When Kids Write Book Reviews

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

Between Amazon, Goodreads, Tumblr, the New York Times and the New York Review of Books, it’s not hard to find book reviews.

But what about real reviews written by real readers of books for children under 13?

Biblionasium, the “Goodreads” for kids, has found a way, and as of today offers the ability for its users, all children under 13, to write reviews of books they read and share them with friends, teachers and librarians. Read more.

Because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, platforms aren’t allowed to provide kids under 13 with forums where they could inadvertently provide personally identifiable information.

To get around this, Biblionasium previously offered kids the ability to rate titles they read with options from a dropdown, for example, things like, “I loved this book,” or “this book was too long.” They could do basically the same when sharing books.

“We were getting emails at least once a week saying that they [the librarians and teachers who use Biblionasium to engage kids with reading] want the kids to write their own reviews, to have a voice to say what they wanted about the book,” said Marjan Ghara, founder and CEO of Biblionasium.

To protect privacy, reviews can only be shared within select communities on Biblionasium, as predetermined by educators.

According to Ghara, kids listen to book recommendations from their friends.

“Kids are less likely to abandon a book if it was recommended to them by a friend and they are more likely to read a book that was recommended to them by a friend,” she said.

With more children using the platform every day — it’s still small with nearly 100,000 kids and 20,000 educators using it now — one wonders if the future of reading and book recommendations is increasingly social.

“The present of reading is social,” said Ghara. “The activity itself is solitary, but your selection of what to read is very social already.”

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