Reviewer Guidelines

We are looking for reviews written for an adult professional audience (librarians, teachers, students of children’s literature/publishing and research scholars) as well as interested parents that are more than merely descriptive – they have to be evaluative and emphatic. Each point should be substantiated with evidence from the book. Here are some guidelines that will help.

  1. Bibliographic information: Include the following information about the book - title, name of author/illustrator, publisher, year of publishing, no. of pages, target age group, price of the book.
  2. Word count of reviews:

    • Picture books- 300-500 words
    • Novels (YA, nonfiction)- 500- 1000 words
    • Education - Minimum of 300 words, word limit depends on the scope of the book
  3. Use precise adjectives while writing. Avoid ambiguous terms such as pretty, beautiful, good, and wonderful that are used without explanation. Avoid using the first person (I, me, my) as it is clear that a review is one person’s opinion and doesn’t have to be restated.
  4. Content and theme: Give a content summary without giving away the surprises/twists in the plot. Content summary of an informational book should describe the scope of the work, emphasizing predominant topics and viewpoints.
  5. Describe the theme of the book as it helps in understanding the purpose of the book and then go on to discussing if it works or not giving reasons.
  6. Discuss the characters – what is special about them, are they stereotypical, are they believable?
  7. If there’s anything about the book/story that is not appropriate or could be problematic explain why.
  8. How does the book work in the Indian context? Is there a disconnect? Does it work despite that?
  9. Writing style: Discuss the author’s style and appeal. Is the language used age appropriate? Is that important in the overall context of the story? If possible, draw comparisons with texts written by the same author or similar texts written by others.
  10. Illustrations: If there are illustrations, describe them and if possible mention the style of illustration. Do the pictures and colour palette capture the mood of the story? Are they merely illustrative or do they take the story beyond the text, add another dimension to the text? Do the illustrations perpetuate stereotypes?
  11. Format: How does the book look? Comment on the overall design of the book, keeping in mind the importance of type size, font style and balance of picture and text in children’s books. Does the cover of the book work? Give reasons.
  12. Give your final remarks on the book based on the analysis presented. Suggest ways in which the book can be used by parents, teachers and young readers.
  13. Include a brief profile of yourself at the end of the review.

Not all of this may be relevant to the book you are reviewing, but please do keep them in mind!