Help Your Shelf is a children's literary consulting business that works with families and organizations across the country to create literacy-rich environments and ensure that every young reader finds a book that sparks their joy.
Kit Ballenger is a youth services librarian in the Washington, D.C. area. A former child advocacy attorney, she reads hundreds of newly released children’s books every year and has a special knack for helping both voracious and particular young readers find their next ‘good-fit’ book. Clients include Big 5 publishers, for whom she writes book guides; nonprofits like National PTA and First Book, for whom she creates school programs; and individual families, for whom she stacks to-be-read piles and curates the perfect baby gift. Kit creates the book lists for award-winning children’s podcasts, including Wow in the World and Who When Wow! and appears regularly on SiriusXM Kids Place Live as their librarian in residence.
Kit serves on multiple committees for the American Library Association including the 2022 Morris Award (for debut writing for teens) and as co-chair of Quicklists, which creates book lists for libraries nationwide. You can find her professional reviews online at Shelf Awareness and in print in Booklist. She served for many years on the board of Capitol Choices, a nationally respected children's book advisory nonprofit, and works with Pride and Less Prejudice to bring LGBTQ+ books to Prek-3rd grade classrooms across North America. A long-term volunteer at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center, Kit helps there with collection development and readers advisory. She is a graduate of Amherst College and U.Va. Law School. You can find her reading recommendations on Instagram @KitonLit.
Are you struggling to keep up with a prolific reader? Finding it hard to get your child excited about reading? Whether you're looking to stock your child's bedside table, reenergize your read-aloud selections, fill a baby's first bookshelf, or gift your grandchildren something that's sure to fit, Kit will help you find the book solution that's right for your reader.
"I always feel smarter, more informed and excited to start some new books after time spent with you. Thank you for sharing your love for books with us and our children. You are amazing."
Organizations interested in presentations or partnerships, please reach out for writing samples, including book reviews or Discussion Guides.
Authors looking for help with market positioning, or comps for queries or publicity, please reach out.
When you work with Help Your Shelf, your children aren't the only readers who benefit. Kit works with local nonprofits including the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, THEARC, and Horizons Greater Washington, as well as with Title I classroom educators across the D.C. Metro area, to put new books directly into the hands of youth.