How to Write a Book Report or Review

Book reports and book reviews are similar. Book reports tend to be a little more descriptive (What is this book about?) and book reviews are usually more persuasive (Why a reader should or shouldn't read this book). Both offer a combination of summary and commentary.
Each provides the reader a way to think more deeply about a book; and demonstrate your understanding.
You are free to use your own imagination and creativity in preparing your report.  A number of students have used graphics and power point in preparing their reports.

Report Requirements:
It must be written in blue or black ink or typed. The body should be 200 words minimum, double-spaced and the font “Times” or “Times New Roman” 12 point. The final manuscript should be carefully proofread. You will be penalized for uncorrected typing and grammatical errors as well as major errors in format. Preliminary drafts must be clearly labeled as such.

Header for the Paper           

               Book Report/Review                            Your Name Date
Class Period


Here you want to provide basic information about the book, and a sense of what your report will be about. You should include:

1. Title (underlined) /Author
2. Publication Information: Publisher, year, number of pages
3. Genre
4. Something about the author (found on the dust cover or research on your own.)
5. A brief (1-2 sentences) introduction to the book and the report/review.

This is an explanation of what the book is about. There are some differences between reports on fiction or other imaginative writing and reports on non-fiction books. For both, a good place to start is to explain the author's purpose and/or the main themes of the book.

For fiction or other creative writing:
Provide brief descriptions of the setting, the point of view (who tells the story), the protagonist, and other major characters. If there is a distinct mood or tone, discuss that as well.
Give a concise plot summary. Along with the sequence of major events, you may want to discuss the book's climax and resolution, and/or literary devices such as foreshadowing.
For non-fiction:
Provide a general overview of the author's topic, main points, and argument. What is the thesis? What are the important conclusions?
Don't try to summarize each chapter or every angle. Choose the ones that are most significant and interesting to you.

Analysis and Evaluation
In this section you analyze or critique the book. You can write about your own opinions just be sure that you explain and support them with examples. Some questions you might want to consider:

• Did the author achieve his or her purpose?
• Is the writing effective, powerful, difficult, beautiful?
• What are the strengths and weakness of the book?
• For non-fiction, what are the author's qualifications to write about the subject? Do you agree with the author's arguments and conclusions?
• What is your overall response to the book? Did you find it interesting, moving, or dull?
• Would you recommend it to others? Why or why not?

Briefly conclude by pulling your thoughts together. You may want to say what impression the book left you with, or emphasize what you want your reader to know about it.

Reading/Language Arts Framework for California Public Schools Standard 2.0 reads: Students read and understand grade-level appropriate material. They describe and connect the essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives of the text by using their knowledge of text structure, organization, and purpose.... In addition, by grade eight, students read one million words annually on their own, including a good representation of  grade-level-appropriate narrative and expository text....(p 161)
This book report format meets California standards as set forth in Reading/Language Arts Framework for California Public Schools for: Writing 2.2; Reading 1.0; Reading  Comprehension 2.0, 2.4; Literary Response and Analysis 3.1-3.5. (pp 161-163)