Young Reviewers Program

Frequently Asked Questions

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Registration and Privacy Policy

  • Does it cost anything to participate?

    No, it is free to participate.

  • Is it necessary to reapply to the program every year?

    Since children’s interests and contact information changes from year to year, the CBC contacts past participants to submit new registration forms when the new review season begins, usually in the spring of each year.

  • What is your Privacy Policy?

    The CBC’s Privacy Policy respects confidentiality in order to generate honest reviews. The CBC asks for permission to share a child’s name, age, hometown, and reviews with CBC members at weekly meetings and in publications and announcements. Excerpts from selected reviews appear as a “Pick of the Month” on the Center For Children’s Literature Blog, on the CBC Awards, and through various social media outlets. In some cases, we share reviews with publishers, when asked. We want to encourage participation, so it is not required to give permission in order to join in the Program; in this case we will share the review without any other identifying information during weekly meetings with CBC members.

Completing a Review

  • Is there a deadline? How long does a child have to review a book?

    The short answer is as long as the child needs. The longer answer is that the CBC ends its review process in January for books that were published in the previous calendar year, so all reviews for books are due by then. The deadline for Award book reviews is early April, when the CBC presents award certificates to authors, illustrators, and publishers.

  • What if my kid isn’t old enough to write or has trouble writing?

    While older children can complete the process themselves, caregivers of our youngest readers play a key role in helping to find books, reading alongside their children, crafting a review, and returning completed reviews to the Committee. We want to cultivate a love of reading, so if a child has trouble writing, encourage them to dictate their thoughts to you. An alternative to writing a review is doing a video review – just keep in mind to answer the same questions that are asked on the review form. We always welcome adult feedback and comments on your child’s participation and book selections.

  • Are reviews for Award Books different from regular reviews?

    In addition to asking what a child liked/didn’t like about a book, for reviews of our Award winners (announced in January), we ask how well the books fits the criteria for that award: the Josette Frank award for fiction shows how a character changed throughout the book; the Flora Steiglitz Straus award for nonfiction asks how inspirational the book is; and the Claudia Lewis award for poetry looks at the quality of the writing.

Book Selections

  • What books are the CBC reading? Can my child read and review other books?

    While we encourage children to read any and all books, including books that were previously on our Best Books of the Year List and Award winners, reviews for books currently being considered for our upcoming List and Awards are most useful. The CBC reviews books published during one calendar year (January through December). In the spring of the following year, we complete our reviews, present the Best Books of the Year List, and announce Award Winners. We then begin the process again for the following year’s books.

  • What are the CBC’s book review guidelines?

    Visit the Submission and Guidelines page for a complete explanation of how the CBC reads and evaluates books for its Best Books List and Award books for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

  • Where do I get the books for my child to review?

    The CBC recommends book titles that are in need of review. Children are encouraged to find copies of the book at their school or neighborhood library or local or online bookstore. Sometimes CBC library is able to lend a book to a child to read; we ask that YR return these books in a timely manner (within 6 weeks) to the CBC by either dropping them off at our New York office or mailing them at their own cost.

  • Will the book that my child reads make the Best Children’s Books of the Year List?

    All books being reviewed by Young Reviewers are being considered for the List, but their inclusion is not decided upon until the end of the review process when the thousands of titles considered are  curated into a list of a few hundred books. A Young Reviewers opinion is seriously considered in this process and may tip the scale as to whether a book is accepted or not.

  • How many books are expected to be reviewed per year?

    Young Reviewers read at least one book a year, but are encouraged to read more. On average, a YR reads between 2 and 3 books a year. Some YRs read 5 or more books a year.

Teachers and Librarians and other Center For Children’s Literature Programs

  • I’m a teacher/librarian; can my class participate?

    Of course! When working with the program in schools and libraries, it is helpful to have an adult coordinate the process on that end – sharing the titles of books in need of review with children, shepherding the process of reading and reviewing books, and submitting finished reviews to the CBC. The criteria outlined in the Review Form is most helpful to the CBC, but some educators have set up more structure to their end of the program including offering extra credit for participation, asking students to add a plot or theme summary, requiring quotes and sourcing, or writing a response in essay form.

  • Does Bank Street have any other programs like the Young Reviewers Program?

    The Center for Children’s Literature has several other programs that encourage children to read. Several programs are geared towards teachers and librarians who guide their students through the book selection process: The Irma Black Award, focused on picture books for 1st and 2nd Graders, and The Cook Prize, focused on STEM books for 3rd and 4th graders.

Supporting the Children’s Book Committee and Young Reviewers Program

  • Are there other ways to support the Young Reviewers Program and the Children’s Book Committee?

    The Children’s Book Committee through the Bank Street Library welcomes donations to help support many aspects of the Committee’s work including the Young Reviewers Program, publication of the Best Children’s Books of the Year List, and celebrating the Children’s Book Award Winners at a spring ceremony. If you are interested in making a donation to the Young Reviewers Program, go to CBC Fund and choose “Children’s Book Committee Fund” and write “Young Reviewers Program” in the comments section.

  • Can Young Reviewers visit the Children’s Book Committee?

    Young Reviewers are welcome to attend the Awards Ceremony which happens in the spring at Bank Street College in New York City, where they can attend a Welcome Reception, get special priority seating in the audience, and meet the award winners!