There are more great children’s books published than ever before, but how do you know which ones to read? Fortunately, there are many ways to access children’s book reviews today. Here are some of the best places to find children’s literature reviews.
Part 1: General Reviews of Children’s Books
In this first section of our roundup of the best children’s book review websites, I’ll be discussing posts that cover everything kids knowledgeable about.
As the name suggests, The Children’s Book Review is devoted to book reviews of children’s literature. With extensive coverage of all kinds of enlightened children, The Children’s Book Review makes it easy to browse books by subject and books by age, as well as “trending” books and “showcase” books. Your typical book review has the specifications (expected age, number of pages, etc.) and provides a medium-sized review with information about the author and / or illustrator. The Children’s Book Review is certainly one of the most comprehensive book review sites for children, and it complements its reviews with author interviews and curated lists.
Common Sense Media is an organization that examines media (books, television, movies, apps, games) with a particular focus on educating parents and other adults on “What Parents Should Know” vis-à-vis content warnings and the relevance of age. Some of the qualities covered by Common Sense Media include “Educational Value”, “Positive Messages”, “Positive Role Models and Representations” and “Language”. Common Sense Media’s emphasis on diversity is particularly noteworthy, with an invitation to reach out if they have “missed something on diversity”. Also of note, Common Sense Media is one of the few children’s book review sites that rates books using a star system. If you just want to quickly know how good a book is, go to Common Sense Media and find a book’s star rating.
Review of children’s books The Book of the Horn derives its name from “horn books”, which were among the first books designed to educate children. The Book of the Horn is a leading print and online publication for finding reviews of children’s books. The website of this valuable magazine is well organized, and you can find all the reviews in one easy-to-search database. For the best of the best, browse by The Book of the Hornthe favorite opinions of. If you purchase a paid subscription, you will have access to huge searchable archive of over 70,000 reviews, known as “The Guide”. There you can browse book reviews by author / illustrator, subject, series, and review. While some reviews cost a subscription, some content, such as “Book Bundles” (see the one on “Our bodies, ourselves” for example), which are a collection of like-minded books based on themes and include bite-sized reviews, are available for free.
One of the leading book review sites for all genres and ages, Kirkus has plenty of content for kids. Kirkus allows you to easily sort by different categories such as age, format (picture book, chapter book, etc.), sub-genre (biographies and memoirs, historical fiction) and category (eg, fiction vs non-fiction). You can also filter by which books get a coveted Kirkus star. What’s great about Kirkus’ unique format is that each review is brief and gets straight to the point. If you don’t want to search for the end result, Kirkus for Kids reviews are a good place to start.
If you’re looking for the liveliest children’s books, check out Children’s Bookshelf, the free weekly newsletter of Editors Weekly. This publication is known for its late-breaking discussions on the publishing industry, including children’s books, which are reviewed in round-ups, as well as all manner of book content. One of the best ways to stay up to date with children’s news is subscribing to Children’s Bookshelf.
Leave it to librarians to guide you on which children’s books to read. The long term School Library Journal has tons of reviews of every type of children’s book imaginable. With particular emphasis on advising libraries whether or not to buy a book, School Library Journal prepares take-out bites (known as “VERDICT”) at the end of each exam. School Library Journal also has tons of non-reviewable content, keeping you up to date with the latest news in the world of children’s literature.
Part 2: Special Themed Children’s Book Review Websites
In this section, I’ll highlight where to go for more specialized coverage for children.
This phenomenal site is focused on promoting the best children’s literature by Indigenous authors and illustrators. Search the site for specific topics or go directly to “Best books” for the books that most deserve to be celebrated.
The Brown Bookshelf is dedicated to presenting illuminated children’s book reviews by black authors and illustrators. Start by searching the site or filtering book reviews. The Brown Bookshelf also compiles great resources to find more children’s books from Black Voices. You will find the most recent coverage at the blog.
Although no longer updated, the disability book reviews in Kid Lit are worth checking out if you’re looking for children’s book reviews about protagonists with disabilities. You can use the well indexed search function and browse through the different disabilities based on the condition or identity you are looking for. Also note, the “Roll of honor” highlights the best representation of disability in enlightened children.
Critics and writers at Hijabi Librarians have looked at children’s books and YA with a Muslim portrayal. With author interviews and discussion guide book, Hijabi Librarians includes book reviews and resources for Muslim voices in children’s literature.
Looking for coverage of Latinx authors and illustrators in children’s literature? Definitely be sure to check out Latinx in Kid Lit. This resource compiles reviewed books that feature a Latinx representation. You can search by age range – for example, medium level books – and note that each review includes “Tips for teachers” for educators. Latinx in Kid Lit Blog Also features tons of great content, including interviews, Latinx book deals, and publishing industry news specific to the creators of Latinx.
Social Justice Books focuses on… you guessed it, social justice in children’s literature! This site is full of great advice on the best children’s social justice topics, such as book lists by topic. To verify the book reviews database, which regroups reviews and is organized by themes such as “Activism”, “Asian American” and “Bullying”. Each book is given a star rating, which makes it easy to navigate if you’re just looking for the best reads.
Special Focus: Must-See Resources for Diversity in Children’s Literature
Best-selling and award-winning author Cynthia Leitich Smith maintains a website dedicated to books for children and young adults. On Cynsations you will find a wide range of content, including various author / illustrator interviews and news summaries.
Already highlighted above, Social Justice Books is a great resource for finding various children’s book reviews with a focus on social justice. But I also wanted to highlight their source list for various children’s book reviews if you’re looking for even more sources of diverse children’s literature.
We Need Diverse Books is a non-profit alliance promoting diversity in children’s and children’s literature. Although We Need Diverse Books do not publish book reviews, they do have an exceptional set of resources for diversity in children’s literature that should be a stop on anyone’s path to finding more diverse children’s literature.
Part 3: Review of Children’s Books Social Media Accounts to Check Out
Instagram is a great resource for finding reviews of children’s books. A wide range of educators, booksellers, librarians and many more promote great children’s books. Here are some of Book Riot’s favorite children’s book review influencers to follow on Instagram.
@babylibrarians – Margaret and Jen
Led by Book Riot writers Margaret Kingsbury and Jen Sherman, Baby Librarians will bring you up to date with the best and latest in children’s literature.
@hereweread – Charnaie Gordon
Charnaie Gordon is a leading book influencer who focuses on diversity in children’s literature. You won’t want to miss the books she loves.
@leeandlowbooks – Lee and Low Books
Lee and Low Books, owned by POC, is a publisher of children’s books dedicated to diversity. They feature the best of the best books on their Instagram.
@lgbtqkidlit – Laurie and Julie
This account is run by two moms and features reviews of children’s books with queer themes.
@littlefeministbookclub – Small feminist book club
As the name suggests, Little Feminist Book Club is dedicated to sharing the best children’s books with feminist themes.
@noodlenutskidsbooks – Jenn S.
Jenn S. writes book reviews of new diversity-focused picture books.
@readwithriver – Alessandra Requena
This Bookstagrammer promotes the best children’s books.
@shelvesofcolor – Saranya and Ishaan
Saranya and Ishaan review various children’s books on Bookstagram.
@thebookwrangler – Mike
The Mike behind this popular bookstagram account is a K-5 librarian who shares his favorite recent readings.
@thetututueacher – Vera Ahiyya
Educator Vera Ahiyya shares various book reviews on Instagram.
Still looking for other great children’s books? Check out our archive of children’s books, as well as these helpful articles: