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Answers to the questions most commonly asked related to Recommended Literature: Pre-K-12.
  1. 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.

  2. Why does my search return zero results?

    There are several possibilities for a search yielding zero results. There are over 7,800 titles in this searchable database, but there isn't 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.
  7. 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/Pre-K), 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).

  8. 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.

  9. 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.
  10. Is the document available in a printed version?

    No. The most recent document you can purchase is the 2009 version which does not include the merging of titles from the Recommended Literature for Mathematics and Science or the Recommended Literature for History-Social Science and Visual and Performing Arts. The 2009 version does not include titles added by the committee convened in 2012 to update the list. To purchase the 2009 version, contact CDE Press External link opens in new window or tab..

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

    Titles that were on the previous list but are not on the new list were dropped for a number of reasons. Reasons may include the book is out of print or hard to find, or a newer title covers the subject area more completely. Because a title is not included does not mean it is no longer recommended. You can view the authors and titles of previously published literature lists on the CDE Previously Published Literature Lists web page.

  12. 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 and as a guide for evaluating literature that is not included on our recommended list, whether it be newly published or an old favorite. Local school officials and teachers are encouraged to use this list as a resource in designing standard-based instruction programs.
  13. Who selected the books on the list?

    Recommended Literature: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve
    was coordinated by the CDE and developed with the assistance of teachers, library media teachers 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. There are additional acknowledgement pages for previous updates to the 2001 and 2004 Recommended Literature: K-12 Acknowledgments, Recommended Literature for Science and Mathematics, and Recommended Literature for History/Social Science and Visual and Performing Arts web pages

  14. What was the process for selection?

    In 2001, 2004, 2012, and 2016 a team of experts in the field of literature for children and adolescents reviewed titles suggested for addition to the Recommended Literature List. Each of the titles was reviewed and discussed by the committee members before coming to a consensus on the titles that are included on the list. Books selected by separate teams of experts convened in 2004 and 2008 to develop and update the Recommended Literature for History-Social Science and Visual and Performing Arts and the Recommended Literature for Mathematics and Science, respectively, are now included in this single, comprehensive list.

  15. 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: Monday, May 24, 2021