How to Write a Book Review for Parents
Writing book reviews is often a requirement in many children’s schools. It’s also an excellent way to help children develop their vocabulary, understand the plot and become more familiar with literary techniques.
Parents also find it useful to read book reviews before they decide whether or not a book is suitable for their child. These reviews offer a good insight into the content of books and can give you a heads up on any offensive material.
What is a book review?
Book reviews are a form of literary criticism, offering an assessment of a book’s contents and evaluating the author’s arguments. They are different from book reports, which summarize a book’s plot without the author’s critical point of view.
A book review begins with general information about the book, including its title and author, as well as a brief summary of the main theme or idea. Depending on the assignment, students may need to include other details such as the author’s background, the genre of the book, or whether it has been published before. They should also mention the book’s context, and the reviewer’s thesis statement regarding the book.
A good title is crucial to a successful book review, as it should be able to catch the reader’s attention and give them an idea of what to expect. Students should try to create a captivating title, but should avoid giving away too much of the plot, as this could spoil their readers’ experience.
How to write a book review
A good book review begins with a strong introduction. This can be as simple as a quote from the book or an explanation of an important term. You can also use this opportunity to state how well the book has achieved its purpose, compare it with other books on the subject and mention your personal experiences related to the subject of the book (but don’t give away spoilers).
The main body should include a brief outline of the plot without giving too much away. You can then move onto describing the characters, setting and any other aspects of the book that you found interesting or engaging.
The final section should be your opinion of the book and a recommendation as to whether it is worth reading. It is a great idea to encourage children to write their reviews in pencil as this will help them develop better penmanship and make the reviews easier to read.
What to include in a book review
The aim of writing a book review is to show that the reader has read the book critically and formed an opinion about it. A review should include a summary of the book’s plot, but should also analyze the characters, dialogue, themes, pacing, reliance on tropes and use of literary devices. It is important to include the author’s opinions in a review, but these should be supported with quotes from the book.
Children should not be encouraged to write reviews that are too long or complicated – they do not have the mental capacity for this. Instead, parents should help them to develop a plan for the review, which should include the introduction, the main part and the conclusion.
When writing a book review, it is helpful to include a rating of the book – for example, one out of five stars. This will help readers to decide whether the book is right for them.
How to read a book review
Children who love a book often want to share their thoughts with others. This could be by telling their friends, posting online or even writing to the author!
It’s important to make sure kids are clear about what they’re saying – so writing a summary of the book is a good idea. This can help them develop their writing skills as well as being a useful tool to help other readers decide whether or not a book will appeal to them.
A simple way to do this is to split a review into sections e.g. plot, characters, setting, my opinion. This can also help to focus their thoughts and make it easier to write.
For example, a psychotherapist has recently published a guide to helping parents keep up with their children’s reading (and avoid inappropriate content). It has a very easy to read entertaining style and includes anecdotes from her own family and research.