Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 12 August 2022

Where do we go for book recommendations?

This week’s post focuses on finding good books — Felicity Sly shares some strategies and sources to help you find the next best read — for children and yourself!

Image used with permission
© Hobart Bookshop

In the past the first stop for most readers looking for their next read was to make a visit to their school library staff, their local bookseller or their state library staff. But in the digital age this process seems to have migrated online.

I belong to a couple of facebook communities that focus on all things books…and when I say ‘all things books’ I’m referring to a diversity of topics: the personal library, the reading room/corner, the TBR (to be read) pile, the DNF (did not finish) titles, tools/apps for recording titles of the library/books read, the number of books owned, the number of books purchased for the least financial outlay. It’s a competitive world in the digital arena.  

There are frequent posts along the lines of: what’s all the hype about [insert title of popular book]; I’m ‘x’ way towards meeting my reading challenge of ‘y’ books this year; how do I increase the speed at which I read?; Why does anyone want to read fiction/genre/non fiction; How many books are too many to read concurrently?…and on it goes.

I am dismayed by the posts: asking for recommendations of books for children and tweens, when anyone in facebook land makes suggestions, many of which are wildly inappropriate for the age group mentioned; when the asker is compiling a ‘reading list’ for their child. How I would love to steer these information seekers to the safety of their school library, their local bookseller, their state library – but too many of these locations have either been shut down, have reduced staff number to unmanageable levels; and to suggest that a child should have autonomy over most of their reading list.

There seem to be an increasing number or creators asking for feedback: on their manuscripts; cover art; content to write.

So where do we go for book recommendations?

I work on the theory of three. If I see a title mentioned three times, I check it out, especially if I’ve seen it in a variety of sources.

If the person is enthusiastic about what they have read, then I’m interested to learn more.

I follow Booksellers on facebook or subscribe to their email lists. These reviews and recommendations are usually high quality.


Below are just some of the many websites devoted to great reads and popular vote books:

CBCA Notables; Reading Time; Better Reading; Yabba Awards; BILBY; APS Children’s Peace Literature Award

Children's Book Council of Australia.
CBCA Book Awards Notables List 2022

For adults: Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales recommendations in the Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast are usually great reads.

And tucked away on the Libraries Tasmania website under What’s New is  the New Lending Arrivals and Good Reads page, with links to Which Book, What Shall I Read Next, Literature-Map and Fantastic Fiction. I say ‘tucked away’ because you need to scroll down to find What’s New.

Don’t forget the 2022 CBCA Awards announcements:

Noon August 19 the CBCA Book of the Year Award winners will be announced.

Noon August 26th Shadow Judging Vote will be announced. This SUN Shadow Judging Project was detailed in the May 13 blog.

Please share in the Comments section where you go to find your next read.

Felicity Sly is a Teacher Librarian at Don College in Devonport.


  1. I follow several blogs and Facebook pages and also use my friends readings recorded in Goodreads. But nothing beats browsing the shelve in a bookshop, especially when the staff tack their reviews and ratings on the shelves with the books!

  2. I also check out the Speech Pathology Australia Book Awards and the Prime Ministers Literary Awards