These are some of the books the manager and buyer for Washington's Politics and Prose children's department like to steer shoppers toward to help reluctant readers become book lovers.
- "Roar and More." By Karla Kuskin Bell (Beginning readers-age 8). First published in 1956, this book -- with animal-based rhymes and lots of potential interaction for a wide range of ages -- still resonates.
- "The Lion and the Mouse." By Jerry Pinkey (4-8). This is a good example of why "you don't ever really graduate from picture books," said Heidi Powell of Politics & Prose bookstore. Even for older readers, picture books can be used to introduce a topic of discussion or enrich a vocabulary.
- "Cat the Cat, Who Is That?" By Mo Willems (4-6). A great book for beginning readers, it helps children make the transition from play to reading as they take on the characters' roles. In "We Are in a Book," also by Mo Willems. (5-8), the characters con you into reading the book straight through a second time.
- "Hi! Fly Guy" books. By Tedd Arnold (5-8). This is a good series for reluctant readers. Using few words, interesting plots, puns and silly drawings, these funny books are hard to put down.
- "Anna Hibiscus." By Atinuke (5-10). Anna lives in urban Africa; each chapter is a self-contained story. Good to read aloud by age 5, but children up to 10 will be enchanted by Anna. Atinuke also wrote a great book geared toward boys called "The No. 1 Car Spotter."
- "Toilet: How It Works." By David Macaulay (6-9). What kid doesn't like potty talk? This book has illustrations that explain how things in the toilet disappear. The author annotates diagrams of the ever-important throne, and the text is easy to understand.
- "The Reluctant Dragon." By Kenneth Grahame (7 and up). In this book, beautifully illustrated by Michael Hague, a boy tries to visit a newly discovered dragon and is surprised that he's so much different than the ones in fairy tales.
- "Battle Bunny." By Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett (7-10). Alex gets a sappy picture book from his grandma for his birthday. He defaces it with hilarious results, changing the sweet "Birthday Bunny" into a "Battle Bunny" on a mission.