourite reads? Let us know by commenting below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org we are always open to suggestions.
Our books are rarely going to be mass-market publications or found in your nearest discount department store. We are looking for titles that are unique, amazing, and may not be available to you through the normal retail channels.
So how do we know the books we select are amazing? because we read and read and read some more. We will only select books that we have read to ensure the greatest entertainment.
We search globally for our selections. We select a mix of new release titles and past publications which have excellent stories that deserve to be enjoyed.
As a mum, librarian, and bookseller I have many years of experience finding your kid's next read.