The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

My daughter has a future date with The Graveyard Book.

As you may have inferred from previous posts, I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman, so it’s not that surprising that my shelf of “Books My Kid Will Read in the Future” has more than a few Gaiman titles sprinkled throughout. But the Gaiman book that I really want my daughter to start with and embrace, once she starts exploring the ever-growing shelf of titles intended for her future self, is The Graveyard Book.

And there are many reasons why any parent would want their child to read The Graveyard Book. It’s a wonderfully-told tale, one of the few books that I’m legitimately evangelical about. (“Every single person who’s read it on my recommendation has thanked me profusely afterwards,” he said with a painfully swollen head.) It’s a multiple award-winning title, receiving both the Newbery and Carnegie Medals (which is kind of a big deal). It’s just a very, very moving book for me – to the point where I don’t even feel up to writing one of my typical 2,000-word rants about it. Smarter people than I have written some really beautiful odes to The Graveyard Book, and I have this sneaking suspicion that I just can’t do it justice, which is probably a safe assumption.

I’ll just let Gaiman explain what the book is about himself:

Doesn’t that sound intriguing? Nobody Owens is this spectacular young boy being raised by ghosts in a graveyard and his maturation and development as a character and as a real, breathing person (amongst dead, non-breathing spirits) really is something to behold. But, if I’m being honest, that’s still not getting to the real heart of the reason why I’m determined to make my child read The Graveyard Book one day.

What’s my reason for pushing The Graveyard Book ? Fair warning: It’s a pretty dumb reason. [read the rest of the post…]


John K King Books

Hopefully, your hunt for great used kids books will take you to amazing stores like this one.

Since I started Building a Library, I’ve probably gotten the most questions from friends and family about how to find great used books for their kids’ home library. Because finding new books is relatively easy. There are magazine reviews and display racks at Target and cartoon/toy tie-ins that can usually point you towards at least some new children’s titles and, often times, those titles might even be halfway decent. Bookstore employees and librarians, in particular, pride themselves on highlighting great new children’s titles that have recently landed on their radar, and they’re definitely amazing resources that parents need to take advantage of more often. Simply put, new books have a lot of advocates in their corner.

Finding advocates for used books, on the other hand, is a trickier issue all together. Because the definition of used books can be pretty broad. When you say “used books”, are you just talking finding already-read versions of popular titles that you can buy for cheaper-than-sticker-price? That’s a valid definition, but, usually, when I’m looking for “used books”, I’m looking for books that I can’t find new. Books that are out-of-print, unheralded classics, or even just weird little titles that you would never see at a Barnes & Noble. A good example of this is my well-documented love for the Sesame Street Book Club titles, books that you can only now find via eBay, flea markets, or used bookstores. [read the rest of the post…]