This is a list of resources that may be helpful to people who are looking for specific books that may not be listed here. Some are specifically geared to people who are trying to find books and others are lists, catalogues, or databases of books with descriptions and the options to search for specific ones. If anyone knows of a resource that I haven’t included yet, let me know, and I’ll add it! As always, this is a work in progress.
Sometimes, you can find what you’re looking for just by doing a keyword search and reading the product descriptions. The downside is that not every book has a product description or a review written in enough detail to let you know whether it’s the one you’re thinking of or not. However, there are places where you can ask questions about products or ask someone who has placed a review for more details.
People can give reviews and ratings for books they have read (both adults and children), and many of them have descriptions of the plots. You can search for an individual book or browse by category. In many cases, there are pages which list books in a series, and some people have made lists of books in a particular category, such as children’s books from specific decades. The downside is that some older books or lesser-known ones may not have descriptions because no one has entered one yet.
This site has descriptions for adult, young adult, and children’s books. It’s an extensive collection with a search feature to help you locate specific books under various categories and links to places where you can buy the books.
Other People’s Blogs
There are many blogs dedicated to children’s literature! These are some that I particularly liked.
This blog hasn’t be active since 2017, but it has some nice entries about vintage books that I don’t have and haven’t read.
The owner of this blog works in the English Department at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, specializing in Children’s Literature and Early Canadian Literature. Her blog is organized alphabetically with special attention to age and reading level and with a few special articles about teaching. It has more modern ones than I typically include, but also some older ones.
Books on Specific Topics
If you’re looking for a very specific kind of book, there may be a site already dedicated to that topic. For books from a specific decade, see the resources listed under each decade in the Books By Decade section. You can find lists of books on different themes and topics that are described on this site under the Book Lists section. Some of my special topics lists also have links to additional resources.
Because my site is geared specifically for nostalgic books that are at least 10 years old, it’s going to be awhile before any of these end up on this site. The article was written in 2015. If the book you’re looking for is a relatively recent mystery, you might try here.
It is exactly what it sounds like! The goal, as explained on the site, is to find and catalogue 1000 books with black girls as main characters. As of this writing, it is still a work in progress. However, if you are looking for a book with a black girl as a main character, this is the place to go! They also take suggestions and donations.
This is for books of the Choose Your Own Adventure variety, where readers make the choices about what characters in the story should do and the endings differ depending on the choices that the readers make. The site lists different series and individual books within series.
This is the best list of Little Golden Books I’ve seen so far. It’s in alphabetical order, and if you click on individual titles, there are descriptions and cover pictures. If you can’t find a Golden Book you’re looking for here, you might also consider looking at printed books. There are guides to Golden Books written for collectors.
As the title suggests, most of the series described at this site are girls’ series, but there are some series aimed at boys as well. They are all “vintage” books (roughly mid-20th century and earlier), and there are many Stratemeyer series here. There is also a blog connected with this site.
The Stratemeyer Syndicate produced many children’s series over the course of decades, including some that people might not know were Stratemeyer books. If what you’re looking for was an adventure or mystery story that was part of a series, especially if it might have been published prior to 1980, you might consider if it could have been one of these.
Read Books Online
This is mainly for books old enough to be in the public domain, but there are some places where you can even read non-public domain books.
“A non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.” It’s free to use, but it requires you to sign up for an account. It has more than just public domain books. Various organizations, such as libraries and book-selling companies, have donated scanned copies of many books and also various audio recordings, some software (such as old computer games), and other materials. There is even help for users with print disabilities. Patrons may borrow up to 5 items at a time, and books can be borrowed for up to 14 days, with the option to renew. When your time is up, the book simply disappears from your list of loans, so there are no late fees. You can also turn in books early if you’re done with them and want to get something else. Patrons can also place holds on books which are currently being loaned.
Provides free e-books of books that are in the public domain. Some of the older vintage series described on my site are here. There is no need to sign up for an account. E-books are available in multiple formats.
This is a collection of public domain works, especially those about religion and folklore. Most of it isn’t for children, but some of the folktales and fairy tales overlap with children’s literature. For example, they have a complete collection of the Lang Fairy Books (also known as the Color Fairy Books because of the titles). There is no need to sign up for an account, you can simply read the texts in the page.
An online collection of public domain works by the University of South Florida. The description on the main page states:
“Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages. Many of the passages also have a related reading strategy identified. Each reading passage can also be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or as supplemental reading material for your classroom. “
The collection contains more than children’s literature and is free for the public to use. You can listen to the audio version of a book while reading the text version of a book in your browser at the same time. You can search for books by author, title, genre (broad categories such as mystery, adventure, fantasy, and horror), collection (shows specific topics such as African-American Literature, The Princess Collection for stories about princesses, or specific series such as the Oz books or the Lang Fairy Books), or reading difficulty according to the Flesch-Kincaid grade level system.
Searching Tips and Help
Some of these are ones I’ve already listed at the bottom of the main blog page.
An online forum where people make inquiries for specific books, using details that they remember.
You can look for a book through Google Books. It will look for the keywords you provide in book descriptions and return suggestions.
A guide with search tips and additional resources.
A place where you can post inquiries for books you’re looking for along with some search tips.
For a small fee, you can submit a description of a book you’re looking for to see if the bookstore employees or other readers of their blog recognize it and can tell you the title. For free, you can read descriptions that others have sent in to see if there’s something that you recognize.
Offers suggestions for search strategies and additional resources.
Resources for Teachers
These sites are specifically geared to help teachers to select books and plan activities.
Has descriptions of recommended mystery books of all levels, fiction and nonfiction (some of them are also covered on this site) plus suggestions for related activities.
History of Children’s Literature
An article about the earliest children’s literature.
Thoughts About Children’s Literature
Our favorite books when we were young don’t lose their appeal as we get older. In fact, many adults still love to read good children’s books. Why? I talk about it somewhat in my About page, but these people have some inspiring thoughts about children’s literature.
Tips About Reading to Children
When you read vintage children’s books, which can be fun and exciting, you do sometimes run into the problem of books using racial terms or stereotypes which are no longer acceptable in modern society. So are these books really that bad, and if so, what do you do about it? This article takes a look at the degrees of racial issues in older books and how to talk to children about issues that they encounter in stories.
One of the issues that I think is important is remembering that books, like people, have both good sides and bad sides. Some are more likeable or more helpful than others, but to really know them as whole people, you have to look at their individual points, both good and bad. For example, it’s okay to say that you liked a story for being exciting but that you didn’t like the way that some of the characters talked or acted. You can have mixed feelings about books and fictional characters, just like you can about real people (ex. “He’s fun to be with but kind of a flake” or “She’s a hard worker but not easy to get along with”). The good points don’t make the bad points less bad, and the bad points don’t make the good points less good, but it’s important to acknowledge that both exist. How much there are of each tells you whether you want to read the book again, kind of like how a person’s good and bad traits tell you whether you want to hang out with them or work with them again. I think that acknowledging those mixed feelings and seeing that it’s okay to have them can help children gain wisdom, maturity, and greater decision-making skills. Some people are different from others, but that’s okay. Some people don’t behave as well as others, but we can handle that. In the end, we make up our own minds about who we will be and how we will behave.