The Importance of Book Reviews By PJ LaRue
When I searched the phrase “the importance of book reviews,” several pages of blog posts were at my disposal. But here’s the catch, in most cases, the only people reading posts about the importance of book reviews are likely to be authors. It is not a subject that would cross the mind of readers.
I didn’t understand the importance of book reviews until I self-published my books. Before that, I might have written a review for a superior or inferior product or service, primarily to provide feedback to a person’s manager, but I wouldn’t have given a thought to writing a book review.
What is the importance of book reviews and why am I asking you to consider writing them? Let’s quickly state the obvious and then talk about the benefits to teachers and students. Authors need reviews to help them sell books, especially unknown independent authors who need “word of mouth” exposure. Honest reviews help other potential buyers decided whether they or their child might enjoy a book. While bloggers create a buzz about books, authors also covet comments from readers posted on websites where books are sold because other readers are just a few clicks from purchasing.
All of the previous comments benefit authors, but what about the students and teachers? Where is the benefit for them? With a formal book review assignment, students practice reading comprehension, use their grammar skills to write book summaries, and practice giving constructive feedback with tact. Parents and teachers can determine whether their child/student understood the book, can assess writing skills and teach thoughtful communication.
But where does that leave protective parents who do not want their young children posting on the internet for safety reasons? Like any other question these days, just ask the all-knowing search engine behind the curtain: Google!
Where Can Children Safely Post Reviews?
Biblionasium is a COPPA-compliant website for children, parents, and teachers. COPPA compliant means that parents must register children who are 6 to 13 years old among other legal requirements. The website includes controls that help provide a safe environment, such as requiring parents to determine who can see their child’s name and school. The educational benefits include tools to track reading levels, as well as the child’s progress with classroom reading challenges.
The Spaghetti Book Club
The Spaghetti Book Club website, also designed for children, takes the creative process one step further allowing the students’ illustrations to be included with the book review, turning the project from STEM to STEAM.
How Are Book Reviews Written?
The ReadWriteThink.org website has an informative post that explains how to write book reviews. These reviews can be quite thorough including book summaries, the reader’s opinion of the book, and the appropriate age ranges or reading levels.
An Option for a Simpler Book Review
In closing, an easier book review may be “I liked this book because… ” or, “I didn’t like this book because…” with a few sentences filling in the details. These reviews are welcome, as well, because they tell the author if they hit the mark with the book. One last thought, please don’t put spoilers in your book summaries unless you call them out so that others can decide whether to continue reading your review.
About the Author
PJ LaRue wrote poetry in high school, but she discovered writing children’s books, self-help books, and short stories later in life. Her current works include the children’s book series The Mystic Princesses, a short story anthology called Point of View, and a book about her successful three-decade (and counting) marriage called After “I Do!” A Marriage Map. Ms. LaRue’s writing inspirations are travel, hiking, and photography, and her books link these interests to social issues such as child safety, bullying, and environmental consciousness.
To learn more about Ms. LaRue, please visit www.pjlarue.com. To download free coloring pages from The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool, please visit www.mysticprincesses.com</