How to Choose a “Just Right” Book - MS Summer Reading

A note from Middle School Principal, Ana Fox Chaney: One of my favorite features of summer is the opportunity to read for pleasure. In that spirit, and because this is the perfect time for your children to consider and pick out their own summer reading, 
I am featuring guest writer, our very own celebrity librarian, Jennifer Hubert Swan. Jen's playful guide to choosing a "just right" book - below - is full of jokes but also wisdom. It has a permanent home on the Middle School Summer Reading Letters and Lists page of our library website, which I encourage you to visit early and often this summer. 

by Jennifer Hubert Swan, Middle School Librarian

1. Look at the book. Check out the cover. do you like it? Do you hate it? Does it really matter? Because it's what inside that counts!

2. Pick up the book. Read the back cover. Read the inside flap. Is it about pirates? Yes? Then put it back. No one wants to read a book about pirates. Wait, wait, I’m just kidding!  Maybe you love pirates! Personally, I like books about bunnies and spaceships. But I digress. If you DO want to read about pirates, or whatever else the book is about (hopefully bunnies) then go on to #3
3. Open the book. Open it right to the middle. Stick your nose right in the binding and SNIIIFFFF. Smell that? That’s what imagination smells like. Do you like it? I hope so, because if you don’t, that means you have no imagination. Again, KIDDING. You probably have at least a small imagination. You just need to exercise it by smelling more books.

4. While your nose is in there, DO NOT LICK THE BOOK. Books may smell yummy but they taste TERRIBLE.
5. Flip through the book. Read a few pages. Do you understand all the words? Is there enough white space around the words so they can move around if they want to? Words like space, because without it, it’s very hard for them to grow into stories.
6. How long is the book? Look at the number on the last page (but don’t read the last page because you’ll ruin the surprise) Is it a high number? High numbers are good for when you have a long plane, train or car trip. They are also good for summer camp. Is it a low number? Low numbers are good for the subway, when adults are talking about something boring, or the week before school starts. If you like the number you see on the last page, then go on to #7.
7. Close the book. Look at the cover again. Does the cover look different now that you know more about the book? Do you like it more? Do you like it less? If you like it less, then put it down and pick up another book and repeat steps 1-6 again. If you like it more, then CONGRATULATIONS! You have found a Just Right Book! Hug it like it’s your new best friend. Because it is.