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Encouraging book talk in the school library
Encouraging book talk in the school library

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2 Book reviews

The comments below all relate to the same book, Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech, and have been made by pupils at Churchill Community School, North Somerset – the ‘Churchill Chatterboxes’.

A captivating yet far-fetched book, I feel this would suit most younger readers but older readers would want something more demanding. (Margaret)

I think Ruby Holler is a very moving book, especially when Dallas can tell that Florida is in trouble. I would say that is good enough to take up some space on your bookshelf. (Alice)

Ruby Holler is a book about twin orphans who are sent to an elderly couple. This is a good book because it brings to the reader a sense of what it is like to be an orphan. (Becky)

Writing reviews and sharing opinions about what they read is a good way to get pupils talking about books and introducing them to the concept of literary criticism.

Here's one example of a website with reviews of books suitable for various ages:

The Children's Book Review [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Children often find it easier to write a book review if they have a framework to write to. You can see various examples online, such as this person's template on the TES website.

The Toppsta website has lists of recommendations for various ages, and many reviews written by children. It provides an online form for pupils to submit their own reviews. Go to:


There are plenty of places on the web where children can find reading suggestions that will help them to develop their own taste in reading.

The Guardian's website has a children's books section, which can be filtered into articles relevant to different age bands; it contains news and reviews, about a variety of new books and classics.

The Guardian

UK Children's Books (formerly known as The Word Pool) arranges its lists by topic and type rather than age.

UK Children's Books

The Reading Is Fundamental project has age-related lists plus suggestions for motivating children to read, books for reading aloud and seasonal ideas.

Reading is Fundamental

Activity 2

Click on "view document" below and look at an example of a book review writing frame.

Now produce a writing frame or pro forma of your own to prompt pupils in your school to write book reviews. You might want to write different frames for different groups of pupils.