Check It Out: Finding the right book

How do you find a good book to read? Ask a friend for a recommendation? Look up bestseller lists online? Visit a bookstore? Scan the books on the library shelves? At the Newport Beach Public Library, we love to recommend books! Let us help you find the next best thing.

You can always ask a librarian to recommend a good book (and please, ask us), but we have also developed online tools that make finding books easier than ever before. On our website, you'll find book recommendations for children's books at For teen book recommendations, visit All of the lists on these websites either link directly to our library catalog or will take you to a printable PDF list.

Each list has been compiled by librarians who have extensive knowledge of classic literature, current reading trends and an all-around good sense of what makes a book appealing. The lists include books for specific grade levels, genre fiction, picture books, DVDs and CDs, nonfiction and biographies.

Maybe you have just read a fantastic book and want to find something similar. Check out our "Readalike" lists that will help you find books similar to many popular favorites. One of the most sought-after series has been the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books by Jeff Kinney. Our "If You Like…Diary of a Wimpy Kid" booklist will lead readers to fun new quirky characters who, like Greg Heffley, the narrator of the "Wimpy Kid" books, find themselves in outlandish but relatable situations.

Most teen readers have read the popular "Hunger Games" series by Suzanne Collins. The teen list "Future and Apocalypse" will lead you other action-packed worlds where brave characters defy the odds and overcome great obstacles. These dystopian titles can spark conversations about society, government, politics and many other relevant social issues.

Books are a great way to teach lessons. On our Children's page, find books to help kids with difficult issues such as bullying or divorce. Also included are other relevant topics such as welcoming a new sibling or visiting the doctor. Want help teaching kids good manners, self-esteem, honesty or courage? Let our character-building recommendations help.

Not to be forgotten are award-winning books. Children's book awards such as the Caldecott and Newbery have been around for many years. These books, both old and new, offer children a preview of the excellence to be found in literature. Teen readers can find information about National Book Award winners, Carnegie Medal winners, Michael L. Printz winners and many others.

Another resource for good books is the fiction database, Novelist. Novelist K-8 specifically showcases titles for young readers. You can search for specific books or peruse the recommended reading lists. All books listed include appeal terms to help you find similar books, ratings and professional reviews. The search functions can be limited by age range, so you are sure to find age-appropriate materials. Novelist also includes book discussion questions and resources for teachers.

This is just a sampling of the booklists that are available. Please visit the Newport Beach library in person or online to find that next perfect book.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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