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by Jim Trelease
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Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook FAQs

  1. cover of 2013 edition
  2. Has the book been updated since it was first published?
  3. I know many Web sites that deal with books receive money or royalties for linking to book store Web sites like Amazon. Does Jim have such agreements for the books he recommends?
  4. Is there a Spanish language edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook?
  5. Many of the parents at our school would not be able to afford or be able to read a book like this. Is there an abbreviated or simpler version we could give to them?

1. What's in the Handbook?
It's divided into two parts: the first half contains the "ways" and "whys" of raising readers; and the last half consists of an annotated bibliography (The Treasury) of almost 1000 children's books for reading aloud, from picture books to novels and anthologies, with synopses on hundreds of the stories and guides to the age of the audience for which it was written.
   At the bottom of this page, you'll find the Handbook's Table of Contents for easy browsing. The book's contents can also be viewed by subject matter. In addition, each web chapter consists of several excerpts from that print chapter but keep in mind the excerpt represents only about 15 percent of the actual chapter.

2. How did a parent come to write the book?
You can find a detailed explanation of the book's history at About Trelease. But in a nutshell, the book grew out of his experiences as a parent and school volunteer. When he saw the dramatic difference in reading attitudes and abilities between children who were read to and those who were not, Trelease investigated the subject in reading research, found a wealth of support, and then wrote a book on the subject. The first edition was self-published, but by 1982, Penguin USA had spotted it and published a greatly expanded version.
    In 1983, the book spent 17 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and has sold almost two million copies to date, including American, British, Chinese, Australian, Korean, Spanish, and Japanese editions. The foreign editions are not available from either Jim or in the U.S., unfortunately.

3. What is the Handbook's intended audience?
Parents, teachers, librarians, grandparents, literacy volunteers, day care providers—anyone interested in passing the torch of literacy from one generation to the next and touching the lives of children in a tender and lasting manner. Additionally, more than 60 colleges and universities use the book as a text for future teachers.

4. How does this Web version differ from the print and e-book versions of the book?
The actual book contains 349 pages, more than this web site can accommodate. Posted here is a representative sample of the book's contents, excerpts from the research and anecdotes in its chapters, and a short listing of books from the Treasury of Read-Alouds.

5. Has the book been updated since it was first published?
The first edition was actually self-published in 1979. After that came larger editions, published in paperback by Penguin in 1982, 1985, 1989, 1995, 2001, 2006, and again in 2013. With each edition, new research is added to the main text, along with fascinating anecdotes that Trelease has encountered in his lecture travels and readings, with the text changing about 60 percent between editions. Also, the Treasury is updated each time, with new titles added and out-of-print books deleted.

6. I know many Web sites that deal with books receive money or royalties for linking to book store Web sites. Does Jim have such agreements for the books he recommends?
As a former journalist, Jim is a firm believer in the adage: If you sleep with the elephants, you can't cover the circus. Therefore, he has no agreements of any kind with any Web sites or book publishers, with the exception of his own publisher (Penguin Putnam Inc.) and that one is for the standard author-publisher contract only. Any book recommended in either the Handbook or Web site is mentioned strictly on the basis of merit or personal preference.

7. I'm familiar with Jim's Handbook but not his other two books. What are they about?
Both volumes are Penguin anthologies of his favorite read-alouds and both have become bestsellers. Hey! Listen to This contains 48 stories aimed at kindergarten through fourth grade, while Read All About It! has 50 stories for the preteen and teen audience (5th grade into high school). The latter includes short stories, human interest newspaper articles and columns, and some self-contained chapters from novels. As editor of the two collections, Jim chose the stories and wrote author profiles containing unique material publishers too frequently never provide on book jackets. Excerpts can be found from both books at Hey! Listen to This and Read All About It!

8. How can people in remote or rural areas obtain Jim's books?
Since they are published by Penguin, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious publishers, they are available wherever books are sold and certainly can be ordered if they are not on the shelf. Additionally, you also can order any of his books or audio/video materials through his office. All books ordered that way can be autographed if so requested. An order form for his books can be found at ORDER FORM; fill out the form and fax or email it to Jim Trelease at: 413-782-0862. Italso can be purchased online here using PayPal, which accepts most credit cards.

9. I own a copy of Jim Trelease's book. Is there an easy way to get it autographed?
The easiest way, short of attending one of his lectures and having him sign it after the program or buying the book directly from his office (see question above), is to do the following: Send him a personal note listing to whom you wish it autographed, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope (#10 size), and mail that to: Reading Tree Productions, 2 Meacham Drive, Enfield, CT 06082. Jim will then autograph a bookplate and mail it to you. This will save you the expense of shipping the actual book back and forth.

10. Is there an audio book version of the Handbook?
At the moment, the closest thing in audio to the book is the audiocassettes/CD's of his lectures. But there is no direct reading of the book itself. As for the Rawls recording, that is available exclusively from Reading Tree Productions and this Web site. Click on Rawls for more information.

11. I've written a book that my friends tell me is pretty good. Does Jim ever look at unpublished manuscripts and give evaluations?
The major publishers annually send Jim more than 2000 children's books to review. He has a hard enough time reading all of those, never mind what hasn't been published yet. There really is no way he can accommodate such requests and must regretfully say No. The best ways are still these two: Stop fearing rejection and send it to a publisher; or send it to an agent and still deal with possible rejection. The Read-Aloud Handbook, currently with nearly 2 millions copies in print, was initially turned down by six major publishers. Dr. Seuss's first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 26 publishers. For the names of agents and/or publishers, check out the Literary Market Place at your local public library.

12. Can Jim give me a list of good books on the Plains Indians for a class unit? And other curricula-oriented questions . . .
Jim has enough to do without usurping your job, or the jobs of your school librarian and supervisor for curriculum, both of whom should be handling such queries. Indeed, if he accepted such tasks, he'd have no time to write or answer legitimate mail. But thanks for asking.

13. Is there a Spanish edition of the Handbook?
The Spanish translation of THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK ( Manual de la lectura en voz) is published in Columbia, South America by Fundalectura of Bogata, Columbia. (Data below). Unfortunately it is not available in the U.S. and a number of U.S. educators have told me of their frustration in trying to order from the Columbian publisher. Unfortunately, that is something over which I have no control at the moment. Any Spanish publisher wishing to publish the book in Spanish in another country would be heartily encouraged by me.

Book title: Manual de la lectura en voz
Author: Jim Trelease
Publisher: Fundalectura
Fundacion para el fomento de la lectura
Avenida (calle) 40 N 16-46
Apartado 048902
Bogota, Columbia
Price: 35,000 Columbian pesos; (USD 13)
Telepfono: 571/ 320-1511
Fax: 571/ 287-7071

14. Many of the parents at our school would not be able to afford or be able to read a book like this. Is there an abbreviated or simpler version we could give to them?

Jim often heard this query and made it one of his challenges upon retiring from the public lecture circuit. More than a dozen single-page, trifold brochures can now be dounloaded from the Internet for free and given away to parents and students. Go to to choose which brochure subjects you wish. Several different languages are included, though not all brochures are available in different languages.

Read-Aloud Handbook Contents
For a detailed table of contents, see Contents

This Web site contains only "excerpts" from the print and e-book editions of
The Read-Aloud Handbook (Penguin, 7th ed., 2013).
A detailed list of all subjects covered in this edition can be found at Contents.


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