For most children who have never written a book review, they find it challenging at first because they do not know where to start or what is expected of them. Book reviews are very important because they help other children wanting to read it get an overview of what the story talks about and if they would consider reading it. Here are my 5 easy steps on how to write a book review for kids.
Prepare to write a review
The first step is to actually read the story, but the most important thing is taking short and important notes you come across. This is a rough draft and should not be organized, but they are important. Classify the book in its specific genre of the field and how it relates to them. Most stories are written based on the works of their various fields. If it is discipline, consider how it compares to other storybooks related to this field. Check who the story was intended for, what audience was the author targeting. What is the style of their writing? The change in the viewpoint comes to considering the audience. The writer can cover several areas in the field of their books. Note what areas these are and what areas have not been covered and are their gaps. Consider how these gaps affected the storybook. The layout of a book is very important, does it have drawings or images which are secondary materials. Note the characters in the story, the setting, mood and plot, and the overall theme.
Note down the themes and quotes
Determine the reason as to why the writer wrote the story. What is the overall theme? What message do they look to pass across? What ideas have they explored in their book, note down the fundamentals and in some books there is more than one reason the author wrote the book. Themes can be easily found in the preface, introduction or any quotes in the book. Mark all quotes that you come across so that you can quote the most relevant in your review. You have to back up the review with quotes from the book. To come up with a theme, you come up with one word and expand it. Most quotes focus on a particular character or a particular theme. Take time to group the quotes relevantly theme quotes, character quotes and any other group of quotes. Analyse them and group them.
Write the main body
Since you have your quotes, theme and main points write the main part. Of course you can slot in a point in the introduction, but the best way is to start with the main part because as you write, you might notice a change in points such as you might have thought the storybook theme was around one main character then you realise most quotes are focused on another character and that would change the viewpoint of the story. Sometimes it can be that the information you have about the book is not sufficient to come up with a book review.
Write a Conclusion, heading, and introduction
Of course, you could write an ideal heading before this so that it guides you. So now that you have a rough copy of your draft book review, read through it and check if the heading fits or you need to change it. A good heading should have bibliographic information. You can use a standard heading. Write the introduction with the major relevant details outlined in the book. A good introduction should have these details
- The author’s background and how it relates to their writing.
- A short description of what the main part entails.
- Historical moments used in the book.
- Important points are written in detail in the main body of the review.
- Slot in your take or what you think about the book. As you write this part, be considerate, although it is good to start your discussion. You can criticise the author’s flaws, but you do not need to concentrate on them only flow up with compliments. If it’s all negative, it might put off the reader. Also, know that the author of the book might come across your review.
Write a conclusion, to sum up the whole theme, genre and what the point of the book is. Now that most of the things are in place, give a good short summary of the book. A good conclusion sums up the main character or points portrayed, introduce the conflict in the book and leave the reader of the review asking them a question. Evaluate any weaknesses or strengths of the book why you would recommend others to read it. You can rate it also.
Fine tune the review
The rough draft is not good enough, it’s time to revise and adjust it. Give yourself a break before you polish your review. You can take some days off writing and come back when you are fresh to polish it. First things first, start with a spell check and grammar. You won’t want to put off your readers because of poor grammar and bad spelling. Recheck the references and quotes that you have cited, you can check the book for any important quotes you overlooked. Look for a second opinion on your storybook review. Get someone else to read the review and critique it. With the feedback you get from your second opinion you can create the best final draft, which has a great flow and has an interesting perspective of the story.
When you use the same steps to write many book reviews they will never look similar because the stories are different with different characters and themes. A good book review should be a tip of the iceberg leaving the reader eager and looking forward to reading the whole book.