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Search Categories

Explanation of the Search Categories used in Recommended Literature: Pre-K-12.


The information for each selection includes the name of the author(s) and the title of the book. If applicable, the illustrator(s), and translator(s) of the book are also noted.


Annotations are searched by typing in a keyword. Annotations are provided for each title and include a synopsis summarizing the book's subject, content, story line, and characters. Annotations may also suggest a link to a particular standard. California authors, illustrators, and settings are noted, if known.

Grade Level Span

One of five grade level designations is listed indicating the appropriate audience for a particular title. Grade levels are determined by factors such as interest level, curriculum connections, readability level, and links to the English-Language Arts Content Standards for those grades. Titles have been divided into the following grade-level spans:

  • Preschool/Prekindergarten (Pre-K)

  • Kindergarten through grade two (K–2)

  • Grades three through five (3–5)

  • Grades six through eight (6–8)

  • Grades nine through twelve (9–12)


This category indicates if the title is written in a language other than English or if the title is bilingual (written in both English and another language). The list includes titles in the six languages most commonly spoken by students in California: English, Spanish, Hmong, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Filipino. It may also include other languages as available.


The list includes quality literature that reflects a rich cultural diversity. Cultural designations include, but are not limited to: African, Australian, Black/African American, Cambodian/Cambodian American, Chinese/Chinese American, East Indian/East Indian American, Eastern European, Filipino/Filipino American, Hmong/Hmong American, Italian/Italian American, Japanese/Japanese American, Jewish/Jewish American, Korean/Korean American, Latino/Latino American, Middle Eastern, Native American, Pacific Islander, Russian/Russian American, South Asian, Vietnamese/Vietnamese American, Western European, and Multicultural.


The genre for each title is provided in the CDE Recommended Literature: Pre-K–12 Literary Genres web page. Genres include, but are not limited to: biography/autobiography, drama, essay, fable, fairy tale, fantasy, fiction, fiction in verse, folklore, historical fiction, horror, humor, legend, mystery, mythology, narrative nonfiction, nonfiction, poetry, realistic fiction, science fiction, short story, speech, and tall tale.


The classification category, as seen on the CDE Recommended Literature: Pre-K–12 Classifications web page, indicates the following types of books: alphabet book, classic, concept book, counting book, early chapter book, easy reader, graphic novel, photo essay, picture book, read aloud, and wordless book.

Curriculum Connections

Strong curricular connections are noted in the areas of vocabulary, writing, literary elements, history/social science, literacy/motivation, mathematics, science, visual and performing arts, and physical education.


This category, as seen on the CDE Recommended Literature: Pre-K–12 Awards web page, lists the special awards won by the author and/or illustrator for this title. Awards include, but are not limited to: Caldecott Medal, California Young Reader Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, National Book Award, Newbery Medal, etc.


This category specifies the academic discipline or area with which a title is most closely associated. The disciplines listed include: English-Language Arts/General, English-Language Arts/Literary Elements, English-Language Arts/Vocabulary, English-Language Arts/Writing, Health, History/Social Science, Literacy/Motivation, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Language.


The topics listed in this category provide areas of focus within the academic disciplines included in the search categories. Samples of the topics listed, but are not limited to, include: Algebra (Functions, I, II, Linear), Dance, Earth Science, Geography, Immigration/Migration, Lifestyles Around the World, Motor Skills/Movement Patterns, Psychology/Sociology, Theater, and Women’s Studies.

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Questions: Literature List Staff | | 916-323-6269 
Last Reviewed: Thursday, September 14, 2023
Recently Posted in Curriculum and Instruction Resources