Here’s How to Review Books for MiddleWeb
SUMMER IS COMING!
Find a great choice for professional reading.
Your book is free and we’ll send it to you by priority mail.
You set your own deadline!
Since we began our MiddleWeb book review program, we’ve posted over 1200 reviews of professional books of interest to middle grades teachers and school leaders. Who’s writing the reviews? Middle grades educators themselves. Who knows better what colleagues want to know?
Read on to learn how you can become a MiddleWeb book reviewer. If you enjoy the experience, we hope you’ll become a regular here.
Our Book Review Guidelines
Our books are provided by interested publishers at no cost to us. We don’t endorse the books, just offer them for review. We pay the postage to send them to you ourselves, so please ask for books only if you intend to review them! When you’re done, you may keep a book or give it away to a colleague.
How to Obtain Books to Read & Review
(and set your own deadline)
1. Visit our current list of books available (Google Doc). This list is updated daily, so we recommend you get in touch quickly if you see something you’d like to review. And check back frequently for new titles. Printing the list and browsing it later can cause confusion if books are claimed in the interim, so if you do that, check to see that your book is still available on the “live list.”
2. In our current list, click on titles to find out more about the books.
3. Select one book you’d like to request. You can include an alternate choice if you like (our review books are claimed quickly). Once you’ve reviewed your selected book, you’ll be welcome to select again. (Regular reviewers with three or more reviews published may ask for multiple books.)
5. Email us. Include: the title of each book, a reason why each book interests you, your target deadline for each review, and your postal mailing address. (We recommend a deadline of 4-8 weeks.) Janice, our book review manager, will let you know about availability.
Again, the email address for book requests is: email@example.com
We cannot send you books unless you include your complete postal mailing address! (Sorry for shouting, but some folks forget this essential piece of information.) And we can only send books within the United States and to APO/FPO/DPO addresses.
Submitting Your Book Review
1. Include book information at the top of your review, in this format:
Publisher, year published
Formatting: Please single space, with blank lines between paragraphs. No indents for paragraphs and no headers, footers, or pagination.
2. Include a 50-100 word bio about yourself and a headshot or similar photo, suitable for a small headshot. Here’s a sample bio (85 wds) — feel free to write your bio using your own style and voice. Be sure to mention your professional work. Honors and accomplishments are encouraged. Embedded links are welcome. Here’s a sample:
Kathleen Palmieri is a National Board Certified Teacher and NBCT Professional Learning facilitator. She is a fifth grade educator in upstate New York who reviews and writes regularly for MiddleWeb. With a passion for literacy and learning in the classroom, she participates in various writing workshops, curriculum writing endeavors, and math presentations. As a lifelong learner, Kathie is an avid reader and researcher of educational practices and techniques. She collaborates with colleagues and globally on Twitter @Kathleen Palmieri NBCT and expands her education adventures at www.kathleenpalmieri.com.
3. We’re often asked how long the review should be. We recommend 600-1000 words. If you don’t like a book and can say why succinctly, fewer than 600 words is okay. Our #1 tip for a good review: tell readers what’s in the book. Good example. It’s okay to say how the book helped (or will help) you but keep the needs of other readers in mind as well.
4. Send co-editor John Norton an email with My MW Book Review as the subject line. Attach the book review as an MS Word or RTF document. Please single space, with blank lines between paragraphs. No indents for paragraphs and no headers, footers, or pagination. Be sure to include your short bio and attach your photo.
If you prefer to share your draft review via Google Docs, please set access to “anyone with the link” or invite our editor John Norton to the draft using this address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Please give us 1-2 weeks to acknowledge your submission and provide feedback. Unless major changes are necessary, we’ll just make minor edits and post your review. Depending on the # of reviews in our queue, it could take several months for the review to appear.
We’ll publicize your review via Twitter, Facebook and in MiddleWeb SmartBrief (so be sure to subscribe). We’ll also send you the page link when your review is posted.
Some Writing Tips for Book Reviewers
1. Look at some reviews on our site or in other publications you respect.
2. Don’t obsess about length — we suggest 600-1000 words but if we feel you’ve written too much or too little, we’ll suggest ways to expand or contract.
3. Write in a relaxed, personal voice. Be professional but don’t feel compelled to write your review as formally as you might in a grad school class or for journal publication. Humor is good. Multimedia might be appropriate. Even an emoji.
4. If you don’t like the book, or don’t like parts of the book, or think the book is pretty good but could be better with some changes/additions, please say so. Avoid sarcasm, personal attacks, etc. but feel absolutely free to criticize ideas or delivery. If you totally love the book, gush if that’s your style. Or just be cool, collected and complimentary.
5. Feel free to tell stories from your own experience as an educator (or learner or parent, etc.) and relate those stories to the author’s messages and the book content. This will engage readers!
6. As you write, consider what YOU would want to know if you were reading the review. Think about who this book might benefit, and why and how, and address those points. It’s not much fun to read a review in which the reviewer is mostly swimming in his or her own fishbowl and isn’t tuned in to the audience.
Writing questions? Send them to editor John Norton at email@example.com
PUBLISHERS: Send review copy of books about professional teaching and leadership practice (grades 4-8) to:
9455 Hwy 226A #549
Little Switzerland NC 28749
We wish we had the capacity to review fiction and nonfiction written for tweens and teens. We don’t – but we do recommend the School Library Journal and the YA section at Goodreads.
Questions? Please contact co-editor John Norton <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The opinions of reviewers are their own. Any criticism is constructive.