For the Love of Reading: Books to Build Lifelong Readers


208 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 1-55143-281-1
DDC 011.62




Reviewed by Marcia Sweet

Marcia Sweet, former editor of the Queen’s Quarterly, is a freelance


For the Love of Reading is a bibliography of good books to encourage
children to become avid readers. David Bouchard, the lead writer, is a
children’s author who wrote The Gift of Reading. Bouchard’s
co-writers are three experienced literacy professionals—librarians and

The text of the book is useful, the writing usually good. The titles
are well known to the authors. The annotations, especially Sally
Bender’s, provide rich insight into the plots and lessons of the
books. Canadian works are highlighted. The inclusion by Lucie
Poulin-Mackey of books for children in French immersion will be helpful
to parents who didn’t grow up in a French culture.

The criteria for inclusion are not stated. Some authors cite recognized
criteria, such as the quality of the illustrations. Anne Letain talks
incisively about the developmental suitability of books for particular
age groups. Unfortunately, the ability of a book “to bring a tear to
your eye” is highly rated.

The book is aimed at “those who already understand the importance of
reading to and with our children.” This includes school librarians and
administrators. Aiming for a more limited readership would have produced
a less confusing work.

The book’s introduction is long, repetitive, and redundant. From
Chapter 1—mystifyingly titled “Pre-Conception to Two”—each
author lists his or her favourite books and describes their plots and
value. “Dos and Don’ts” is a grab bag of tips on furthering
children’s reading interest.

The book’s aim, to help readers “compile a collection” of their
own, is based on the authors’ personal and professional biases. Only
incidentally are people encouraged to borrow books at a library or to
read literature outside the book. Here, “finding a book” means
buying a book. Advice to assemble a collection will strike many parents
as difficult, expensive, and elitist.

While For the Love of Reading largely succeeds in identifying books
that will interest children, the hectoring tone and lack of focus are
irritating. More information about available services, such as Internet
sites for downloading stories, which contribute to making children more
literate, would be welcome. Limiting the advice to buying books is just


Bouchard, David, et al., “For the Love of Reading: Books to Build Lifelong Readers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024,