Children’s Literature Reviews for Parents and Teachers

There are a number of informative and interesting resources available for those who wish to stay informed about the wide variety of children’s and young adult literature now available. These are just a few that might be useful.

The Alan Review

The Alan Review is published by the United States based Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English. It publishes 3 issues in magazine form in the fall, winter, and summer of each academic year. An individual subscription is $20 per year, making it quite affordable, especially for a school or department.

Articles are peer-reviewed, and the organization requires that all articles be both scholarly and practical. Each issue is also themed, in order to create a more coherent and cohesive resource. The issues have a relatively loose structure, depending on the types of articles and the theme of the issue. A “From the Editors” section outlines the theme as well as introducing each article.

The other constant section is “Clip and File Book Reviews,” which provides standardized book reviews written by teachers for teachers. This would be a marvelous resource for an individual or a department to keep in a continuing file, building an easily accessible literary resource.

The articles in each issue provide insight and inspiration on how to understand, appreciate and teach diverse forms and specific texts in the field of Young Adult Literature. They tend to be easy to read, with subheadings to allow for quick reference and non-traditional elements such as pictures, text-boxes and bold-face quotes to make them more visually appealing.

More: Free Online Literature Reviews for Parents and Teachers


Bookbird is a quarterly publication by the International Board on Books for Young People, offering a global view that has given it the subtitle of A Journal of International Children’s Literature, previously A World of Children’s Books. It is themed by region or genre of literature, offering a history and study of that theme as well as new discussions of it.

It also includes a number of regular features, including a “Country Survey” that focuses on a specific country’s history and literature, an “Author Spotlight”, reviews of “International Children’s Books of Note,” and a review of “Professional Literature” that is of interest to authors and educators as well as academics.

This is all published in an easily accessible magazine format, enough illustrations to attract attention without the flashy colour and gloss that might compromise its low price and academic audience. It seems the perfect blend of academic and practical information for teachers to use, and is accessible and affordable enough, at US$50 per year, to prove an invaluable resource for individual use.

Book Links

Book Links: Connecting Books, Libraries and Classrooms is a quarterly magazine published by the American Library Association. At $9 per issue or $110 for an annual subscription that includes 22 issues of Booklist, these magazines are probably best bought one at a time unless the school has a subscription, as they are thematically organized by subject. That said, each issue contains valuable information that could be applied in any classroom, as no subject stands isolated from the other material students are learning.

It is consistently organized into standard sections, not all of which are present in every issue, but which make it quick and easy to find whatever information is needed, or just to browse through at leisure.

“Spotlight on the Stars” offers reviews of books for all reading levels, from preschool to high school, with thematic links to other works and other genres. “Classroom Connections” are a number of short articles followed by excellent annotated bibliographies on specific subjects, that are also clearly identified by the grade and reading level. “Book Strategies” outline teaching methods for specific books or themes, providing an invaluable resource to all teachers and the possibility for an archival file of ideas and lesson plans.

Other sections include an author focus, a review of early book, “Points of View”, and other genre-focused sections such as “Poetry Place” and “Visual Learning.”

This format is good because it breaks up lists of reviews into easily identifiable categories, as well as providing ideas on how to use these books in the class. Also, the levels provided should not be constricting. Many of the books and lesson plans could be used at higher levels, which is especially helpful because few of the articles are actually classified as relevant at the senior high school level.

These and many other literature reviews can provide invaluable information about what books children should read and how their parents and teachers can help them get the most out of them.

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