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Answers to the questions commonly asked related to Recommended Literature: Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Recommended Literature List).
  1. What happened to all the titles that were previously on the Recommended Literature List?

    In 2021, the California Department of Education (CDE) decided to refine the purpose of the Recommended Literature List. The Recommended Literature List used to contain over 8000 titles, which had been compiled since the beginning of the list, in the 1980s. Instead of having such a large database that was continually added to, the CDE decided to annually refresh and update the list to showcase the latest and best in children’s and young adult literature. All previously recommended lists of titles will be available to download.
  2. Do I need to fill in all of the blanks and choose an option in each category before I conduct a search?

    No, this will undoubtedly produce a zero results search. Try searching by a single keyword or category, then if there are too many titles listed in the search results, select the Modify Search button at the bottom of the page and add another category until you obtain the desired number of titles in your search results. To view the annotation, genre, etc. of a single title, click on the title of the book you are interested in, and you will see the full record for that book.

  3. Why does my search return zero results?

    There are several possibilities for a search yielding zero results. There are many titles within the database, but there is not a title for each set of possible criteria in each grade-level span. Try conducting another search with fewer categories or less specific criteria. For best results, use one to three categories per search. The search is an "and" search, which means that only records that match all of the selected categories will be displayed.

  4. Why is there a keyword search or "string" search and not a subject search?

    At this time, we do not have the ability to create a subject search. The "string" search has to exactly match the string of letters existing in the database. If you want to find books about magnets or magnetism, use the keyword magnet, as that will return results of magnet, magnets, and magnetism in the title or annotation. Additionally, you can select “Any of these words” or “All of these words” when searching by title or annotation.
  5. Can I list all of the books on a certain subject area or keyword without having to enter a grade level or author?

    Yes, you can start your search by using one category or keyword; if there are too many results returned by your search, click the Modify Search button on the bottom of the page, add another category, and click the Search button again.

  6. Why does it take so long to conduct a search?

    This may be because of your Internet Service Provider, the speed of your connection, or the number of books that will be returned in your search. A large number of books will take longer to download than a small number of books.

  7. Do I have to know the name of the book or the author's name to search the list?

    No. You can search by the author's first or last name, use a single word in the title, or use a single keyword to search the title or the annotation. A title search looks only in the title field of the database. A keyword search looks in both the title and annotation fields. If you spell the author's name or the keyword incorrectly, the database will not be able to find any titles for your search. You can also search by one to three of the dropdown categories, such as grade-level span, genre, classification, language, culture, curriculum connection, or award.
  8. Why are the books organized by grade-level span instead of by a single grade level?

    The list is organized by grade-level span designations indicating the appropriate audience for a particular title. Grade-level spans are determined by many factors, such as interest level, curriculum connections, and readability level. Titles have been divided into the following grade-level spans: preschool/prekindergarten (Preschool/PreK), kindergarten through grade two (K–2), grades three through five (3–5), grades six through eight (6–8), and grades nine through twelve (9–12).

  9. Can I print out the entire list of titles in the database including the annotations?

    Yes. To download an Excel file of all titles in the database, click Download Titles as Excel at the bottom of any search results page. If you only want to print a single title's full record, click on the title of the book, which will bring you to the record detail page, then print the page.

  10. Can I download the database onto my computer?

    To download an Excel file of all titles in the database, click Download Titles as Excel at the bottom of any search results page.
  11. Is the document available in a printed version?


  12. Why is a title included in the previous Recommended Literature: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, but it is not included here?

    The CDE is annually refreshing the list to showcase the latest and best in children’s and young adult literature. Therefore, each year, new books will be recommended. This does not mean that the previous lists of titles are no longer recommended. You can access previous lists on the CDE’s Recommended Literature List web page.

  13. Can my school or district choose literature that is not on this recommended list?

    Yes, this recommended list is meant to guide local districts in the selections of appropriate literature. Schools and districts may choose literature that is not on this list for a variety of reasons. This list is not intended to restrict the literature choices of districts. Rather, we encourage you to use this list both as a source of titles for the development of local lists for the classroom, school library, and more.
  14. Who selected the books on the list?

    The Recommended Literature List was coordinated by the CDE and developed with the assistance of teachers, teacher librarians and public librarians, administrators, curriculum planners, college professors, and parents. The CDE Recommended Literature: Pre-K-12 Acknowledgments web page lists those involved in this process.

  15. What was the process for selection?

    A standing Recommended Literature List committee discusses and reviews each title included in the database. The committee members for each grade span come to a consensus on each title before it is recommended. Each committee member was selected to serve via a competitive application process and were chosen based on their expertise in children’s and young adult literature, knowledge and experience of California’s diverse school system, and the CDE’s standards, frameworks, and guidance documents related to literacy.

  16. What was the criteria for selection?
    Each title considered for selection was reviewed against the following criteria: literature that reflects the diversity of the California student population, literary quality, reader appeal, and when applicable, the quality of the illustrations and the quality of the translation.
Questions: Literature List Staff | | 916-323-6269 
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 06, 2023
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