Tell Me What You Really Think: Recommended and Best New Books Explained
Iâ€™m a school librarian (or Library/Media Specialist if youâ€™re feeling 21st Century) and I find these sorts of guides helpful when purchasing books for the schools where I work. School Library Journal has the starred review, so I have my much less authoritative clone.
It seems like lately Iâ€™ve been Recommending and Best New Booking quite a few titles so I wanted to reiterate how I decide to put a book into one of these categories. I also wanted to make it clear that I donâ€™t just slap these monikers on any old thing that shows up in my mailbox. I thought this might help.
I begin by stoking a fire. After itâ€™s roaring, I place my antique metal *Recommended* brand on the flames and wait 20 minutes. Then I turn on my tattoo machine (what, you donâ€™t have one?).
If I intend on buying the book Iâ€™m reviewing to put in one of the libraries where I work, it gets branded “R” as recommended.
After the pain and swelling has subsided, and if I feel a Recommended book has something special that makes it stand above the rest, I tattoo it a *Best New Book*.
The whole process is permanent and very traumatizing.
To review, both *Recommended* and *Best New Books* are titles that I like enough to purchase (and by I, I mean â€œI, with the help of my school library budgetâ€), so if you like my taste, you can be rest assured that Iâ€™m putting my (and by â€œmyâ€ I mean â€œmy school districtâ€™sâ€) money where my mouth is.
(To Image: ‘Pages of a book‘
Filed under: Articles
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
SLJ Blog Network