Who are these children, you ask yourself? They are the students of two fourth grade classrooms at Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon, Maine. I’ve had an Advance Reader’s Review project running for 12 years now with Mrs. Perry’s class there. Each year Katie breaks down the reading levels and interests of her students and then I bring in a set of ARCs, talk about the publishing process, and then leave them for the kids to read and produce reviews. Afterwards we get together again, look at their reviews online, and talk books.
I look forward to the project every year as the kids have always engaged strongly with it bringing insight, honesty, and charm to the table. It’s a chance for them to learn about the book industry while participating in it at the same time.
This year we brought in two wrinkles. First the other fourth grade class at Cape Cod Hill, Mrs. Butler’s class, was also invited to participate. Second, rather than writing more traditional reviews, we encouraged the kids to think about the promotional aspect of the books. After all, the ARCs they were reading literally were produced and distributed to promote the not yet released books of which they were a mock-up. We asked the classes to create advertisements for these forthcoming books that were completely honest while capturing the essence of the books. I If you are wondering whether the end product is charming and wonderful the answer is below.