Book reviews for kids serve the same purpose as book reviews for adults: letting readers know whether they'll like the book in question or not.
Using Book Reviews
When reading book reviews, keep in mind that a review illustrates one person's point of view. Even the most popular books in the world, some of which are deemed classic books for boys and girls, have their detractors, so just because someone doesn't like a book doesn't mean you won't like it, too. Use reviews to gather general information about a book and to see if it makes the book sound interesting enough to pick up.
The most helpful book reviews for kids will feature:
- Age range: Reading material varies widely depending on age. A suitable book for a six-year-old will not likely be something an eleven-year-old wants to read. Look for book reviews based on a child's age to weed out any books your youngster probably won't want to read.
- Basic plot outline or genre: A good review should give a clear outline of the plot, but shouldn't reveal any twists or big secrets. It's helpful to include the genre of the book if it's easily identified; this way, children who like science fiction or westerns can easily identify books of interest.
- Recommendations: When a reviewer recommends a book, it helps if they list reasons why they think other kids should read it. If they don't want to recommend it, they should explain why it's not a good book for others. The reviewer's opinion is an expected part of a review.
Where to Find Book Reviews for Kids
Adults can give their opinions on children's books, but not surprisingly, kids may be more receptive to book reviews written by their peers. These websites feature book reviews for kids on books of all types:
- Spaghetti Book Club is a great site for children to read reviews written by kids their own age. Reviewers are listed by first name or initials only, their age and where they live. Kids can also search for reviewers by grade level. Titles of books are organized in alphabetical order, including the number of reviews the book has featured. Reviews are typically short and to the point, with child reviewers telling what the book is about, whether or not they liked it and why.
- Kids Reads is another well-organized site listing hundreds of book reviews by kids. The title, author, number of pages and recommended age range is also listed, making these reviews especially helpful. Books for older children and chapter books may feature longer, more in-depth reviews, which can help older elementary students and middle-schoolers choose reading material they'll like.
- Building Rainbows currently offers over 40,000 reviews, written by kids for other kids. Quick links will highlight the highest rated books, highest rated illustrations and allow browsing in several different ways. It also includes a lesson outline for parents and teachers, to help children develop critical thinking skills when it comes to reading and understanding books.
- The Children's Book Review doesn't feature reviews by kids, but does offer helpful reviews written by grown-ups. Books begin at age 0 and go all the way to teen readers. Some books only contain a publisher synopsis by way of plot outline, but all contain appropriate reading level, number of pages as well as what readers can expect.
Helping Children with Reviews
Maybe you have a budding reviewer at home. Encourage your child to discuss any books they read with you. Ask questions, such as:
- What was the book about?
- What did you like about the book? What didn't you like?
- Who was your favorite character and why?
When children begin to think about the answers to these questions, they can become better at interpreting and comprehending what they read, which will serve them well into adulthood.