One-Sit Reads

Tucked away in a corner of the Marguerite deAngeli Children’s Room sits a collection of stories that many library visitors might not know about. The collection is called one-sit reads, and contains everything from real-world, everyday stories to folklore and mythical tales told in longform, descriptive language and pictures. While unknown to many, these titles make a great transition tool for young readers. While many easy readers and picture books can focus on actions and feelings with short sentence and accessible words, one-sit reads are usually meatier, with more words on the page and descriptive language that helps set the scene so there’s more for the reader to take in. These stories weave vivid language and illustrations along with big ideas and concepts into something that young readers can easily understand.

One of our library assistants, Meg, is an avid user of the one sit reads collection and uses the titles to add enrichment to her children’s reading.

“Children’s authors are experts at taking big ideas and putting them on the “bottom shelf” so that the inspiration is accessible to anyone,” says Meg.

One-sit read stories can be more complex than picture books, so they are a good option for younger children’s reading time with a caregiver or older sibling, or a young reader looking for something more challenging. One-sit reads make a great transition for those readers who find picture books too easy but are not ready for longer chapter books yet.

 “As a parent, I use the one-sit read collection for introducing my children to places, people, and ideas beyond their own everyday experience,” says Meg. “I also like it for developing reading fluency. The illustrations support the text and the experience is comfortable rather than intimidating. It can help some children get beyond decoding the words to enjoying the story and that is where the best learning happens.

While Children’s Librarian Mary Cowles recommends one sit reads for children aged 6 and up, the elaborate stories can really be enjoyed by anyone.

“I’ve even had middle schoolers and older stand looking over my shoulder when I’m reading aloud to my younger children because the story engaged them from across the room,” says Meg. “I still read aloud to my independent readers because it becomes a shared experience we can talk about.

The one-sits reads can be found in the deAngeli Children’s Department, but don’t let the location deter you from exploring the collection.

“The appeal is broader than most picture books that are written specifically for small children,” says Meg. “Even as an adult, these books have opened up many interests for me.”

Take a look at these recommended one-sit reads. 

Mackinac Bridge : the story of the five mile poem

Mackinac Bridge : The Story of the Five Mile Poem

Although it will mean that their father can no longer make a living running a ferry boat, thirteen-year-old Mark and his brother Luke are excited about the building of a five-mile bridge across the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan in 1957.

Lillian's right to vote : a celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Lillian's Right to Vote : A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965

As an elderly woman, Lillian recalls that her great-great-grandparents were sold as slaves in front of a courthouse where only rich white men were allowed to vote, then the long fight that led to her right--and determination--to cast her ballot since the Voting Rights Act gave every American the right to vote.

The spirit trackers

The Spirit Trackers

Native telling of the Windigo, the Night Spirit of Winter, told by an uncle elder to two Aboriginal cousins, and the tracking of the feared creature into the forest. This illustrated story is populated with raven, moose and other forest animals, the Spirit Moon and a cold winter night; a heartwarming story of family, love, togetherness and respect for the environment

The Scarlet Stockings Spy

The Scarlet Stockings Spy

In 1777 Philadelphia, young Maddy Rose spies for General Washington's army by using an unusual code to communicate with her soldier brother.

Peggony Po : A Whale of a Tale

Peggony Po : A Whale of a Tale

Peggony-Po, carved out of wood by his father, a one-legged whaler, determines to catch the huge whale that ate his father's leg.

Diana's White House garden

Diana's White House Garden

It's 1943, and the White House is busy with the war effort. Diana Hopkins only wants to help, but doesn't know what a ten-year-old can do - until the Roosevelts come up with the idea of Victory Gardens, and Diana suddenly has the important job of Victory Gardener for the White House

The Undefeated

The Undefeated

The Newbery Award-winning author of The Crossover pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree. Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.

Players in pigtails

Players in Pigtails

Katie Casey, a fictional character, helps start the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which gave women the opportunity to play professional baseball while America was involved in World War II.


Published by on August 24, 2021
Last Modified August 16, 2022