How to find a Read-A-Like

Dear Fellow Journalers,

If you read series books, I have mentioned my favorites in the past (Murder She Wrote, Cosy Mystery series from Joanne Fluke and Miranda James) when you’re either waiting for the author’s next book or just wanting to find a read-a-like, where do you find it?  This article from the Cheshire Library Blog may help you.


New post on The Cheshire Library Blog

How to Find a Read-alike by Mary

If you are like me, when I find a series I love I burn through it in record time and then am left mourning that I have finished the series. Finding a new series can be difficult, so invariably I turn to NoveList for help.

NoveList is an online database that offers recommended reading lists. You can sort by age and genre and even by topics such as “fast-paced and amusing” or “moving and haunting” and even “snarky and compelling”. However my favorite part of NoveList is the Read-alike links.

If you type in a book title or author, NoveList will produce a list of results that include three very handy links: Title Read-alikes, Author Read-Alikes and Series Read-alikes.

What is a Read-alike?

A read-alike is a book, author, or series that shares some of the basic characteristics of another book, author, or series. It means that if you enjoy, say, author Marcia Muller, you may also like books by Laurie R. King, Kate Wilhelm, or Iain Pears,

For example, type in Lord Peter Wimsey (one of my favorite British mystery sleuths), click on Series Read-alikes, and you will get a list of recommendations that include the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood (stories that have also been turned into a wonderful BBC drama: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) and the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries by P.D. James, among many others.

Bingo! Two more series just waiting to be devoured.

Try NoveList. It works!


“When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents, and those moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same. You have grown and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living, you are wrapped in endless boundless grace. And things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday.”

—– Morgan Harper Nichols

December Journal Prompts

Dear Fellow Journalers,

I can’t believe it’s December! While you’re checking over your Holiday Lists, don’t forget to:

  • Write a letter to Santa about all your wishes, hopes, goals and plans with a return receipt requested. Then pen a letter from the Holly Jolly Man describing how to get all of the above.
  • Remember, write, reflect. Think about all the happenings over the past year. Then pick one thing and write about it.
  • Take the phrase “Create _______ right now” Put in the word and write!
  • Write about how you make someone smile.
  • “Life isn’t what you have; it’s about what you have to give.” What is the best Christmas gift you ever gave?



Gratitude makes sense of our past,

Brings peace for today,

Creates a vision for tomorrow.

Have you read the book?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Do you ever read a book after you’ve seen the movie?

That would be a big “yup!” from me! So many times I’ve seen a movie review, been intrigued and then after watching the movie investigated whether or not the movie was based on a book and proceeded to read the book. For instance, our local library featured the movie “The 15:17 to Paris” earlier this year which led me to the book of the same name by one of the original participants Anthony Sadler. Another great movie was “The Finest Hours” which led me to “Into the Raging Sea” by the main character/participant Bernie Webber. “The Shack” led me to the book with the same title by William Paul Young and a documentary by Bill O’Reilly “Legends and Lies” which led me to his books about the old west and the patriots.

It goes on and on for me, but the same could lead us to a discussion of TV movies as well. In June of this year, BookBub featured an article “The Biggest Book to Movie Adaptation of the summer” that led me to  “A Dog’s Journey”, and “The Art of Racing in the rain”.

So, you see, it goes both ways. What have you read lately that brings you to a greater level of literary enjoyment?




Children’s books of 2019

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Mary Beth shares this very informative article

Best Classic: Goodnight Moon at Amazon

“Kids love hearing all about the great green room and all of the quirky things it contains.”

Best Toddler: Little Blue Truck Leads the Way at Amazon

“Toddlers love following the adventures of Little Blue as he makes his way through the big city.”

Best Baby: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes at Amazon

“Babies love the rhythmic, rhyming text you’ll find in this beautiful board book.”

Best Spanish: Que Cosas Dice Mi Abuela at Amazon

“In ‘The things my Grandmother says,’ a grandmother teaches manners to her grandchildren.”

Best New: I’ve Loved You Since Forever at Amazon

“Penned by Hoda Kotb from the Today Show… lyrical text and gorgeous photos.”

Best for Confidence: Giraffes Can’t Dance at Amazon

“Gerald the giraffe… tries over and over again to learn how to dance.”

Best Illustrations: The Wonderful Things You Will Be at Amazon

“Sweet and simple, beautifully written and illustrated… encourages kids to be kind and caring.”

Best Overall Message: I Like Myself! at Amazon

“Bold and colorful illustrations and fun and witty rhymes… kids are perfect just the way they are.”

Best Silly: Dragons Love Tacos at Amazon

“Dragons really love tacos, but when they eat something spicy you better watch out!”

Our Top Picks
Best Classic: Goodnight Moon

Buy on Amazon
Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon has been around for years, but it still shows up on best-seller lists, and for good reason. Kids love hearing all about the great green room and all of the quirky things it contains, and they love to say goodnight to each item, one by one, along with the little bunny who lives in the room. Meanwhile, parents find that reading this book over and over again—with its rhythmic lyrics—isn’t so tedious. Pick up a copy soon to start saying goodnight to each and every object in the room with your own kid.

Best Toddler: Little Blue Truck Leads the Way

Buy on Amazon
As a follow up to the crowd favorite Little Blue Truck, toddlers love following the adventures of Little Blue as he makes his way through the big city. Adventures ensue as everyone’s favorite truck encounters police cars, taxis, vans, and limousines—and learns some big and important lessons along the way.

What’s great about this book, too, is that it’s one in a series, so if your toddler really catches on to this particular one, there’s a high likelihood she’ll fall in love with the other versions, as well, which means it’ll be easy for you to make the swap between books to keep things fresh.

Best Baby: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Buy on Amazon
Babies love the rhythmic, rhyming text you’ll find in this beautiful board book by Mem Fox, and parents are sure to love the bigger message it spreads about the beauty of all babies, no matter their race, gender, or where they are born. In all his books, Mem Fox is a master at painting a clear picture of how we are all different and that is what makes us beautiful. The simple watercolor illustrations are easy for babies to follow along, and, as a bonus, your baby is sure to love looking at pictures of other babies, as well.

Best Spanish: Que Cosas Dice Mi Abuela

Buy on Amazon
Spanish-speaking parents will love this fun book—which translates to “the things my Grandmother says”—in which a grandmother teaches manners to her grandchildren and their friends using traditional Spanish-language sayings. Written in the voice of a little boy talking about his regular day—sprinkled in with the advice from his Grandmother on manners—this book will pique the interest of adults and kids alike. Readers called this book excellent and adorable​ and specifically called out the illustrations and bright colors as being appealing to toddlers.

Best New: I’ve Loved You Since Forever

Buy on Amazon
It’s not necessary to have had kids for years and years to understand the bond between a parent and a child. I’ve Loved You Since Forever, which was published in March of 2018, was penned by Hoda Kotb from the Today Show as a love letter between parents and their kids.

Kotb’s inspiration for the book was the adoption of her baby girl, Haley Joy, and the love that exists everywhere between parents and their children. The lyrical text (not to mention the adorable message) will keep adults interested while reading the book over and over, and gorgeous photos will keep the little ones coming back for more.

Best for Confidence: Giraffes Can’t Dance

Buy on Amazon
If you’re trying to teach your kid about the importance of never giving up, this book is for you. Follow along on Gerald the giraffe’s journey as he tries over and over again to learn how to dance. With a touching message about perseverance—and marching to the beat of our own drummers—Gerald finally does succeed in learning how to dance, but only after receiving some encouraging advice from an unlikely friend.

Giraffes Can’t Dance is definitely a crowd-pleaser, with 3,000 reviews, making it an Amazon bestseller. Parents commend this book for teaching confidence and self-esteem, with one parent noting it is a great buy for kids with special needs.

Best Illustrations: The Wonderful Things You Will Be

Buy on Amazon
Every parent sees the infinite potential in his or her child, and Emily Winfield Martin uses rhythmic rhyme in her story to express all the loving things that parents think of when they look at their kids. It also encourages kids to be kind and caring and help others when needed, which is a life lesson we all should be reminded of.

From Look.

From my personal experience, reading aloud to your children is one of the best ways of bonding. We have a weekly “read aloud” day where all the children pick a book from our extensive library and take turns reading it aloud to the rest of us. I started using the prompts from my reading journal to extend the experience for our children.

~Mary Beth

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