Book reviews for children's books are available online, at libraries, in newspapers and in special publications for media professionals. If you're seeking a review for any reason or are interested in writing them yourself, it's worth learning more about where to find them and what information they provide.
Book Reviews for Children's Books
With thousands of new picture books, middle-grade novels, and YA novels coming out each year, it's tough for even librarians, publishers, agents, and other literary professionals to keep up with all that's going on in the children's book industry. There certainly isn't enough time to read each new book that arrives, so scanning reviews is one way to stay on top of publishing trends and become familiar with new releases.
The Horn Book: The Horn Book includes a magazine, searchable review guide, newsletter, and blog. It's run by Roger Sutton, who has served as editor in chief of the company since 1996. Each review blurb published in the magazine or guide includes information about the title and the book's merits and flaws. Some reviews also include starred ratings.
Publishers Weekly: The organization publishes new children's book reviews online every week and also includes periodic information about the children's book industry that is directed toward publishing professionals. Some reviews are starred, and each write-up includes a short synopsis of the material and a more in-depth analysis of the title.
School Library Journal: An extensive network of resources for professionals, educators, and parents, School Library Journal regularly publishes scads of new children's book reviews that are categorized by age. Brief summaries and analysis of each title are included.
For Parents and Educators
New York Times Children's Books: The children's book section of The New York Times contains reviews of selected titles and is helpful for parents, educators, and the general public. The paper will also occasionally publish feature stories on children's publishing trends or other aspects of the industry.
The Children's Book Review: This extensive site was started by a mom, Bianca Schulze, who wanted to share her love of books and professional experiences with children. Bianca partners with Luisa LaFleur, another mom who is quadrilingual and specifically focuses on multilingual and multicultural books. Books on the site are organized by age and category, and information about them is published in a blog format.
Education Oasis: The teachers at Education Oasis review and write up their thoughts about selected children's books to share with parents and other educators.
Building Rainbows: A site that's done for kids and by kids, Building Rainbows lists kid-written reviews and ratings for all types of children's books. The site helps encourage kids to read, boasts more than 40,000 total reviews, and is a useful resource for teachers and librarians as well as kids.
Library: Many school and public libraries offer incentives to kids who write up book reviews to share with their peers. Summer is the most common time of the year to find such a program in public libraries, but some places post reviews year-round and draw in kids with roundtable book-talk discussions and other events.
Writing book reviews for children's books is fun and fulfilling work. If you're interested in evaluating books and getting started with reviews, it's helpful to read published pieces in professional newsletters and newspapers as well as local magazines and more informal outlets. Practice writing reviews on your own, and compare how your thoughts of a certain book mesh with others.
Finally, you can attempt to pitch your reviews to local publications or newsletters. Send several review samples along with a resume and cover letter, and try to target publications that have a built-in audience for children's book reviews. If you'd prefer a more informal platform, try setting up a blog or sending out a periodic e-newsletter that includes your thoughts and reviews on new titles.