How to Find Good Books, Part 1

One of our favorite things about summer's longer, less-structured days is all the time we can spend reading. To make the most of the time, I'm "calling ahead" by pre-ordering a bunch of books from our local library using the handy online order form, something that's available in most public library systems. Today my focus is geography books. Well enough. But how do you know which geography books to order? Especially for kids that range widely in grade and reading level? So glad you asked. My favorite online bookfinder tool resides at It’s a searchable database of “living books” (the sort that “make a subject come alive”). If you don't know about Charlotte Mason, my favorite intro to her education innovations is Karen Adreola's Charlotte Mason Companion, a fine way to kick off your own summer reading!

It's a little tricky to find this bookbinder since it doesn't have a unique URL. To make it easier, I took a screenshot so you can see where the link is. CM-bookfinder

It's circled in red. Handy, huh? Once you click that link, this is what you'll see.


If you're looking for titles by your favorite author, just type his name in the text box (where the red arrow is). If you want to search for books appropriate for certain grades, use the grade selector(s) (circled in blue), and if, like me, you like to search by subjects, select the subject area you want. Today I was looking for books about geography. I wanted titles for all our kids (ranging from Pre-K through 8th grade) so I simply clicked the "geography" category (circled in green) with no set grade range. The site generated 14 pages of book results. More than enough to choose from. Many are available from our local library. A few that looked especially good aren't, but I was able to find them affordably on our favorite used book website,

Next time I'll talk about one of my favorite offline ways to find good books: books of books.