Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Months

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Where and How to Get Helpclick to print Print

Written by: Joyce Bainbridge, University of Alberta

Libraries, librarians, websites, books for parents, and staff at bookstores are excellent sources of information about quality children's literature. They will provide guidance in helping you to locate books on a variety of topics of interest to young children and they can identify the books appropriate for children at different developmental levels. Nothing beats the pleasure of browsing in your local bookstore's children section or library to experience firsthand what books are available.

Local Libraries

Most public libraries have a large collection of children's materials and their librarians are an excellent resource for locating appropriate materials for your child. Librarians are experienced in knowing books and knowing readers – that means they know what questions to ask you about your child's age, interests, and the kinds of books in which your child has expressed interest over the immediate past.

Children's libraries organize picture story books in alphabetical order of the author's surname. Information books are organized according to topic; alphabet books, concept books (big/little, etc.), and nursery rhymes are often shelved separately. The books are shelved in low units so that children can reach them and make selections. The children's section of the public library usually contains small tables and chairs for your child to use when browsing or 'reading' interesting books they have located.

Libraries often offer programs aimed at very young children: Baby Lap Time, Time for Twos, and so forth; it is worth checking to see what is available at your branch.


When you are searching for information about a specific book or when you are looking for new book titles, there are many web resources you can turn to. Here are a few of them. This list does not include publishers' websites:

  • Kidsspace, Toronto Public Library. Available:

  • Vandergrift's special interest page (Kay Vandergrift). Available:

  • Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site. Available:

  • The New York Public Library. Available:

  • Canadian Review of Materials, The Manitoba Library Association. Available:

  • Children's Picture Book Database at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Available:
  • EEG Publishing

  • Children's Picture Books with Librarians and Libraries: An Annotated Bibliography. Matthew Z. Heintzelman, School of Library and Information Science, University of Iowa. Available:

Books for Parents

Butler, D. (1998). Babies need books: Sharing the joy of books with children from birth to six. (Revised Edition). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1998.
New Zealand writer Dorothy Butler has developed a valuable resource for parents, caregivers, educators, and librarians. This volume contains a chapter for each year between birth and age five, with extensive annotated book lists. Guidelines for selecting appropriate books are accompanied by drawings from children's book illustrator Shirley Hughes. Supplementary book lists, arranged by approximate age appropriateness, are included in an appendix.

McCabe, A. (1992). Language games to play with your child: Enhancing communication from infancy through late childhood (New and rev. ed.). New York: Insight Books.
Allyssa McCabe is a developmental psychologist and recognized authority in language development. In this book she provides over one hundred interactive language games specifically designed to encourage and foster language acquisition and communication abilities in young children.

Bainbridge, J. (2009). Children's Literature 0 – 60 Months: Where And How To Get Help. In L.M. Phillips (Ed.), Handbook of language and literacy development: A Roadmap from 0 – 60 Months. [online], p. 1-2. London, ON: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. Available at: Handbook of language and literacy development