Books for Older PJ Library Readers and “Tweens”

This month, readers in PJ Library’s oldest age group, 8 years and above, will receive either the longer-form picture book The Peddler’s Gift, written by Maxine Rose Schur and illustrated by Kimberly Root or the chapter book Like a Maccabee, written by Barbara Bietz and illustrated by Anita White. Books for Older PJ Library Readers and “Tweens”Each of these selections was carefully chosen by the PJ Library Book Selection Committee as an age-appropriate story for the program’s oldest readers.


According to Chris Barash, chair of the Book Selection Committee, Books for ages 8+ are generally either early chapter books or picture books with content that both challenges and entertains.


“To engage children of this age — some of whom are becoming independent readers — it’s key to present books with stories that appeal and inform while fostering a love of reading,” Barash says. “Our 8 years and above age group selections tend to offer stories a bit more complex in nature than those appropriate for younger PJ participants. For example, these books often feature more complex characters and plot, and may weave sub-plots in with the main storyline. It’s also important to note that a picture book may call for more from the reader in terms of comprehension, vocabulary, attention span, imagination, and ability to interpret the text than an early chapter book.”

Currently, PJ Library program’s enrollees “age out” after the Hamantaschen age group.


In addition, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation is piloting a program called PJ Our Way. Currently operating in just 10 partnering communities — Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Marks JCH (Brooklyn), Miami, North Shore (MA), Seattle, Silicon Valley, and St. Louis — the program invites children between 9–11 to select a book from an online list. After receiving and reading that book, the children can follow up online to read reviews, take quizzes and polls, and create their own video book trailers.


The PJ Our Way program is free. If the program is not yet available in your area, visit to express your interest. Learn more about the program by watching the video below:


UPDATE: PJ Our Way is now available across the United States! Sign up and get your first book at


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