Here’s How to Review Books for MiddleWeb

Find a great choice for professional reading!
Your book is free. We’ll send it by priority mail.
You set your own deadline.

Since we began our MiddleWeb book review program, we’ve posted over 1150 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 and our readers respond to your reviews, we hope you’ll become a regular here.

If you’re an education publisher and would like to have professional books reviewed, please contact co-editor John Norton <>. (Find more contact and submission information at the bottom of this page.) We limit our reviews to books about education practice, student success and professional growth. Of course, the opinions of reviewers are their own.

We add new books to our review stack every week!

We add new books to the stack every week!

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.

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:

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.

NOTE: In this challenging year we’re sending all books via Priority Mail to give you more time to read and reflect.

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 (50 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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.05.20 PM3. 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. Please use a block paragraph style (no indents) with a space between paragraphs. 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 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 Drive/Docs, be sure to invite our editor John Norton to the draft using this address:

5. Please give us 1-2 weeks to acknowledge your submission and provide feedback. Unless major changes are necessary, we may just make minor edits, add subheads, 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.

White laptop and coffee cup

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. Tell our readers 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


PUBLISHERS: Send review copy of books about professional teaching and leadership practice (grades 4-8) to:

John Norton
Book Review Program
MiddleWeb LLC
PO Box 549
Little Switzerland NC 28749

If you must ship by private carrier, we recommend UPS:

John Norton
MiddleWeb LLC
365 Witch Hazel Drive #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.


MiddleWeb is all about the middle grades, with great 4-8 resources, book reviews, and guest posts by educators who support the success of young adolescents. And be sure to subscribe to MiddleWeb SmartBrief for the latest middle grades news & commentary from around the USA.

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