"I like this book. What else do you have like this?"
"This series was great, but I have finished reading all the books in it. What else do you have like that?"
"Who is someone who writes kind of like this author?"
It's a fancy way of dressing up we do on a daily basis, which is matching books to readers. As librarians, most of us rely on our own knowledge of literature to guide students toward (or away from, as the case may be) books and series of books that they might enjoy. As awesome as our brains are :) we should also take full advantage of these digital literature mapping tools. Besides, we might learn a thing or two about similarities and differences between authors and book styles!
1. Gnooks is a pretty simple website where all you (or teachers...or the students themselves!) do is type an author's name into the "Map of Literature" box, and suddenly your screen will fill with a swirling circle of other authors as they relate to the individual you have searched. The names in close proximity to your person (whose name will show in the center) are the writers whose styles most closely resemble the author desired. (*Side note: I had no idea that Maya Angelou and Mark Twain had such similar writing styles! But now that I think about it...)
**Great for middle and high school levels, but easily used in upper elementary. This would be a very cool computer lab activity!
2. Scholastic Book Wizard is a tool that permits readers to search the "Book Alike" box by adjusting to the child's current reading level (or shifting along the continuum for a harder or easier book, as it applies) and typing in the title of the book he or she enjoyed. Boom! There is a list of current, popular titles that match student's interest. (*Scholastic Book Wizard has a widget tool you can embed onto your library OPAC site or your school's website. Look for it on the homepage...and view it on the sidebar here to see how the widget works.)
**Great for elementary level.
What other tools do you use to help students grow to enjoy literature?