Reader University: Review

Reader University: Review

This is the fourth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.
I’ve heard self-published authors mention before that one of the most valuable ways to support them is to write a review. An honest review can help an author sell more books. 
There are many ways to share a review. An easy place to begin:

  • online
  • at a book club
  • in person

I mostly think about online reviews after a book purchase from an online retailer. If you have a blog, you can write up a review too. I do this every Friday through the Perfect Picture Book Fridays list.
Book clubs are a great place to share reviews. When I lived in Texas, the local library hosted a monthly book review. Trust me, it wasn’t like a book report either. A couple of times, I was grilled about the books I shared. It kept me on my toes and really tested my affection for a book.
Word of mouth or “in person” recommendations are always good. I find the kid lit community is wonderful about sharing titles.
Reviews are a great place to learn about writing too. While some reviews can be nasty, there are often little nuggets of information writers can glean about the craft — characters, story development, and even genre.
Reviews often teach us that some readers will never be pleased with our stories. A little proof of this (and maybe a laugh too) can be found on Marc Tyler Nobleman’s site. Take a few minutes to watch children’s authors reading reviews.
How do you review books?
Reading: I finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth and went straight into Insurgent and Allegiant. I could NOT put it down. After the Divergent series, I may take a break this week from fiction. I’m leafing through the pages of the Lines of Defense Poems by Stephen Dunn. I still have The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on my Kindle. I read the picture book Stick! by Andy Pritchett a very cute story at around 15 words.
Reader University
If you missed any of the Reader University posts,

Xander’s Panda Party

Xander’s Panda Party

Hello Friday and Perfect Picture Book Friday:
My choice for this week:

Xander’s Panda Party
Written By Linda Sue Park
Illustrated by Matt Phelan
Clarion Books, September 2013
Suitable For Ages: 4 and up
Themes/Topics: inclusion/diversity, animals/panda, parties, zoo

Opening: “Xander planned a panda party. Yes, a dandy whoop-de-do!”

Brief Synopsis: Xander’s plan to host a panda party falls through, since he is the only panda at the zoo, but when he extends the invitation to all of the bears, complications ensue.

Links To Resources: The Smithsonian National Zoological Park page on Giant Panda’s.  Diversity in the classroom. PandaCam. (As I wrote this, the PandaCam wasn’t working, but this could be a temporary problem related to the U.S. Federal Government shutdown.)

Why I Like This Book: I heard author Linda Sue Park speak at the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI speak at the fall Letters and Lines conference. She shared Xander’s Panda Party during her address to the group. I know it’s easy to be impressed by a speaker and her work, but WOW. This is a fun story. It offers a different twist on a party and a zoo story. Plus adds in how to be inclusive, as Xander works through his party invitations. I wanted to get my hands on it to break down the page turns, but the conference bookstore sold out.

Amazon reports the book is 40 pages. The book has a two-page author’s note about the animal groups in the story. The illustrations are soft and fun. I’m traveling this week and as Enzo rebelled against the sheep being held captive in the Kindle, we visited the library with Grandpa. I went straight to the Ps to find this book there! I doubt I’ll be studying it much this week, but we will read it multiple times.

To find more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

This is my new blog. I haven’t participated in Perfect Picture Book Fridays since March as I finished website design classes and several project. If you want to keep up with other blog posts, please sign to follow future posts via the RSS feed or by email.