Aside from all of my reading for Children’s Lit class, I have really, really, REALLY enjoyed getting involved in the KidLit-o-sphere. Blogging about my reading has been so awesome.
So, for my independent learning project this semester I decided to create a book review site for kids. I wanted to do something that was a combination of blogging, book recommendations, book reviews by real people, and a haven for news and information about some of my favorite authors.
I took a few different journeys into Kid Lit to create my site.
- I compiled lists of “best children’s books” from across the internet. Of all the lists, I felt like the one with the most breadth was the list I chose for my challenge – Amazon’s Top 100 Children’s Books. It featured books from the other lists I investigated (Time’s list is another for example). I re-created the list on the Top Books Lists page of my site.
- I created a page that explored the ALA medals for children’s literature. The Honored Books page has a quick description of the award, an image of the medal, and a list of the most recent winner and honor books.
- I made a list of my favorite authors. I then did a web search about each of these authors and gave them their own Author Bio page. I learned about authors from Dan Santat to J.K. Rowling to Dr. Seuss. The Author Bio page includes a picture, some basic facts about the author, a selection of their books, and links to more information – including their websites and Twitter profiles.
- Since I have experienced and found so many wonderful people on the KidLit-o-sphere, I decided that I needed a page to showcase these amazing people. I created Kid Lit on the Web page that has links to some of my favorites. I also discovered a class of 5th graders who give quick snippets of their book reviews on the web. They were gracious enough to allow me to link to their amazing site!
The Review Piece
One of the best things about this Children’s Lit class has been the chance to read everyone’s reviews of books. I’ve also delved into the review areas of sites like Goodreads and Amazon.
I wanted a place where kids (and Kid Lit Lovers) can give their real reviews. I wanted many different people to give me reviews and I want real people to be able to add reviews.
Yet, I struggled with the issue of how to make a site that would protect people’s privacy. I wanted everyone to be able to share their review – young or old – but I also didn’t want anybody to post all the time, making for a blog administration nightmare. So, I came up with a plan.
I have created the Leave A Review page. People are required to leave the name of the book and the review they would like to leave. These will be sent to me and I will edit for clarity/suitability and then post it.
Finding Some Reviews
My final process and investigation was finding some real, actual reviews. Well, how did I do this? First, I sent out a Facebook plea – I asked family and friends to tell me their favorite book(s) and why. Secondly, I started asking people I work with (an amazing group of teachers) what their favorite books were and why. Finally, I asked anyone I know with children what books their kids like and why.
I took this information and created the In The Wild Reviews page. This is where people’s reviews will go! I hope that this page continues to grow.
What did I learn?
I learned so many things. Guess it is time for another list!
- I learned that creating a site for people to submit reviews was a bit of a challenge. I had used Weebly to create a site for another class and I found it very difficult to navigate and create. So, I created another WordPress site. Since WordPress is built for blogging, it made it difficult to create static pages and links. But, I did my best – creating something that seems like it will work.
- People love to talk about their favorite books. They especially like to talk about their favorite children’s books.
- There is so much available online that it wasn’t necessary to re-create everything. I found that author websites were an excellent place to learn about the authors and discover a bit about their personalities.