book report essay

How to Write a Book Report

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Book Report Fundamentals

Preparing to write, an overview of the book report format, how to write the main body of a book report, how to write a conclusion to a book report, reading comprehension and book reports, book report resources for teachers .

Book reports remain a key educational assessment tool from elementary school through college. Sitting down to close read and critique texts for their content and form is a lifelong skill, one that benefits all of us well beyond our school years. With the help of this guide, you’ll develop your reading comprehension and note-taking skills. You’ll also find resources to guide you through the process of writing a book report, step-by-step, from choosing a book and reading actively to revising your work. Resources for teachers are also included, from creative assignment ideas to sample rubrics.

Book reports follow general rules for composition, yet are distinct from other types of writing assignments. Central to book reports are plot summaries, analyses of characters and themes, and concluding opinions. This format differs from an argumentative essay or critical research paper, in which impartiality and objectivity is encouraged. Differences also exist between book reports and book reviews, who do not share the same intent and audience. Here, you’ll learn the basics of what a book report is and is not.

What Is a Book Report?

"Book Report" ( ThoughtCo )

This article, written by a professor emeritus of rhetoric and English, describes the defining characteristics of book reports and offers observations on how they are composed.

"Writing a Book Report" (Purdue OWL)

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab outlines the steps in writing a book report, from keeping track of major characters as you read to providing adequate summary material.

"How to Write a Book Report" ( Your Dictionary )

This article provides another helpful guide to writing a book report, offering suggestions on taking notes and writing an outline before drafting. 

"How to Write a Successful Book Report" ( ThoughtCo )

Another post from ThoughtCo., this article highlights the ten steps for book report success. It was written by an academic advisor and college enrollment counselor.

What’s the Difference Between a Book Report and an Essay?

"Differences Between a Book Report & Essay Writing" ( Classroom)

In this article from the education resource Classroom,  you'll learn the differences and similarities between book reports and essay writing.

"Differences Between a Book Report and Essay Writing" (SeattlePi.com)

In this post from a Seattle newspaper's website, memoirist Christopher Cascio highlights how book report and essay writing differ.

"The Difference Between Essays and Reports" (Solent Online Learning)

This PDF from Southampton Solent University includes a chart demonstrating the differences between essays and reports. Though it is geared toward university students, it will help students of all levels understand the differing purposes of reports and analytical essays.

What’s the Difference Between a Book Report and a Book Review?

"How to Write a Book Review and a Book Report" (Concordia Univ.)

The library at Concordia University offers this helpful guide to writing book report and book reviews. It defines differences between the two, then presents components that both forms share.

"Book Reviews" (Univ. of North Carolina)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s writing guide shows the step-by-step process of writing book reviews, offering a contrast to the composition of book reports.

Active reading and thoughtful preparation before you begin your book report are necessary components of crafting a successful piece of writing. Here, you’ll find tips and resources to help you learn how to select the right book, decide which format is best for your report, and outline your main points.

Selecting and Finding a Book

"30 Best Books for Elementary Readers" (Education.com)

This article from Education.com lists 30 engaging books for students from kindergarten through fifth grade. It was written by Esme Raji Codell, a teacher, author, and children's literature specialist.

"How to Choose a Good Book for a Report (Middle School)" (WikiHow)

This WikiHow article offers suggestions for middle schoolers on how to choose the right book for a report, from getting started early on the search process to making sure you understand the assignment's requirements.

"Best Book-Report Books for Middle Schoolers" (Common Sense Media)

Common Sense Media has compiled this list of 25 of the best books for middle school book reports. For younger students, the article suggests you check out the site's "50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12."

"50 Books to Read in High School" (Lexington Public Library)

The Lexington, Kentucky Public Library has prepared this list to inspire high school students to choose the right book. It includes both classics and more modern favorites.

The Online Computer Library Center's catalogue helps you locate books in libraries near you, having itemized the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries.

Formats of Book Reports

"Format for Writing a Book Report" ( Your Dictionary )

Here, Your Dictionary supplies guidelines for the basic book report format. It describes what you'll want to include in the heading, and what information to include in the introductory paragraph. Be sure to check these guidelines against your teacher's requirements.

"The Good Old Book Report" (Scholastic)

Nancy Barile’s blog post for Scholastic lists the questions students from middle through high school should address in their book reports.

How to Write an Outline

"Writer’s Web: Creating Outlines" (Univ. of Richmond)

The University of Richmond’s Writing Center shows how you can make use of micro and macro outlines to organize your argument.

"Why and How to Create a Useful Outline" (Purdue OWL)

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab demonstrates how outlines can help you organize your report, then teaches you how to create outlines.

"Creating an Outline" (EasyBib)

EasyBib, a website that generates bibliographies, offers sample outlines and tips for creating your own. The article encourages you to think about transitions and grouping your notes.

"How to Write an Outline: 4 Ways to Organize Your Thoughts" (Grammarly)

This blog post from a professional writer explains the advantages of using an outline, and presents different ways to gather your thoughts before writing.

In this section, you’ll find resources that offer an overview of how to write a book report, including first steps in preparing the introduction. A good book report's introduction hooks the reader with strong opening sentences and provides a preview of where the report is going.

"Step-by-Step Outline for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This article from Classroom furnishes students with a guide to the stages of writing a book report, from writing the rough draft to revising.

"Your Roadmap to a Better Book Report" ( Time4Writing )

Time4Writing offers tips for outlining your book report, and describes all of the information that the introduction, body, and conclusion should include.

"How to Start a Book Report" ( ThoughtCo)

This ThoughtCo. post, another by academic advisor and college enrollment counselor Grace Fleming, demonstrates how to write a pithy introduction to your book report.

"How to Write an Introduction for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This brief but helpful post from Classroom  details what makes a good book report introduction, down to the level of individual sentences.

The body paragraphs of your book report accomplish several goals: they describe the plot, delve more deeply into the characters and themes that make the book unique, and include quotations and examples from the book. Below are some resources to help you succeed in summarizing and analyzing your chosen text.

Plot Summary and Description

"How Do You Write a Plot Summary?" ( Reference )

This short article presents the goals of writing a plot summary, and suggests a word limit. It emphasizes that you should stick to the main points and avoid including too many specific details, such as what a particular character wears.

"How to Write a Plot for a Book Report" ( The Pen & The Pad )

In this article from a resource website for writers, Patricia Harrelson outlines what information to include in a plot summary for a book report. 

"How to Write a Book Summary" (WikiHow)

Using Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as an example, this WikiHow article demonstrates how to write a plot summary one step at a time.

Analyzing Characters and Themes

"How to Write a Character Analysis Book Report" ( The Pen & The Pad )

Kristine Tucker shows how to write a book report focusing on character. You can take her suggestions as they are, or consider  incorporating them into the more traditional book report format.

"How to Write a Character Analysis" (YouTube)

The SixMinuteScholar Channel utilizes analysis of the film  Finding Nemo to show you how to delve deeply into character, prioritizing inference over judgment.

"How to Define Theme" ( The Editor's Blog )

Fiction editor Beth Hill contributes an extended definition of theme. She also provides examples of common themes, such as "life is fragile."

"How to Find the Theme of a Book or Short Story" ( ThoughtCo )

This blog post from ThoughtCo. clarifies the definition of theme in relation to symbolism, plot, and moral. It also offers examples of themes in literature, such as love, death, and good vs. evil.

Selecting and Integrating Quotations

"How to Choose and Use Quotations" (Santa Barbara City College)

This guide from a college writing center will help you choose which quotations to use in your book report, and how to blend quotations with your own words.

"Guidelines for Incorporating Quotes" (Ashford Univ.)

This PDF from Ashford University's Writing Center introduces the ICE method for incorporating quotations: introduce, cite, explain.

"Quote Integration" (YouTube)

This video from The Write Way YouTube channel illustrates how to integrate quotations into writing, and also explains how to cite those quotations.

"Using Literary Quotations" (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison)

This guide from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Writing Center helps you emphasize your analysis of a quotation, and explains how to incorporate quotations into your text.

Conclusions to any type of paper are notoriously tricky to write. Here, you’ll learn some creative ways to tie up loose ends in your report and express your own opinion of the book you read. This open space for sharing opinions that are not grounded in critical research is an element that often distinguishes book reports from other types of writing.

"How to Write a Conclusion for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This brief article from the education resource  Classroom illustrates the essential points you should make in a book report conclusion.

"Conclusions" (Univ. of North Carolina)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center lays out strategies for writing effective conclusions. Though the article is geared toward analytical essay conclusions, the tips offered here will also help you write a strong book report.

"Ending the Essay: Conclusions" (Harvard College Writing Center)

Pat Bellanca’s article for Harvard University’s Writing Center presents ways to conclude essays, along with tips. Again, these are suggestions for concluding analytical essays that can also be used to tie up a book report's loose ends.

Reading closely and in an engaged manner is the strong foundation upon which all good book reports are built. The resources below will give you a picture of what active reading looks like, and offer strategies to assess and improve your reading comprehension. Further, you’ll learn how to take notes—or “annotate” your text—making it easier to find important information as you write.

How to Be an Active Reader

"Active Reading Strategies: Remember and Analyze What You Read" (Princeton Univ.)

Princeton University’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning recommends ten strategies for active reading, and includes sample diagrams.

"Active Reading" (Open Univ.)

The Open University offers these techniques for reading actively alongside video examples. The author emphasizes that you should read for comprehension—not simply to finish the book as quickly as possible.

"7 Active Reading Strategies for Students" ( ThoughtCo )

In this post, Grace Fleming outlines seven methods for active reading. Her suggestions include identifying unfamiliar words and finding the main idea. 

"5 Active Reading Strategies for Textbook Assignments" (YouTube)

Thomas Frank’s seven-minute video demonstrates how you can retain the most important information from long and dense reading material.

Assessing Your Reading Comprehension

"Macmillan Readers Level Test" (MacMillan)

Take this online, interactive test from a publishing company to find out your reading level. You'll be asked a number of questions related to grammar and vocabulary.

"Reading Comprehension Practice Test" (ACCUPLACER)

ACCUPLACER is a placement test from The College Board. This 20-question practice test will help you see what information you retain after reading short passages.

"Reading Comprehension" ( English Maven )

The English Maven site has aggregated exercises and tests at various reading levels so you can quiz your reading comprehension skills.

How to Improve Your Reading Comprehension

"5 Tips for Improving Reading Comprehension" ( ThoughtCo )

ThoughtCo. recommends five tips to increase your reading comprehension ability, including reading with tools such as highlighters, and developing new vocabulary.

"How to Improve Reading Comprehension: 8 Expert Tips" (PrepScholar)

This blog post from PrepScholar provides ideas for improving your reading comprehension, from expanding your vocabulary to discussing texts with friends.

CrashCourse video: "Reading Assignments" (YouTube)

This CrashCourse video equips you with tools to read more effectively. It will help you determine how much material you need to read, and what strategies you can use to absorb what you read.

"Improving Reading Comprehension" ( Education Corner )

From a pre-reading survey through post-reading review, Education Corner  walks you through steps to improve reading comprehension.

Methods of In-text Annotation

"The Writing Process: Annotating a Text" (Hunter College)

This article from Hunter College’s Rockowitz Writing Center outlines how to take notes on a text and provides samples of annotation.

"How To Annotate Text While Reading" (YouTube)

This video from the SchoolHabits YouTube channel presents eleven annotation techniques you can use for better reading comprehension.

"5 Ways To Annotate Your Books" ( Book Riot )

This article from the Book Riot  blog highlights five efficient annotation methods that will save you time and protect your books from becoming cluttered with unnecessary markings.

"How Do You Annotate Your Books?" ( Epic Reads )

This post from Epic Reads highlights how different annotation methods work for different people, and showcases classic methods from sticky notes to keeping a reading notebook.

Students at every grade level can benefit from writing book reports, which sharpen critical reading skills. Here, we've aggregated sources to help you plan book report assignments and develop rubrics for written and oral book reports. You’ll also find alternative book report assessment ideas that move beyond the traditional formats.

Teaching Elementary School Students How to Write Book Reports

"Book Reports" ( Unique Teaching Resources )

These reading templates courtesy of Unique Teaching Resources make great visual aids for elementary school students writing their first book reports.

"Elementary Level Book Report Template" ( Teach Beside Me )

This   printable book report template from a teacher-turned-homeschooler is simple, classic, and effective. It asks basic questions, such as "who are the main characters?" and "how did you feel about the main characters?"

"Book Reports" ( ABC Teach )

ABC Teach ’s resource directory includes printables for book reports on various subjects at different grade levels, such as a middle school biography book report form and a "retelling a story" elementary book report template.

"Reading Worksheets" ( Busy Teacher's Cafe )

This page from Busy Teachers’ Cafe contains book report templates alongside reading comprehension and other language arts worksheets.

Teaching Middle School and High School Students How to Write Book Reports

"How to Write a Book Report: Middle and High School Level" ( Fact Monster)

Fact Monster ’s Homework Center discusses each section of a book report, and explains how to evaluate and analyze books based on genre for students in middle and high school.

"Middle School Outline Template for Book Report" (Trinity Catholic School)

This PDF outline template breaks the book report down into manageable sections for seventh and eighth graders by asking for specific information in each paragraph.

"Forms for Writing a Book Report for High School" ( Classroom )

In this article for Classroom,  Elizabeth Thomas describes what content high schoolers should focus on when writing their book reports.

"Forms for Writing a Book Report for High School" ( The Pen & The Pad )

Kori Morgan outlines techniques for adapting the book report assignment to the high school level in this post for The Pen & The Pad .

"High School Book Lists and Report Guidelines" (Highland Hall Waldorf School)

These sample report formats, grading paradigms, and tips are collected by Highland Hall Waldorf School. Attached are book lists by high school grade level.

Sample Rubrics

"Book Review Rubric Editable" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This free resource from Teachers Pay Teachers allows you to edit your book report rubric to the specifications of your assignment and the grade level you teach.

"Book Review Rubric" (Winton Woods)

This PDF rubric from a city school district includes directions to take the assignment long-term, with follow-up exercises through school quarters.

"Multimedia Book Report Rubric" ( Midlink Magazine )

Perfect for oral book reports, this PDF rubric from North Carolina State University's Midlink Magazine  will help you evaluate your students’ spoken presentations.

Creative Book Report Assignments

"25 Book Report Alternatives" (Scholastic)

This article from the Scholastic website lists creative alternatives to the standard book report for pre-kindergarteners through high schoolers.

"Fresh Ideas for Creative Book Reports" ( Education World )

Education World offers nearly 50 alternative book report ideas in this article, from a book report sandwich to a character trait diagram.

"A Dozen Ways to Make Amazingly Creative Book Reports" ( We Are Teachers )

This post from We Are Teachers puts the spotlight on integrating visual arts into literary study through multimedia book report ideas.

"More Ideas Than You’ll Ever Use for Book Reports" (Teachnet.com)

This list from Teachnet.com includes over 300 ideas for book report assignments, from "interviewing" a character to preparing a travel brochure to the location in which the book is set.

"Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report" (National Council of Teachers of English)

In this PDF resource from the NCTE's  English Journal,  Diana Mitchell offers assignment ideas ranging from character astrology signs to a character alphabet.

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Book Report Writing

Barbara P

Book Report Writing Guide - Outline, Format, & Topics

15 min read

Published on: Jul 16, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 1, 2023

Book Report Writing

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Writing a book report can be a challenging task for students at all levels of education. Many struggle to strike the right balance between providing a concise summary and offering insightful analysis.

The pressure to submit a well-structured report often leaves students feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about where to begin. Unlike a book review that is longer and more detailed, the purpose of writing a book report is to summarize what happened in the story. 

In this blog, we will learn the book report writing, providing you with step-by-step instructions and creative ideas. Whether you're a reader or just starting your literary journey, this guide will help you write book reports that shine. 

So, let's dive in!

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What is a Book Report?

A book report is a written summary and analysis of a book's content, designed to provide readers with insights into the book's key elements. It's a valuable exercise for students, offering a chance to look deeper into a book's characters, and overall impact. Why are book reports important? They serve as a way to not only showcase your reading comprehension but also your critical thinking skills. They help you reflect on the book's strengths and weaknesses, and they can be a great tool to start a discussion.

How to Write a Book Report Outline?

Before you start writing a book report, it's crucial to create a well-organized outline. A book report outline serves as the roadmap for your report, ensuring that you cover all essential aspects. Here's how to create an effective book report outline:

How to Write a Book Report?

Writing an effective book report is not just about summarizing a story; it's a chance to showcase your analytical skills.

Let’s go through the process of creating a compelling book report that will impress your instructor.

How to Start a Book Report

To start a book report follow the steps below:

  • Pick the Perfect Book  Selecting the right book for your report is the first crucial step. If you have the freedom to choose, opt for a book that aligns with your interests. Engaging with a book you're passionate about makes the entire process more enjoyable.
  • Dive into the Pages Reading the book thoroughly is non-negotiable. While summaries and online resources can be helpful, they can't replace the depth of understanding gained from reading the actual text. Take notes as you read to capture key moments and insights.
  • Document Key Insights Keeping a physical notebook for jotting down important points and insights is a tried-and-true method. This tangible record allows for quick reference when you're ready to write your report.
  • Collect Powerful Quotes Quotes from the book can be the secret sauce that adds weight to your report. Choose quotes that align with your report's themes and ideas. These quotes will serve as evidence to support your analysis and perspective.
  • Craft Your Report Outline An book report outline serves as your roadmap for creating a structured and coherent report. Ensure it includes all the vital elements, from basic book information to your in-depth analysis. An organized outline keeps your writing on track.

Writing Your Book Report

Now that you've completed the preliminary steps, it's time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Follow these guidelines for an exceptional book report:

  • Introduction: Open with a captivating introduction that introduces the book, its author, and your main thesis. This initial "hook" draws readers in and sparks their interest.
  • Plot Summary: Concisely summarize the book's plot, including key events, main characters, and the overall narrative. Offer enough information for understanding without revealing major spoilers.
  • Analysis: The core of your report, where you dissect the book's themes, characters, writing style, and any symbolism. Back your insights with book quotes and examples, revealing the author's intentions and how they achieved them.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points, restate your thesis, and share your overall evaluation of the book. End with a thought-provoking statement or recommendation to leave readers engaged and curious.

Book Report Formatting

When it comes to formatting a book report, simplicity and clarity are key. Here's a straightforward guide on the essential formatting elements:

Book Report vs. Book Review - How Do they Differ from Each Other? 

The table below highlights how is a book report different from a book review :

What are the SImilarities between Book Report and Book Review?

Here are the things that are added in both a book report and a book review.

  • Bibliographic details
  • Background of the author
  • The recommended audience for the book
  • The main subject of the book or work
  • Summary of the work and the only difference is that in the review, a critical analysis is also added

Due to the similarities, many students think that both of these are the same. It is wrong and could cost you your grade.

How to Write a Nonfiction Book Report? 

Writing a nonfiction book report may seem daunting, but with a few simple steps, you can craft an informative report. Here's a streamlined guide:

  • Read Actively: Carefully read the chosen nonfiction book, highlighting key information. For instance, if you're reporting on a biography, mark significant life events and their impact.
  • Introduction: Begin with the author's name, the book's publication year, and why the author wrote the book. Create an engaging opening sentence, such as "In 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,' Rebecca Skloot delves into the fascinating world of medical ethics."
  • Focused Body: Structure the body into three paragraphs, each addressing crucial aspects. For instance, in a report on a science book, one paragraph could cover the book's key scientific discoveries.
  • Concluding Thoughts: Share your personal opinion, if applicable. Would you recommend the book? Mention reasons, like "I highly recommend 'Sapiens' by Yuval Noah Harari for its thought-provoking insights into human history."

Writing a nonfiction book report requires adhering to facts but can still be enjoyable with a strategic approach.

How to Write a Book Report without Reading the Book?

Short on time to read the entire book? Here are quick steps to create a book report:

  • Consult Summary Websites: Visit websites providing book summaries and analyses. For instance, SparkNotes or CliffsNotes offer concise overviews.
  • Focus on Key Details: Select 2-3 crucial aspects of the book, like major themes or character development. Discuss these in-depth.
  • Consider a Writing Service: Utilize professional writing services when time is tight. They can craft a well-structured report based on provided information.
  • Offer a Unique Perspective: Differentiate your report by approaching it from a unique angle. For example, explore a theme or character relationship that hasn't been extensively covered by peers.

While challenging, writing a book report without reading the book is possible with these strategies.

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Book Report Templates for Different Grades

Students studying at different levels have different skills and ability levels. Here is how they can write book reports for their respective academic levels.

How to Write a Book Report for an Elementary School?

The following are some book report templates that you can use for your primary or elementary school.

how to write a 3rd-grade book report - MyPerfectWords.com

How to Write a Book Report for Middle School

Here are the book report worksheets that you can use to write your middle school book report.

how to write a 6th-grade book report - MyPerfectWords.com

How to Write a Book Report for High School?

Writing a high school book report includes the following steps:

  • Read the book thoroughly and with purpose.
  • Make an outline before writing the report as a pre-writing step.
  • Follow the guidelines and the given format to create the title page for your report.
  • Add basic details in the introduction of your book report.
  • Analyze the major and minor characters of the story and the role they play in the progress of the story.
  • Analyze the major and significant plot, events, and themes. Describe the story and arguments and focus on important details.
  • Conclude by adding a summary of the main elements, characters, symbols, and themes.

How to Write a Book Report for College Level?

Follow this college book report template to format and write your report effectively:

  • Understand the Assignment: Familiarize yourself with the assignment and book details to ensure proper adherence.
  • Read Thoroughly: Read the book attentively, noting essential details about the plot, characters, and themes.
  • Introduction: Craft an informative introduction with bibliographic details. 
  • Summary: Summarize key aspects like setting, events, atmosphere, narrative style, and the overall plot. 
  • Plot: Cover the entire story, highlighting essential details, plot twists, and conflicts. 
  • Conclusion: Summarize the story and assess its strengths and weaknesses. Unlike a review, a book report provides a straightforward summary.

Book Report Examples

Book Report of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Book Report of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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Book Report Ideas

Basic ideas include presenting your narrative and analysis in simple written form, while more creative ideas include a fun element. Some notable books to choose from for your book report writing assignment are mentioned below:

  • "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
  • "1984" by George Orwell
  • "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
  • "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
  • "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling
  • "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
  • "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Anne Frank
  • "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien

Need more ideas? Check out our book report ideas blog to get inspiration!

To Sum it Up! Crafting a good book report involves striking the right balance between introducing the book, summarizing its key themes, and avoiding spoilers. It's a delicate art, but with the right guidance you can grasp this skill effortlessly. 

Need expert assistance with writing your book report? MyPerfectWords.com is here to help you out!

If you're asking yourself, "Can someone write my essay for me ?"Our professional writers have the answer. We can write a custom book report according to your personalized requirements and instructions. Get a high-quality book report to help you earn the best grades on your assignment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the parts of a book report.

A book report often contains different sections that describe the setting, main characters, and key themes of the story. A common type is an expository one which details what happened in detail or discusses how people feel about it.

Is a report a summary?

No, a summary is more detailed than a book report. A book report is usually based on a short summary of the book, while a standalone summary is more detailed and could have headings, subheadings, and supporting quotes.

How many paragraphs should be included in a book report?

The book report is a typical assignment in middle and high school, usually with one introduction, three body, and one conclusion paragraph.

The number of paragraphs could vary depending on the academic level, with an expert or professional book report having more than three body paragraphs.

How long is a book report?

It should not exceed two double-spaced pages, be between 600 and 800 words in length. Your book report is a written reflection on the content of a novel or work of nonfiction.

How do you end a book report?

Sum up your thesis statement and remind the readers of the important points, one final time. Do not add any new ideas or themes here and try to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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A Beginner's Guide to Writing a Book Report (with Examples)

Last Updated: February 5, 2024 Fact Checked

  • Researching
  • Drafting the Report
  • Reviewing & Revising

Sample Book Reports & Summaries

Expert q&a.

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Raven Minyard, BA . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,407,554 times.

A book report is a short essay that summarizes and analyzes a work of fiction or nonfiction. Writing a book report may not seem fun at first, but it gives you a great chance to fully understand a work and its author. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to write a book report, from choosing a book and outlining to drafting and editing your final paper.

Things You Should Know

  • Read the entire book and take notes on important themes, characters, and events. Use your notes to create an outline with evidence that supports your analysis.
  • Include the title and author in your intro, then summarize the plot, main characters, and setting of the book.
  • Analyze the author’s writing style, as well as the main themes and arguments of the book. Include quotes and examples to support your statements.

Researching Your Book Report

Step 1 Follow the requirements of your assignment.

  • For example, find out if your teacher wants you to include citations, such as page numbers from the book, in your report.
  • Ask your teacher how much of your paper to devote to summary versus analysis. Most book reports are direct summaries with objective analysis rather than your personal opinions. In contrast, a book review or commentary is more opinion-driven.

Jake Adams

  • Some popular books for book reports include To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Animal Farm by George Orwell, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Choose a book at your grade level.

Step 3 Write down the key elements of the book.

  • Author: Who wrote the book? Do you know any other works by this author?
  • Genre: Is the book fiction or nonfiction? If it’s fiction, is it historical, fantasy, horror, etc.? If it’s nonfiction, is it a biography, memoir, science, etc.?
  • Audience: Who would find this book appealing? Is it intended for a specific age range or gender? Do you typically enjoy books like this?
  • Title: Does the title catch your interest? Does it fit well with the book’s content?
  • Book Cover/Illustrations: What does the book cover convey and does it accurately represent the book? How do you feel when you look at it? If the book has illustrations, what are they and do they hold your interest?

Step 4 Read the entire book.

  • Take breaks while reading to keep your attention sharp. Try to find a pace that is comfortable for you. If you get distracted after 15 minutes, read in 15-minute intervals. If you can go an hour, read for an hour at a time.
  • Give yourself enough time to read the entire book. It’s very difficult to write a book report if you’ve just skimmed over everything. Don’t procrastinate!
  • Don’t trust online book summaries. You can’t guarantee that they are accurate or true to the text.

Step 5 Take careful notes when reading.

  • For example, look for a sentence that clearly describes a main setting in the book, such as “The castle was gloomy and made out of large black stones.”

Outlining Your Book Report

Step 1 Create an outline.

  • Introduction: Introduce the title, author, and publication information. Include a brief overview of the book’s genre and main theme, and state your purpose for writing the report.
  • Summary: Concisely summarize the plot or central idea, highlighting main events, characters, and conflicts. Focus on important aspects while avoiding spoilers.
  • Analysis and Evaluation: Evaluate the author’s writing style and use of literary devices, like foreshadowing, metaphors, imagery, etc. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the book and use quotes and examples from the text.
  • Themes and Messages: Identify the book’s main themes or messages and how they develop through the course of the book. Provide specific quotes and examples.
  • Character Analysis: Analyze the main characters in the book, their development, and their relationships. Explain their motivations, personalities, and significance to the story. Provide examples and quotes to support your analysis.
  • Personal Reflection: Depending on your teacher’s instructions, you might share your personal opinions and discuss what you liked and disliked about the book. Reflect on how the book relates to broader themes or issues.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points and conclude with your final thoughts or reflections on the book.
  • Bibliography: If required, include a works cited page or bibliography listing all the sources you used to write your book report.
  • Outlining takes time, but it saves you more time once you reach the editing stage.
  • Some people prefer to outline with pen and paper, while others just type up a list on the computer. Choose the method that works best for you.

Step 2 Intermix examples and quotations from the text.

  • Be careful not to overuse quotes. If it seems like every other line is a quote, try to dial back. Aim to include a maximum of one quotation per paragraph. Quotes and examples should still take a backseat to your summary.

Step 3 Don’t try to cover everything.

  • For example, you’ll likely need to focus primarily on discussing the most important characters or the characters that appear most frequently in the text.
  • When you are finished with your outline, go back through it to see if it makes sense. If the paragraphs don’t flow into one another, move them around or add/delete new ones until they do.
  • Also, check to see if your outline covers all of the major elements of the book, such as the plot, characters, and setting.

Writing Your Book Report

Step 1 Open with an informative intro paragraph.

  • For example, a sentence summary might state, “This book is about the main character’s journey to Africa and what she learns on her travels.”
  • Don’t take up too much space with your introduction. In general, an introduction should be 3-6 sentences long, though in rare cases, they may be longer or shorter.

Step 2 Describe the book’s setting.

  • Use vivid language when you can and include plenty of details. For example, you might write, “The farm was surrounded by rolling hills.”

Step 3 Include a general plot summary.

  • For instance, if the main character moves to Africa, you might describe what happens before the move, how the move goes, and how they settle in once they arrive.

Step 4 Introduce the main characters.

  • For example, you might write that the main character is “a middle-aged woman who enjoys the finer things in life, such as designer clothes.” Then, connect this description to the plot summary by describing how her views change after her travels, if they do.
  • Expect to introduce the characters in the same sentences and paragraphs as the plot introduction.

Step 5 Examine main themes and/or arguments in your body paragraphs.

  • You might write, “The author argues that travel gives you a new perspective. That is why her main characters all seem happier and more grounded after visiting new places.”
  • For fiction, determine if the author is using the story to pass along a certain moral or lesson. For example, a book about an underdog athlete could encourage readers to take chances to pursue their dreams.

Step 6 Comment on the writing style and tone.

  • For example, an author who uses lots of slang terms is probably going for a hip, approachable style.

Step 7 Write a concise conclusion.

  • Some teachers require, or strongly suggest, that you include the author’s name and the book title in your concluding paragraph.
  • When writing a conclusion , don’t introduce any new thoughts. Any important points should be made in your body paragraphs. Save the space for your recap.

Step 8 Include a bibliography, if required.

Reviewing and Revising Your Book Report

Step 1 Edit your paper.

  • Before you submit your paper, make sure that you’ve spelled the author’s name and any character names correctly.
  • Don’t trust your computer’s spell check to catch all the errors for you. Spell check can be helpful, but it isn’t perfect and can make mistakes.

Step 2 Ask someone else to read it.

  • If you’re nervous about asking, try saying something like “It would be great if you could go over my book report and make sure that it reads smoothly.”
  • Remember, no one’s first draft is perfect, so don’t get upset if someone suggests you do something differently. They want to help make your report the best it can be, so don’t take constructive criticism personally.

Step 3 Polish your final draft.

  • For example, double-check that you are using the correct font, font size, and margins.
  • Once you've finished proofreading, revising, and checking that you've addressed all the requirements, you're ready to submit your book report!

book report essay

  • Even though your book report is your own work, avoid using “I” too much. It can make your writing feel choppy. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • It might be tempting to watch the movie or read the online notes instead of reading the book. Resist this urge! Your teacher will be able to tell the difference. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

Tips from our Readers

  • Calm down and walk around if you get too frustrated while writing. If you write a book report while angry, you're more likely to misspell things!
  • Choose a unique book. Harry Potter or Percy Jackson is an absolute no. Everyone chooses those. Try something different!
  • Write when anything comes to mind! You don't want to lose your ideas!

book report essay

  • Stealing or using another person’s work is considered plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Make sure that the work you submit is all your own. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Give yourself plenty of time to write your report. Don’t wait until the last minute or you may feel rushed. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write a Comparative Essay

  • ↑ https://www.aresearchguide.com/write-book-report.html
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 24 July 2020.
  • ↑ https://grammark.org/how-to-write-a-book-report/
  • ↑ https://library.valleycollege.edu/elements_of_book_report.pdf
  • ↑ https://takelessons.com/blog/steps-to-writing-a-book-report
  • ↑ https://www.infoplease.com/homework-help/homework-center-writing-book-report
  • ↑ https://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/wlf/what-setting
  • ↑ https://www.tcc.edu/wp-content/uploads/archive/writing-center-handouts/essay-types-plot-summary.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.cornerstone.edu/blog-post/six-steps-to-really-edit-your-paper/

About This Article

Jake Adams

To write a book report, start by introducing the author and the name of the book and then briefly summarizing the story. Next, discuss the main themes and point out what you think the author is trying to suggest to the reader. Finally, write about the author’s style of writing, paying particular attention to word choice and the overall tone of the book. For tips on editing and polishing your paper before turning it in, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write the Best Book Report - With Examples

TeacherVision Staff

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Specific tips for writing effective book reports..

Write better book reports using the tips, examples, and outlines presented here. This resource covers three types of effective book reports: plot summaries, character analyses, and theme analyses. It also features many specific examples of how to structure each type of report.

Writing a Book Report

Book reviews can take on many different forms. Three types of effective book reports are plot summaries, character analyses, and theme analyses . Writing a book review helps you practice giving your opinion about different aspects of a book, such as an author's use of description or dialogue. You can write book reports of any type, from fiction to non-fiction research papers, or essay writing; however, there are a few basic elements you need to include in order to convey why the book you read was interesting when writing a good book report.

Character Traits List and Examples for Students - Printable PDF

Looking for printable book report outlines?

Our printable guide to writing a book report includes outlines, examples, tips, and all the elements your students need to write great book reports.

Always include the following elements in any book report:

The type of book report you are writing

The book's title

The author of the book

The time when the story takes place

The location where the story takes place

The names and a brief description of each of the characters you will be discussing

Many quotations and examples from the book to support your opinions

A thesis statement

The point of view of the narrator

Summary of the book

The main points or themes discussed in the work of fiction or non-fiction

The first paragraph (introductory paragraph), body paragraphs, and final paragraph

The writing styles of the author

A critical analysis of the fiction or non-fiction book

Three Types of Book Report Formats

A plot summary.

When you are writing a plot summary for your book report you don't want to simply summarize the story. You need to explain what your opinion is of the story and why you feel the plot is so compelling, unrealistic, or sappy. It is the way you analyze the plot that will make this a good report. Make sure that you use plenty of examples from the book to support your opinions. Try starting the report with a sentence similar to the following:

Try starting the report with a sentence similar to the following:

  • The plot of I Married a Sea Captain , by Monica Hubbard, is interesting because it gives the reader a realistic sense of what it was like to be the wife of a whaling captain and live on Nantucket during the 19th century.

A Character Analysis

If you choose to write a character analysis, you can explore the physical and personality traits of different characters and the way their actions affect the plot of the book.

  • Explore the way a character dresses and what impression that leaves with the reader.
  • What positive characteristics does the character possess?
  • Does the character have a "fatal flaw" that gets him/her into trouble frequently?
  • Try taking examples of dialogue and analyzing the way a character speaks. Discuss the words he/she chooses and the way his/her words affect other characters.
  • Finally, tie all of your observations together by explaining the way the characters make the plot move forward.

EXAMPLE Try starting the report with a sentence similar to the following:

  • In the novel Charlotte's Web , by E. B. White, Templeton the rat may seem like an unnecessary character but his constant quest for food moves the plot forward in many ways.

Exploring the themes (or big ideas that run throughout the story) in a book can be a great way to write a book report because picking a theme that you care about can make the report easier to write. Try bringing some of your thoughts and feelings as a reader into the report as a way to show the power of a theme. Before you discuss your own thoughts, however, be sure to establish what the theme is and how it appears in the story.

  • Explain exactly what theme you will be exploring in your book report.
  • Use as many examples and quotations from the book as possible to prove that the theme is important to the story.
  • Make sure that you talk about each example or quotation you've included. Make a direct connection between the theme and the example from the book.
  • After you have established the theme and thoroughly examined the way it affects the book, include a few sentences about the impact the theme had upon you and why it made the book more or less enjoyable to read.
  • In the novel Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry , by Mildred Taylor, the theme of racial prejudice is a major catalyst in the story.

No matter what type of book report you decide to write, ensure it includes basic information about the main characters, and make sure that your writing is clear and expressive so that it’s easy for audiences in middle school, high school, college-level, or any grade level to understand. Also, include examples from the book to support your opinions. Afterward, conduct thorough proofreading to complete the writing process. Book reports may seem disconnected from your other schoolwork, but they help you learn to summarize, compare and contrast, make predictions and connections, and consider different perspectives & skills you'll need throughout your life.

Looking for more writing resources? You can find them in our creative writing center .

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How to Write a Book Report

How to Write a Book Report

  • 5-minute read
  • 5th September 2021

A book report is an essay that summarizes the main ideas presented by the author. But how do you write a good book report? Our top tips include:

  • Check the assignment instructions so you know what you need to do.
  • Read the book , making notes as you go.
  • Plan your book report and create an essay outline .
  • Write up your report , using examples and quotes to support your points.
  • Revise and proofread your work to eliminate errors.

In the rest of this post, we look at how to write a book report in more detail.

1. Check the Assignment Instructions

Book reports come in many different types, so the first thing you should do if you’re asked to write one is check the assignment instructions carefully. Key aspects of the essay instructions to pay attention to include:

  • The required length of the book report (and any maximum word count ).
  • Whether you will be assigned a book to write about or whether you will be asked to pick one yourself (either from a list supplied by the tutor or based on a set of requirements, such as a book about a set topic).
  • What aspects of the book to write about (e.g., will it just be a summary of the book’s content, or will you also need to offer some critical analysis?).
  • Any requirements for structuring and formatting your report (e.g., whether to break the essay up into sections with headings and subheadings).

If anything about the instructions is unclear, check it with your tutor.

2. Read the Book and Make Notes

Next, you’ll need to read the book you’re writing about in full, not just skim through or read a synopsis! This means you’ll need to leave enough time before the deadline to read the text thoroughly (and write up your report).

When you are reading, moreover, make sure to take notes on:

  • Basic bibliographic details, including the title, author name(s), year of publication, publisher, and number of pages.
  • How the book is structured (e.g., whether it uses chapters).
  • The overall plot or argument, plus key ideas and/or plot points from each part.
  • For works of fiction, important characters and themes.
  • Significant quotations or examples you might want to use in your report.

Where possible, make sure to note down page numbers as well. This will make it easier to find the relevant parts again when you’re reviewing your notes.

3. Outline Your Book Report

How you structure your report will ultimately depend on the length (e.g., a short, 500-word report is unlikely to use separate sections and headings, while a longer one will need these to help break up the text and guide the reader) and the assignment instructions, so make sure to review these carefully.

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However, common elements of a book report include:

  • An introductory paragraph or section with basic book details (e.g., the title, author(s), genre, publisher, publication date, and intended audience).
  • Information about the author’s background and, where relevant, credentials.
  • An overview of the book’s plot (fiction and narrative non-fiction), or its main idea (other non-fiction), sometimes with a section-by-section breakdown.
  • Information on characters, setting, and themes (fiction and narrative non-fiction), or key ideas and concepts set out by the author (other non-fiction).
  • Where required, critical analysis or evaluation of the book.

When planning your book report, then, use your notes and the assignment instructions to outline your essay, breaking it down into clearly defined sections and noting what you will include in each one.

4. Write Up Your Book Report

When it comes to writing up your report, helpful tips include:

  • Imagine the reader will be unfamiliar with the book and try to ensure your report covers all the information they’d need to know what it is about.
  • Use clear, concise language to make your report easy to follow. Look out for wordiness and repetition, and don’t be tempted to pad out your report with irrelevant details just to increase the word count!
  • Use examples and quotations to support your points (but don’t rely too heavily on quotations; keep in mind that the report should be in your own words).
  • Follow the formatting instructions set out in your style guide or the assignment instructions (e.g., for fonts, margins, and presenting quotations).

If you use quotations in your report, moreover, make sure to include page numbers! This will help the reader find the passages you’ve quoted.

5. Revise and Proofread Your Work

When you have the first draft of your book report, if you have time, take a short break (e.g., overnight) before re-reading it. This will help you view it objectively. Then, when you do re-read it, look out for ways you could improve it, such as:

  • Typos and other errors that need correcting.
  • Issues with clarity or places where the writing could be more concise (reading your work aloud can make it easier to spot clunky sentences).
  • Passages that would benefit from being supported with a quote or example.

It’s also a good idea to re-read the assignment instructions one last time before submitting your work, which will help you spot any issues you missed.

Finally, if you’d like some extra help checking your writing, you can have it proofread by a professional . Submit a free sample document today to find out more.

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How to write a book report

How to write a book report

A book report is one of the first types of essays you probably learned to write in elementary school. But no matter how many book reports you turn in over the course of your student life, they can still inspire some anxiety and some confusion about the best way to write a book report, especially as you reach the high school and college level.

The good news is that the basics you learned in the early grades will serve you in good stead, since the book report format remains mostly the same. The very same structure and tools you used to dissect Charlotte’s Web and Superfudge will work just as well for Animal Farm and The Handmaid’s Tale . What changes is the depth and breadth of your analysis as a high school and college student.

So, If you are wondering how to start a book report for a college class assignment, here are some of the key pieces of information you need to know.

What is a book report?

Let’s start off with some definitions. In the most general terms, a book report is a summary of a written text, often a fiction novel, but can also include other genres such as memoir and creative non-fiction. It includes an analysis of the different elements and authorial choices that comprise the work, such as tone, theme, perspective, diction, dialogue, etc.

While the analysis should be reasoned and objective, it should also include your opinion and assessment of the impact and overall success of the author’s choices on the final work.

Book reports usually fall into one of the following types:

Plot summary

This type of book report isn’t just a re-telling of the story, it’s a comment on your overall impression of the plot — whether you thought it was engaging or maudlin or vapid, for example — backed up by direct quotes from the text to support your opinion.

Example of a plot summary thesis statement: The plot of Herman Melville’s short story, “Bartleby the Scrivener,” offers a poignant portrait of how depression robs a person of all motivation and momentum in life.

Character analysis

A character analysis zeroes in on a particular character (their characterization and actions) and their impact on the unfolding of the plot and its eventual outcome.

Example of a character analysis thesis statement: In J.D. Salinger’s novel, The Catcher in the Rye , the character of Phoebe, Holden’s bright and precocious younger sister, is a catalyst for rekindling his hope in humanity and reconsidering the choices he’s made in his life.

Theme analysis

A theme analysis looks at the overarching concepts, or themes, that run through a book and that give the text meaning and direction. Themes tend to be broad in nature, such as love, the importance of family, the impact of childhood, etc.

Example of a theme analysis thesis statement: Banana Yoshimoto’s novella, Kitchen , explores the theme of death and how everyone sooner or later has to come to terms with the mortality of the people they love as well as their own.

How to start a book report

The very first step in writing a stellar book report that earns a top grade is actually reading the book. This may seem obvious, but many students make the assignment much harder on themselves by not putting in the time up front to do a thorough and complete reading of the book they’re going to be writing their report on. So resist the urge to skim the text or to rely on the Cliff’s notes version. A nuanced analysis requires a deep grasp of the text, and there is no substitute for focused, firsthand reading.

It’s a lot easier to stick with a book that you enjoy reading! If you have the chance to choose the book you’ll be writing a report on, take some time to select a book that appeals to you, considering the genre, time period, writing style, and plot.

It can be helpful to start thinking about your book report while you are still making your way through your initial reading of the text. Mark down passages that provide key turning points in the action, descriptive passages that establish time and place, and any other passages that stand out to you in terms of their word choice and use of language. This makes it much easier to go back later and start collecting the evidence you’ll need to support your argument and analysis.

Once you finish reading the book from cover to cover, you’ll likely find that your mind is swirling with thoughts, impressions, and burgeoning analyses. At this stage, trying to distill all of these half-formed thoughts into one cohesive report may seem like a daunting task. One way to make this task more approachable is to start by collecting and listing the objective facts about the book. The following list covers the basic elements that should be included in every book report you write, no matter what topic or specific type of book report you’re writing:

  • The book’s title and author
  • The historical context of the book (when it was written)
  • The time(s) during which the story is set
  • The location(s) where the story takes place
  • A summary of the main characters and action of the story
  • Quotes from the book that will function as evidence to support your analysis

With all of the basics in hand, you can start to write your book report in earnest. Just like most other essay types, a well-written book report follows a basic structure that makes it easy for your reader to follow your thoughts and make sense of your argument.

A typical book report will open with an introduction that briefly summarizes the book and culminates with a thesis statement that advances an opinion or viewpoint about it. This is followed by body paragraphs that provide detailed points to flesh out and support that opinion in greater detail, including direct quotes from the text as supporting evidence. The report finishes with a conclusion that summarizes the main points and leaves the reader with an understanding of the book, its aims, and whether or not you feel the book (and its author) was successful in doing what it set out to do. Ideally, the conclusion will also make a statement about how the book fits into the larger literary world.

A book report template you can use for any book report

If you find yourself stuck on how to start a book report, here’s a handy book report template you can use to get things off the ground. Simply use this structure and start filling it in with the specifics of the book you are writing your report on. Feel free to expand upon this book report template, adding more sections as appropriate.

Introduction

Write three to five sentences introducing the book and author as well as important contextual information about the book, such as the publication year and the overall critical reception at the time. Finish the paragraph with your thesis statement.

Body paragraphs

Include at least three body paragraphs that offer detailed information and analysis to support your thesis statement. Each paragraph should contain one idea, backed up with direct quotes from the text alongside your critical analysis.

Write three to five sentences that restate your thesis and summarize the evidence you’ve presented in support of it. Relate your findings to a larger context about the book’s place within both the literary world and the world at large.

Frequently Asked Questions about book reports

A book report follows the format of most papers you write - it will have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Depending on the type of book report, you will fill these parts with the required information.

These are the basic parts that should be included in every book report you write, no matter what topic or specific type of book report you’re writing:

  • The historical context of the book and time(s) during which the story is set

The book report is, among other things, also a summary of the plot, main characters, and ideas and arguments of the author. Your book report should help readers decide whether they want to read the book or not.

How many pages a book report should have depends on your assignment. It can be a half page, but it can also have many pages. Make sure to carefully read through your assignment and ask your professor if you are unsure .

A book report is a summary of a written text. A good book report includes an analysis of the different elements and authorial choices that comprise the work, such as tone, theme, perspective, diction, dialogue, etc. A good book report helps the reader decide whether they want to read the book or not.

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Book Report

Caleb S.

What is a Book Report & How to Write a Perfect One

Published on: Jan 26, 2022

Last updated on: Jan 31, 2024

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Writing a book report is a terrifying experience for many students. The terror begins with reading and understanding what you're reading but then continues as your thoughts become paper in front of you.

Have you ever been assigned a book report and thought, ‘Ugh! This is going to be terrible?’ Well, we're here to help. 

Below you can find a helpful guide to understand how to write a perfect report. Here we have also provided some sample book reports and a free book report template for your help. 

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What is a Book Report?

A book report is an informative piece of writing that summarizes the novel and presents some brief analysis on its main elements like plot, setting, characters.

This could either be a work of fiction or nonfiction with a tone covering everything from serious to humorous.

A book review is not the same as a book report.

Although they may look similar, one requires in-depth analysis and an objective point of view while the other is more descriptive and subjective.

Some course instructors may ask students to add relevant themes of the book and plot elements into their book reports. But, on a very basic level, a book report is an extremely simple form of review for any given text - no matter what its genre or author.

How does a book report writing benefit you?

Writing a good report will help students to improve their analytical and communication skills. They also get the opportunity to practice expressing themselves through creative or critical thought about the different aspects of books they read.

Assessing the Book Before Writing the Review 

Before delving into the content of a book, it's essential to gather some key information. Begin by noting the following details:

  • Author: Who authored the book? Are you familiar with any other works by this author?
  • Genre: What category does the book fall into—fiction, nonfiction, biography, etc.? 
  • Which audience would find this type of book appealing? Is this your typical genre preference? Do you enjoy reading books within this genre?
  • Title: How does the title impact you? Does it pique your interest? Does it align well with the book's content?
  • Pictures/Book Jacket/Cover/Printing: Analyze the book jacket or cover. What does it convey? Is it an accurate representation of the book? Did it generate excitement for you to read it? Are there any illustrations or images within the book? If so, what type are they, and do they captivate your interest?

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Book Report Outline

Writing a book report becomes more manageable when you follow a structured outline. Here's an outline you can use as a guideline for your book report:

How to Write a Book Report? - H2

Writing a book report involves several key steps that can help you effectively communicate your understanding and analysis of a book. Here's a guide on how to write a book report:

Introduction

  • Begin with an engaging introductory paragraph that includes the book's title, author, and publication information.
  • Provide a brief overview of the book's genre and main theme.
  • Include any initial reactions or expectations you had before reading the book.
  • Summarize the main plot or central idea of the book without giving away major spoilers.
  • Highlight key events, conflicts, and characters that drive the narrative.
  • Focus on the most significant aspects of the story and avoid excessive details.

Analysis and Evaluation

  • Analyze the author's writing style, storytelling techniques, and use of literary devices.
  • Discuss the book's strengths and weaknesses, supporting your statements with examples from the text.
  • Evaluate how effectively the author conveys their message and engages the reader.
  • Consider the book's impact on you personally and its relevance to broader themes or issues.

Themes and Messages

  • Identify the main themes or messages explored in the book.
  • Discuss how these themes are developed throughout the narrative.
  • Provide specific examples or quotes to support your analysis.

Character Analysis

  • Analyze the main characters in the book, their development, and their relationships.
  • Discuss their motivations, personalities, and how they contribute to the story.
  • Use examples and quotes to illustrate your points.
  • Summarize your main points and overall assessment of the book.
  • Offer your personal opinion on the book, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Reflect on the impact the book had on you and who you would recommend it to.

Formatting and Proofreading

  • Structure your book report into paragraphs with clear topic sentences.
  • Check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
  • Ensure your report is well-organized and follows a logical flow.
  • Citations may be required if you quote or reference specific passages from the book.

Remember, a book report is not just a summary; it also involves critical analysis and interpretation. 

By following these steps, you can create a comprehensive and insightful book report that effectively conveys your understanding.

Book Report Examples

Before you head into the writing process of your book report, it's a great idea to take some time and look at examples of other people's book reports.

In this way, you'll see how others have written their own work in an engaging manner that will inspire creativity on your part as well.

Book Report Sample

Book Report on Harry Potter

Book Report on Matilda

Book Report on Pride and Prejudice

Book Report for Kids

Book Report MLA Format

Book Report Worksheet

High School Book Report Template

Non-Fiction Book Report Template

Book Report Template 4th Grade

3rd Grade Book Report Template

Book Report Ideas

Picking a book for your report can be an intimidating task. You don't have any idea which books to read or what the professor will prefer, but there are some ideas of different subjects you could write about:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Fault in Our Stars book report
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Hunger Games book report
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Charlotte's webbook report

If you are still not sure about how to write a book report that will help you earn an A, then our essay writer AI is the perfect solution for you. Consider taking professional essay writing assistance from one of our experienced writers who specialize in this area.

No matter if you need help with your college essay, book review, book report, or full-length research paper, we provide essay writing service for students . Contact our expert essay writing service today to get the best assistance with all your academic tasks! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main parts of a book report.

The main parts of a book report are the bibliography, characters, setting, themes, and plot. These four elements form a descriptive book report. However, most reports that you will read in high school or college are expository-based, meaning they explore an idea rather than discuss it. 

Are book reports essays?

A book report is, quite simply, an essay about a book. A book report is a type of essay that students are asked to write by their teachers. Different formats for this writing assignment may be used, but the most common one is expository style (i.e., telling about something). 

How long should a book report be?

Your book report should not exceed two double-spaced pages, and it should be somewhere between 600 and 800 words in length. 

What is a thesis in a book report?

After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic. This sentence is the thesis statement and serves as an overview of what will be discussed in this paper. 

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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing a Book Report

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This resource discusses book reports and how to write them.

Book reports are informative reports that discuss a book from an objective stance. They are similar to book reviews but focus more on a summary of the work than an evaluation of it. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, thesis, and/or main idea of the work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment and range from 250 to 500 words.

Book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. If you are looking to write a book review instead of a book report, please see the OWL resource, Writing a Book Review .

Before You Read

Before you begin to read, consider what types of things you will need to write your book report. First, you will need to get some basic information from the book:

  • Publisher location, name of publisher, year published
  • Number of Pages

You can either begin your report with some sort of citation, or you can incorporate some of these items into the report itself.

Next, try to answer the following questions to get you started thinking about the book:

  • Author: Who is the author? Have you read any other works by this author?
  • Genre: What type of book is this: fiction, nonfiction, biography, etc.? What types of people would like to read this kind of book? Do you typically read these kinds of books? Do you like them?
  • Title: What does the title do for you? Does it spark your interest? Does it fit well with the text of the book?
  • Pictures/Book Jacket/Cover/Printing: What does the book jacket or book cover say? Is it accurate? Were you excited to read this book because of it? Are there pictures? What kinds are there? Are they interesting?

As You Read

While reading a work of fiction, keep track of the major characters. You can also do the same with biographies. When reading nonfiction works, however, look for the main ideas and be ready to talk about them.

  • Characters: Who are the main characters? What happens to them? Did you like them? Were there good and bad characters?
  • Main Ideas: What is the main idea of the book? What happens? What did you learn that you did not know before?
  • Quotes: What parts did you like best? Are there parts that you could quote to make your report more enjoyable?

When You Are Ready to Write

Announce the book and author. Then, summarize what you have learned from the book. Explain what happens in the book, and discuss the elements you liked, did not like, would have changed, or if you would recommend this book to others and why. Consider the following items as well:

  • Principles/characters: What elements did you like best? Which characters did you like best and why? How does the author unfold the story or the main idea of the book?
  • Organize: Make sure that most of your paper summarizes the work. Then you may analyze the characters or themes of the work.
  • Your Evaluation: Choose one or a few points to discuss about the book. What worked well for you? How does this work compare with others by the same author or other books in the same genre? What major themes, motifs, or terms does the book introduce, and how effective are they? Did the book appeal to you on an emotional or logical way?
  • Recommend: Would you recommend this book to others? Why? What would you tell them before they read it? What would you talk about after you read it?

Revising/Final Copy

Do a quick double check of your paper:

  • Double-check the spelling of the author name(s), character names, special terms, and publisher.
  • Check the punctuation and grammar slowly.
  • Make sure you provide enough summary so that your reader or instructor can tell you read the book.
  • Consider adding some interesting quotes from the reading.

How to Start a Book Report

  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

No matter what you're writing, be it the next great novel, an essay for school, or a book report , you have to capture your audience's attention with a great introduction. Most students will introduce the title of the book and its author, but there's so much more you can do. A strong introduction will help you engage your readers, hold their attention and explain what is coming up in the rest of your report.

Giving your audience something to look forward to, and perhaps even creating a little mystery and excitement, can be great ways to make sure your readers stay engaged with your report. How do you do this? Check out these three simple steps:

1. Hook the Audience's Attention

Think about what you experience in your daily life that captures your attention. The news and radio shows "promo" upcoming stories with a little teaser, often called a hook (because it "hooks" your attention). Corporations use snappy subject lines in emails and enticing headlines in social media to get you to open their messages; these are often called "clickbait" as they get the reader to click on the content. So how can you grab your reader's attention? Start by writing a great  introductory sentence .

You may choose to begin by asking your reader a question to hook his or her interest. Or you may opt for a title that hints at the topic of your report with a dash of drama. Regardless of the way you choose to start a book report, the four strategies outlined here can help you write an engaging essay.

Starting your book report with a question is a good way to grab your reader's interest because you're addressing them directly. Consider the following sentences:

  • Do you believe in happy endings?
  • Have you ever felt like a total outsider?
  • Do you love a good mystery?
  • What would you do if you discovered a secret that changed everything?

Most people have a ready answer for questions like these because they speak to common experiences we share. It's a means of creating empathy between the person reading your book report and the book itself. For example, consider this opening to a book report about "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton:

Have you ever been judged by your appearance? In "The Outsiders," S.E. Hinton gives readers a glimpse inside the tough exterior of a social outcast.

Not everyone's teenage years are as dramatic as those in Hinton's coming-of-age novel. But everyone was once an adolescent, and odds are everyone had moments when they felt misunderstood or alone.

Another idea to hook someone's attention is, if you're discussing a book by a well-known or popular author, you might start with an interesting fact about the era when the author was alive and how it influenced his or her writing. For example:

As a young child, Charles Dickens was forced to work in a shoe polish factory. In his novel, "Hard Times," Dickens taps into his childhood experience to explore the evils of social injustice and hypocrisy.

Not everyone has read Dickens, but many people have heard his name. By starting your book report with a fact, you're appealing to your reader's curiosity. Similarly, you may choose an experience from the author’s life that had an impact on his or her work. 

2. Summarize the Content and Provide Details

A book report is meant to discuss the contents of the book at hand, and your introductory paragraph should give a little overview. This isn't the place to delve into details, but draw off your hook to share a little more information that is crucial to the storyline. 

For example, sometimes, a novel's setting is what makes it so powerful. "To Kill a Mockingbird," the award-winning book by Harper Lee, takes place in a small town in Alabama during the Great Depression. The author draws on her own experiences in recalling a time when a small Southern town's sleepy exterior hid a vague sense of impending change. In this example, the reviewer might include a reference to the book's setting and plot in that first paragraph:

Set in the sleepy town of Maycomb, Alabama during the Depression, we learn about Scout Finch and her father, a prominent lawyer, as he desperately works to prove the innocence of a black man wrongly accused of rape. The controversial trial leads to some unexpected interactions and some terrifying situations for the Finch Family.

Authors make a deliberate choice when selecting the setting of a book. After all, the location and setting can set a very distinct mood. 

3. Make a Thesis Statement (if applicable)

When writing a book report, you might also include your own interpretations of the subject matter. Ask your teacher how much personal interpretation he or she wants first, but assuming that some personal opinion is warranted, your introduction should include a thesis statement. This is where you present the reader with your own argument about the work. To write a strong thesis statement, which should be about one sentence, you might reflect on what the author was trying to achieve. Consider the theme and see if the book was written in such a way where you were able to determine it easily and if it made sense. As yourself a few questions:

  • Was the book meant to be entertaining or informative? Did it accomplish that goal?
  • Did the moral at the end make sense? Did you learn something?
  • Did the book make you think about the topic at hand and assess your beliefs? 

Once you've asked yourself these questions, and any other questions you may think of, see if these responses lead you to a thesis statement in which you assess the success of the novel. Sometimes, a thesis statement is widely shared, while others may be more controversial. In the example below, the thesis statement is one that few would dispute, ​and uses dialogue from the text to help illustrate the point. Authors choose dialogue carefully, and a single phrase from a character can often represent both a major theme and your thesis. A well-chosen quote included in your book report's introduction can help you create a thesis statement that has a powerful impact on your readers, as in this example:

At its heart, the novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" is a plea for tolerance in an atmosphere of intolerance, and is a statement on social justice. As the character Atticus Finch tells his daughter, 'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'"

Quoting Finch is effective because his words sum up the novel's theme concisely and also appeal to the reader's own sense of tolerance.

Don't worry if your first attempt at writing an introductory paragraph is less than perfect. Writing is an act of fine-tuning, and you may need several revisions. The idea is to start your book report by identifying your general theme so that you can move on to the body of your essay. After you've written the entire book report, you can (and should) return to the introduction to refine it. Creating an outline can help you best identify what you need in your introduction.

Article edited by  Stacy Jagodowski

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Book Report

Nova A.

Step by Step Guide on Writing a Book Report

Published on: Dec 7, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 29, 2022

Book Report

On This Page On This Page

Writing a book report can be an engaging assignment as it requires good writing and reading skills. Sometimes students find this task challenging, but if you know how to write a good one. Then you will find this assignment interesting.

One of the first steps to writing a book report is deciding what type of book you are reading. You must read the entire book before beginning your report so that it will be easier for you to write about it.

You can use our step-by-step guide on how to write a good-quality report and get an A+ grade.

Thus, continue reading this blog and get to know everything about it.

What is a Book Report?

A book report is a creative and interesting way to analyze the contents of any given book. It analyzes and discusses different aspects such as author, title, plot, setting, and characters to show what students have learned while reading the text.

The main purpose of writing a report is to:

  • Provide a short glance at the book to increase its readability.
  • Give enough information, so the reader easily understands the book.
  • Present the style and tone of the book.
  • Help the reader or buyer to read and buy that book.
  • Discuss the main sections of the book.
  • Give a summary and critique of a work of fiction.

Moreover, it is a common assignment at both elementary and high school levels. However, some students get confused between a book report and a  book review . They both look similar, but one requires in-depth analysis while the other is more descriptive and subjective.

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Further, writing a report improves the student’s analytical and communication skills. They get the opportunity to express themselves through creative or critical thought about books they are reading.

Elements of Book Report

Here are some basic elements of the book report are:

How to Start a Book Report?

When you start writing it, you should know the basic steps. However, if you don't know, no need to take tension. Instead, take a look at the below-mentioned steps that help you in writing a perfect report.

1. Pick the Book Carefully

Choosing the right book is an important part of your writing process. Some teachers assign you books, and there's nothing you can do about it. However, if you choose to pick out any type of novel for yourself, make sure to pick that one that suits your interests.

2. Properly Read the Book

Reading is an important part of writing a good report because it allows you to get into the depth of the story. Unfortunately, many students think they can get away with just the summary, notes, and details, but this isn't the right way to do it if you want an A-grade.

3. List Down the Main Points

Every time you read a good book, make sure to write down the most important points and incidents in your notebook. This ensures that no matter where or when inspiration strikes next, all of these gems are just one page away.

4. Create a Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the main important part of your report. It should be a claim that you believe to be true. In addition, it can be supported with strong examples from the book, which will make your writing piece a strong one.

5. Create the Book Report Outline

It is important to have a good and strong outline for writing the best report. When creating the outline, make sure that you add all of your ideas and thoughts to it. It helps writers stay organized so they can focus on what needs to be done next.

How to Write a Book Report?

A well-written report will allow the reader to get an idea about what is going on in the story and make them want to keep reading. However, knowing the writing steps will make it easier for you to write a good one.

Here are some steps that you should follow after creating the outline.

1. Write the Introduction

The introduction is the most important part of your report because you introduce and present what will be discussed in more detail. Therefore, the intro paragraph should include an attention-grabbing hook statement as well as a thesis statement that summarizes everything.

2. Write the Body Paragraphs

The body of the report describes three main things:

  • Main purpose

You should also analyze the theme or motif of the book and discuss the character’s experience with another.

3. Write the Conclusion

The conclusion is the place where you mention three main things:

  • Wrap up the entire report.
  • Mention what you learned from the book
  • State whether or not you would recommend it
  • Express your point of view about the book

Also, this part should be brief, no more than one paragraph. However, make sure it says everything that needs to be said before ending with an appropriate sentenc

4. Proofreading

Once you finish writing it, start the proofreading step. First, remove all grammatical, punctuation, and vocabulary mistakes. Also, change the complex and difficult words or sentences. Finally, try to make it error-free and readable for the audience.

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Book Report Examples

The following are the professionally written examples for your ease.

Book Report Format

Book Report Template

Book Report for Kids

Book Report on Harry Potter

Book Report on Matilda

Cereal Box Book Report

Book Report on Great Expectations

4th Grade Book Report Template

3rd Grade Book Report

Book Report Sample Paper

Now, you get a complete and detailed guide about it. However, if you are still unsure and confused about writing a good report, consult  FreeEssayWriter.net . In addition, we assigned an experienced  essay writer  that helps you in your writing phase.

So, place your order now and get a professional writer’s help.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you end a book report.

Here are some points that you keep in mind when ending the report: 

  • Restate the thesis statement 
  • Not introduce new ideas or information 
  • Sum up the main points 

How long is a book report?

The report is normally 250-500 words long. However, it depends on your teacher’s requirements and what kind of book you choose.

How many pages should a book report be?

It is recommended that your report should not exceed two double-spaced pages. However, it is better that you consult your teacher first.

Are book reports essays?

A book report is a type of essay, and it can be written in different forms. However, the most common one is the expository style.

Nova A. (Marketing, Literature)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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Book Report

Book Report Outline

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

How to Write a Book Report Outline – A Step by Step Guide

By: Donna C.

Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.

Published on: Mar 16, 2021

Book Report Outline

Writing a book report is not easy without a great outline. The outline simplifies your writing process. With the help of an outline, you will easily create a well-written book report without any difficulty.

Teachers assign book report assignments to students so they improve their writing and analytical skills.

After reading the book, the high school or college students write a summary and inform the reader about the book’s main idea.

In the book report, students write critically about what they have read. However, many students get stuck when writing a book report. Also, they mix the book report with a book review.

The book report is different from a book review, in which the book is described or analyzed based on content and style.

It's important to have an outline for writing a book report because it helps with the structure and logic of your work. A well-structured one also makes you focus, which means that all those ideas are expressed clearly.

Therefore, continue reading this blog and get an idea of the basic book report outline.

Book Report Outline

On this Page

How to Write a Book Report Outline?

Creating an outline for a book report makes your writing phase easy. It helps you to complete your assignment on time without forgetting the important points.

Book report outline contains the following elements:

  • Introduction

An introduction is a part where you lay out your basic argument and provide the thesis statement . This section builds the reader’s interest by mentioning any unusual facts or circumstances about the book.

Start the introduction with an attention-grabbing line that grabs the reader’s attention. It can be an interesting quote or fact from the book. Check hook examples to choose an appropriate hook for your report. Then provide relevant background information about the book.

Also, you will include the following information in the introductory paragraph.

  • Title of the book
  • Author basic information
  • Number of pages
  • Year of publication
  • Type and genre of the book
  • Brief introduction of the book

Lastly, conclude the introduction with the thesis statement, which presents the main purpose of the work.

  • Summary of Book

The book summary includes the setting, time, main characters, and plot. It also specifies the main theme, tone, point of the book’s narrative, or atmosphere.

However, the summary of the book describes precisely what happens when in the book. Also, mention the major events and how they impact the characters.

  • Character’s Details

In this step, describe the main characters and identify the major conflicts. Also, highlight the specific problem that the main characters are trying to solve.

Furthermore, describe the secondary characters that play a critical role in the plot. Besides, introduce who they are and why they are important in the book.

  • Plot Details

Add the overall description of the plot in this section but don't mention every detail about the story. However, only focus on the sequences of events and major plot twists.

Moreover, you can also discuss the plot highlights and any element that propels the story. Therefore, make sure to include how the plot picks, the conflicts, how they are solved, and how the book ends. Also, mention any literary themes you have observed in the book.

It is the last section of the book report outline, where you conclude everything. Include a few sentences that wrap up the entire book. You will also offer your unique critique of the book. Discuss the following elements in conclusion:

  • What are the book’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • What have you learned from the book?
  • How did the book affect you?

Now support your statements with examples from the book. Add a short paragraph to give your point of view about the book and recommend it to others.

Revising and Editing

When you are finished with your book report, start the proofreading and editing process by correcting any errors in spelling or grammar. Next, make sure that all text has a clear meaning, so it's easy for readers to understand; ask someone else who can help you if they spot anything unclear while reading.

Also, format it according to your professor’s guidelines. Use correct guidelines for writing the book quotes and title page. Before submitting the book report, make sure it is free from all grammar and spelling mistakes.

Once you have made all the corrections, compare your report with the guidelines that your teacher has mentioned.

Book Report Outline Template

Book Report Examples

Biography Book Report Outline

Nonfiction Book Report Outline

Middle School Book Report Outline

High School Book Report Outline

College Book Report Outline

However, if you lack book report writing skills, our essay writing service is available for your help. You only have to request ‘ do my essay ’ and our expert writers will help you process it.

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Finance Essay, Economics Essay

Donna has garnered the best reviews and ratings for her work. She enjoys writing about a variety of topics but is particularly interested in social issues, current events, and human interest stories. She is a sought-after voice in the industry, known for her engaging, professional writing style.

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The story “Shakespeare In The Bush” was written by an American Anthropologist, Laura Bohannan. This is “Shakespeare in The Bush” summary paper. To start with, this story is a perfect lesson to showcase that language and literature are open to many interpretations around the world...

Survival and Resilience in Alas, Babylon: Book Report

Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank, is a story based in late 1959 about a small Florida town’s survival during a fictitious nuclear war attack. The main characters in this story are the Bragg’s and the inhabitants of River road. It is a story of courage,...

The New Jim Crow' Book Review: the Depth of Systemic Racism

In preparation for this book review essay, I read 'The New Jim Crow' by Michelle Alexander to expand my knowledge and understanding of racial trauma occurring in the United States. As an MSW student, strengthening my awareness of oppression and social marginalization is essential to...

"A Long Walk to Water": the Theme of Challenges and Leadership

Umpteen times in history, people from many different countries and religions and regions faced difficult situations. During these hardships, sometimes great leaders rose up and led the people out of their difficulties. Likewise, in the book 'A Long Walk to Water' by Linda Sue Park,...

"The Life You Save May Be Your Own" theme Analysis

In this paper “The Life You Save May Be Your Own theme analysis", we will discussed this story and its significance. Flannery O’Connor is well known for her southern gothic literature, in which her stories often included grotesque characters whom have an extreme obsession which twists...

Discovering the Moral Lesson in "Noli Me Tangere"

During the Precolonial Era up to the Spanish Colonization Period,Filipinos lacked the sense of national consciousness as the idea of nationalism was unknown to them as these types of ideals originated inforeign countries. The idea of having a national consciousness could be attributed to different...

A Sorrowful Woman: Theme of Female Roles

The human experience is one that is universal. Whether it be an individual journey or a collective occurrence, it has the capacity to unite us despite our differences. Thus, the common module ultimately assists us in comprehending what it means to be human. To take...

How Napoleon Uses His Strengths as a Leader in the 'Animal Farm'

George Orwell’s Napoleon used his strengths as a leader in the novel 'Animal Farm' as a tool of propaganda to gain power and control over the farm. Napoleon represents Stalin quite clearly in Animal Farm. Just like Stalin, Napoleon takes advantage of the animals' rebellion...

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