A blog co-authored by Louise Capizzo, the youth services librarian at the Scarborough Public Library, has been named among the top 15 children’s literature and young adult reviews in the country.

The honor came from Children’s Book Insider, a company based in Colorado that provides instruction, advice, market tips and inspiration for writers of children’s books primarily through a monthly newsletter.

Entitled “The Nonfiction Detectives,” Capizzo’s blog reviews children’s and young adult nonfiction books. She writes the blog along with Cathy Potter, a K-5 school librarian in Falmouth.

The blog went live in April 2011 and Capizzo said the impetus for the online book review was that although many people were blogging about fiction books, not many were offering reviews of nonfiction publications.

Capizzo said a typical blog entry would include all the elements that make up the book, as well as commentary on how successful the author was in putting everything together.

“We comment on the writing style: Is it expository, poetic, descriptive, narrative, or persuasive?” Capizzo said. “What experience does the author bring to the topic and why did they write this book; are they an expert or just someone who was interested in the topic? How well does the author convey the information?”

She added, “Layout is another factor. Does the book include photos and illustrations? Are they clearly captioned? What about sidebars, charts, graphs or any other visual elements? Do any of the visual elements get lost? A good nonfiction book (also) has back matter – an index, author’s note, timeline, bibliography and further reading (sources). Then you have to ask, who would enjoy this book? Who is the audience? And finally, how does the book fit in with other titles on the same subject?”

Capizzo said she first heard her blog had been named one of the top online reviews in the country when it was posted on Twitter.

“The tweet from the Children’s Book Insider came days before Cathy and I were heading off to the American Library Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas. How 21st century is that?” she said.

Capizzo said she and Potter “were so excited” about the honor. “We also felt validated for all our efforts. Upon reaching the conference we felt like superstars, others had heard, both colleagues and publishers, and they were so supportive and excited for us. We felt like we were walking on Cloud 9.”

Capizzo added, “I’ve worked as a librarian in a public library setting for 30 years. I’ve read so many books, both good and bad, and now I can share that knowledge, and to have it acknowledged as important is gratifying.”

She said that, “librarians, teachers and parents read our reviews to find out about the best nonfiction books for children. This award means that our blog will reach (even) more readers.”

Overall, Capizzo said, “what makes our blog unique is that it offers two important viewpoints – that of a school and a public librarian. Cathy and I want people to know that we are professional librarians with experience evaluating books.”

In addition, Potter was a member of the 2014 Robert F. Sibert Book Committee and Capizzo served on the 2011 John J. Newbery Award Committee.

“We take our blog seriously and are thrilled that so many people, from parents to teachers to librarians, see us as a trusted resource,” Capizzo said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.