Kids’ Book Reviews By Kids: How to Write a Children’s Book Review You Think Other Kids Will Like

You probably have to write book reviews in school. When I was a kid, I used to hate to write them. But now I use book reviews that other people have written all the time. They help me to decide which books I want to read next. So if you’re a kid and you have to write a book review, here is how to write one about a book you think other kids will like.

Actually, it doesn’t have to be about a book you really like. Negative reviews are helpful too. Sometimes a book you don’t like is still a great book, just not for you. Another kid with other interests might find that book perfect for them. So write your book review anyway.

Here are some things you must include in your book review:

Title

Be sure to get the correct and complete title for the book you are reviewing. Sometimes series of books have parts of the titles that are the same, and parts that are different. If you don’t include the whole title, another kid might read your review and get the wrong book to read.

For example, you probably know about Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. But if you are reviewing one of the later books in the series, you must be sure to include the whole title, like this: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (Book 5.)

Author

You probably hate it when people say or spell your name wrong. I bet the authors of the books you are reading feel exactly the same way!

Be sure to spell the author’s name correctly. Check and double check it in your report.

Recommended ages or grades

You might read a funny book but know it is too hard for your younger sister to read. So include the ages you think would be able to enjoy the book.

You can say something like, “Recommended for 4th and 5th graders.” Or something like, “I’m 10, but I usually read books that are much harder than what we are supposed to be reading in school. So I think this would be better for sixth or seventh graders.”

Summary of the story

Give a brief description of the main things that happen in the beginning of the story, or the beginning and middle. But be sure not to give away the ending, especially if there is something really surprising that happens.

Here are other things you might want to include in your book review:

Something you really enjoyed

If you thought the book was funny, say so. If you thought it was exciting or scary, and you love adventure, mention that.

Something you didn’t like about the book

Maybe the beginning is really good, but the ending is boring. Perhaps the book seemed too scary for kids, or it gave you nightmares. You can warn others about that.

Other similar books

Compare the book you are reviewing to other similar books. That way, kids can get a better idea if it might be something they would like to read.

Others who might enjoy the book

Say what kind of kids you think might like the book. For example, “If you love to read books about spies or adventure, you will enjoy the Alex Rider book series.” Or, “If you like books about witches that are not too scary, you might enjoy “Which Witch?” by Eva Ibbotson.

Recommend other books or authors

It’s a lot of fun to find a whole bunch of books by another author that you didn’t even know about. So you can mention other authors with books like the one you are reviewing. Or you can suggest other books that are similar to this one, that other kids might also enjoy reading.

Think about the kids who will be reading your book review. Use some of these tips I’ve given you when you write. If you do, you will be able to write kids’ book reviews and help other children by sharing your love of reading and great books.

The Trouble With Book Reviews

To judge by a flyer from the just-inaugurated New York Center for Independent Publishing, book reviewers are in trouble. “SAVE OUR BOOK REVIEWS!” pleads its headline. “Over the past five years, one by one, newspapers have begun to forsake books and their readers. At dozens of papers, book coverage has been cut back or slashed altogether, puffed up with wire copy, or generally treated as expendable. The Board of the National Book Critics Circle has launched a campaign to try to combat these changes.”

Assuming that the freefall needs to be stopped – what should be done?

When any industry is hit by a malaise, it helps to do three things. First of all, just to stave off precipitous decline, it makes sense to assure investors of the overall viability of the enterprise, and ask them to advance additional funds to help restore its profitability. Book reviews being hardly a strong profit earner, it would be less then realistic to put much hope into this step.

Of far greater importance is the second step to be taken – expanding customer base to increase the value of the enterprise. Usually, this cannot be effectively done without first implementing the third step – that of changing enterprise’ entire business model.

In fact, book reviewers need to completely re-orient themselves, switching to an altogether different set of customers.

At present, reviewers are servants of big publishers. Rather than sifting through the mass of newly-published books in search of interesting and original ideas to present to the public, and acting as referees of merit, today’s book reviewers earn their bread by hyping up books published by big houses, and turning them into “bestsellers.” Some book-covers are just plastered with admiring quotes from reviews, with ecstatic “oh!”s, “ah!”s, and “how great!”s spilling from the covers to the first few pages of the text itself, while other books earn not a single review. Are the former adorned with superlatives because their merits were obvious to every reviewer in the country, while the latter were found, upon being read by the same reviewers, sadly devoid of merit? Not at all. The difference is due solely to the respective publishers’ connections, the former being able to push their wares to reviewers’ desks, while the latter having no such long arm.

A couple of years ago a novel called “The Memory of Running” was sold to a big publisher for around two million dollars – after fifteen years of having been rejected as junk. The lucky break came after the author came into contact with Stephen King while making an audio book for him. A nod from Mr. King did the alchemical trick of turning trash into gold – and, when time came to hype the book into bestsellership, every major reviewer published an opinion – an opinion of a book which would never have reached his desk had the author published it himself – since major reviewers have a stated policy of not considering author-published books for review. “The Memory of Running” made it not because of what was in it – that never changed since its trash years – but because it was published by people who were in a position to make book reviewers jump.

About half a year ago, during a panel discussion by the New York Times book review staff, I had a more direct confirmation that this is how book reviewers operate. I was eager to ask a simple question – “if all review submissions were made anonymously, leaving no clue as to the identity of author or publisher, wouldn’t an altogether different set of books be chosen for review?” My turn to ask the question never came, but I buttonholed two members of the panel as they mixed with the crowd. Each one answered in the affirmative, even suggesting that this might be a vastly superior way of doing things, and confiding that a recent novel by a household-name novelist would have never been reviewed under such selection policy.

Interestingly, this is precisely how book reviewers used to work in the past. In early 1900s it was possible for a book anonymously published by its author to get some half dozen magazine reviews simply on the merit of its provocative ideas. (Far later, “What is Man?” proved to have been written by Mark Twain.) In the current book review climate, however, this would be inconceivable, reviews being an exclusive prerogative of publishing establishment, and having nothing whatsoever to do with book’s quality and merit.

Perhaps, to save their industry, book reviewers should seriously consider extricating themselves from the far-too-close embrace of big publishers, and of choosing as customers the public, instead of the publishers – by basing their selection, just as it used to be a hundred years ago, only on merit, and completely ignoring irrelevances such as the identity of author and of publisher.

How Book Reviews Help Readers Decide on a Purchase

Book reviews often help a reader decide on a book purchase. Book marketing depends a great deal on what others have to say about your writing. The only way that the public knows if a book is good is if it has been read by others and is recommended, unless they read it themselves. There are very few authors who can just sell their work without getting book reviews. For the most part, book reviewers influence the popularity of any novel or book especially those written by newcomers.

If you have a self published book and are looking for a way to promote it, you need to consider the services of a book review company. A book review service will often specialize in self published book reviews as a way to help others form an interest in these works. Those who have self published their writing and are seeking self published book marketing cannot afford to ignore the power of these type of notices.

Book reviewers work for magazines and newspapers. Most of the time, they are an independent writer who reviews books for a living. These reviews are featured in magazines like the New Yorker or The New York Times book section and are written by professional writers. Book reviewers are often inundated with requests to read and write about books. Unless you know a book reviewer who regularly freelances for well read publications, chances are that you are not going to get your work reviewed by a well known person. These writers have relationships with those who work for the major publishing houses. Those publishers spend a lot of money getting books published for authors and in cultivating relationships with those in the book review industry.

So how does a self published author take advantage of book reviews for their own book? They have to use a book review service. These services can help a self published author get the marketing that they need to get their work noticed. The more popular the book appears and the more it is reviewed, the more chances it has to be picked up by the public. Book reviews are a form of viral marketing, which is very effective in the publishing world. But you do not have to wait until this sort of marketing comes to you – you can seek out these notices by looking for a service that specializes in creating self published book reviews. The more often the work is reviewed, the more it generates a buzz with the public and the more likely they are to purchase the book. Book reviews have a tremendous impact on the sale of new books, no matter who writes them or where they are published.