According to their website, "Guinness World Records aims to inspire ordinary people to do extra-ordinary things." The books strive to entertain, inform, and celebrate the world’s best. And that is exactly what they do! Who can resist facts about the fastest, the largest, the smallest, the tallest, and the absolute wackiest??
So, why am I writing about these books? Because kids love them and every library servicing kids should have them! These books, like other factual and almanac style books, are enjoyed by a wide range of readers, including both the reluctant and the advanced. They are meant to be "dipped into", not read cover to cover (although that 's fine too!). This inviting format is not intimidating and allows students to read the facts and sections of which they have the most interest.... and then to share them with everyone around them! :)
The Guinness World Records books in my library have become a joke between my library assistants and myself. They drive my hardworking ladies crazy, because the books are constantly falling apart and in need of repair due to their high circulation. But I say, it's worth it!
So, librarians: I encourage you to purchase copies of the latest GWR edition for your library every year. Even if they disappear, fall apart, and/or need constant repair. If you have a Scholastic Book Fair, use your points to acquire multiple copies of the latest version. Or, pick up a few extra copies at Costco each year as a personal donation to the library. :) The enjoyment they provide your readers is worth the investment.
And, teachers & parents: Please don't discount these selections as not qualifying as "real reading." Any reading is "real reading," and a kid's choices should be respected and allowed. Of course, they are times for novel studies, reading requirements, and literary analysis. But, like adult readers, students want to have some fun along their reading journey. So bring on the Guinness World Records! The comics! The graphic novels! .. and the fluffy, dishy "beach reads!" If it helps build a lifelong reading habit, it is worth it. :)