For the last year, I have had the opportunity to review children’s literature for a website called StoryLinks. The website was established by my monthly writing group, WriteLinks. StoryLinks aims to review children’s literature for 0 to 100 year olds, including picture books, junior fiction, information books, and YA books.
StoryLinks recognises the importance children’s literature has in helping young people to grow and learn and wants to champion books for the community.
How I got involved?
When I was asked if I wanted to read children’s literature and write reviews the answer was YES.
I read a lot of children’s literature, so this was my chance to advocate for books and support other children’s authors and illustrators.
As a teacher, writer and very cool aunt, I see this important connection in the lives of my primary school students and also encouraging my three nephews to love what they read.
I especially loved having the experience of my students thoughts and input when I was reading Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables Fight Back by Tim Harris aloud to my class and was then asked to review the book. Two of my students loved the book so much that they came dressed as the character Canteen Carol for Book Week in 2018.
How is reviewing different to reading?
When reviewing books, I need to read these books and think about what makes them work. Some of the questions I may ask are:
Writing the review
The review needs to contain many of the things I listed above. In the review I introduce the name of the author, illustrator, book title and what genre of book it is.
I give a summary of what the book is about, who the characters are, the problem and some of the main events. I also need to not give the ending away!
As a reviewer, I need to include a balanced opinion on how the book handles characters, plot, difficult topics, themes and additional information.
I also like to include what type of readers will appreciate the book and titles of books or authors who write in a similar style, so it is helpful for people recommending the book to others or to children.
It takes a lot of time to read, think and put all my thoughts down in a cohesive review, but the process doesn’t finish there!
After I’ve written the review, I send it to the editor of the website, Mia Macrossan for her final approval and changes.
Once this is done, the review is published on the website.
Here are the reviews I’ve written for StoryLinks: