Into the Library in Search of an Author

(self-guided tour)           


This is an opportunity to explore some of the major research materials in children’s literature in the UNM Libraries (Main and Wyoming branches of the Albuquerque Public Library also have some of these resources), while tracking down information on an author or author/illustrator of your choice.   Many resources can also be found on the internet, but not all!  The titles in bold face are essential to check.  Work with a partner if you wish.  (Start with items 1 or 3) Web Links: .  Sign up for a CIRT account for access from home, even if you use it only for  searching the library’s databases from home.


1.             Library catalog:  (a) Conduct an author search for your author:

Author’s name (last name first):______________________________________

How many of the author’s books does the library have? ________________ 

(a)   Record (or have the computer print) the title and location of one of the books, and any other information the display provides that you think might be useful:


Title _______________________________________________________________

Add author___________________________________________________________


Subject _____________________________________________________________

Location and Call Number:  ____________________  Status:_____________

(b)   Additional books by your author and their locations:





(c)   A few authors have books written about them.  Conduct a subject search using your author’s name as a subject.  What do you find?



(d)   If you find nothing on your author, try one of these authors to see how this works:  Louisa May Alcott, Maurice Sendak, L. Frank Baum, Edward Lear, or Beatrix Potter.  What did you find?




(e)   Other subject searches.  We often want to find books, either fiction or non-fiction on particular subjects.  There are books that help do this, such as Carolyn Lima’s A to Zoo (Ref. Z1037 L715 2001), a guide to picture books by subject.  The library catalog is also a good source for this kind of information.  Try selecting a topic such as frogs, and add the subheading—juvenile fiction or juvenile literature and see what you find.  Books that list books by subject may also be found under the subject heading “children’s literature—book lists.”  Try a couple of subject searches just for fun, and note what you find.






2  Going beyond the catalog for book information.  Search Books in Print, or World Cat through UNM’s databases to find out how many of your author’s books are still in print, and how many there are in existence that Albuquerque libraries may not have.  You might also want to explore such commercial sites as or  for readers’ responses to books,  some reviews, and availability on Amazon, and for availability and demand on the used book market through Bookfinder.


What do you find? _____________________________________________________________________________________




3      Something about the Author (Ref PN451 S6)

Children’s Literature Review (Ref  PN1009.A1 C5139)

(also available in Main and Wyoming children’s reference)

These two volumes are treasure troves of information about authors and illustrators.  The public library also has a very useful Something about the Author Autobiographies.  To use these books look in the index to the most recent volume, or in one of the new separate index volumes.  The indexes cover all volumes in both sets, and will refer you to other books also. If your chosen author is not in any of these volumes you might wish to choose a better-known author.  Take some notes on the kind of information you find here, including references to other places to look for additional information.







4.             American Writers for Children since 1960: Fiction (Ref. PS374 C454 A4 1986)


American Writers for Children since 1960: Poets, Illustrators, and Non-Fiction Authors, Vol 61 (Ref. PS490 A45 1987)

American Writers for Children, 1900-1960 (Ref. PS490 A43 1983)

Dictionary of American Children’s Fiction (Ref PS374 C454) (some volumes in stacks --- see Libros)

                Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature (Ref. PN1008.5 C37               1984)


                Sixth Book of Junior Authors (earlier eds. in stacks) Ref. PN1009. A1 F47)


St. James Guide to Children’s Writers (Ref. PN1009. A1 T9 1999)

St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers(Ref. PS490 S73 1999)

Look for your author in at least one of these books.  You might also want to look at other books nearby to see what kinds of information they yield.  Jot down any comments that will help you remember these books and the kinds of information they contain.





5.             Children’s Literature: A Guide to the Criticism (Ref. PN1008.4 H46 1987, 2nd copy in stacks).  Also at  The only book that lists lots of articles on children’s authors and illustrators in one place.   Use the index!  For more recent material you must go to more general bibliographies such as the Education Index (Ref. Z1219 C96), CIJE, Library Literature (Ref. Z66 L69), or the MLA Bibliography.  Most of these are now available in electronic form.  A “Year’s Work in Children’s Literature Studies” was published  from 1989-2000 in the summer issue of Children’s Literature Association Quarterly (PN 1008.2 A1 C48).   Children’s Literature Abstracts (Per PN1009.A1 C5446) is available  from 1997-1999.  What do you find?  If you do not find your author, try the author you used in 1.e.  Jot down the citations for one or two items.  Do you know how to find the article or book from here?  (Be sure you copy everything down, including accurate titles and dates to check in Libros).  Ask for help if confused! 







6.             Book reviews: Book Review Digest (Ref. Z1219. C96)

Book Review Index, 1965 - (Ref. Z 1035. A1 B59)

(Digest now available electronically, especially for more recent material).

Look for your author in the year or year following the publication of one of the books.  Copy the citation for one of the reviews.  (Also notice the number of words—the Digest often prints most of the review.)  If you want to find the review, do you know where to go?






7.    Ask the librarians for information about accessing First Search,  Proquest, and the EBSCO search services through the library’s web page, or pick up the hand-outs.   You can access these from your computer at home if you have a UNM CIRT account.  There is also a link to the Albuquerque Public Library and its resources from the UNM library web pages.  Look for articles on your author through one of these databases.  What do you find?








8.             Choose one of the articles about your author that you have found in the previous exercise, and find it in the library or through the full-text services of one of the databases.   You might also want to browse through one of the children’s literature journals listed below and find an article of criticism that interests you.  Photocopy  or print the article (or take good notes on what you have found). Look up the journal title in Libros, or see list below.)  Write the essential bibliographic information about the article below:












Important periodicals in Children’s Literature in Zimmerman (some of these are now also available in full-text through online services, especially for more recent articles):

ALAN Review  Per Z1037 A1 A87

Book Links Zim Per. Z1037 B7218

Bookbird (international) Per. PN1009 A1 B6

Children’s Literature (annual), stacks PN1009 A1 C514

Journal of Children’s Literature Per. PN 1009 A1 B8

Children’s Literature Abstracts Per. Pn 1009. A1 C5446

Children’s Literature Association Quarterly  Per. PN1008.2 A1 C48

Children’s Literature in Education Per. Z1037 A1 5 C5

English Journal (secondary level) Per. PE1 E5

Horn Book Per. Z1037 A1 A15

Interracial Books for Children Bulletin, Per. Z1037 A1 I55

JOYS (formerly Top of the News) Per. Z718.1 A1 T62

Language Arts (elementary level) Per. LB1576. A1 E6

Lion and the Unicorn  Per. PN1009 A1 L54

New Advocate Zim Per. Z1037.N48

School Library Journal Per. Z675 S3 S3

Signal:  Approaches to Children’s Books Per. PN1009 A1 S39.   

VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Per. Z1037.V6