Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My First Book Review

       The long awaited moment has arrived: on the last day of school, I finished reading my middle grade book The Sleepers to my 4th grade class. Then, I confessed. I apologized for lying to them, and told them it was not written by my friend, but by me (click here for my original post from when I began reading it to my class). 

       I wish I had photographed their faces. Imagine shock + delight + pride. I also wish I'd had time for a more formal feedback process, but it was a rather hectic day. After having missed the previous 4 days of school for jury duty, I had to try to squeeze what I'd normally do in a week in one day. On top of that, our end-of-the-year picnic was moved indoors due to thunderstorms. But as they sat eating their Dairy Queen lunch, I gathered what feedback I could and scribbled it down so I'd remember. Two of my students were motivated enough to write down a review for me. 

       Here are 4th graders' reviews and comments about The Sleepers:

"Fantastic book! Very suspenseful and adventurous! If this book gets published I call dibs on the first book!" (hand drawn: 7 stars)

"One of the best reads of my life. Okay, of 4th grade."

"You can retire from teaching when this gets published."

"Mrs. Azark, I. Am. Impressed."

"How did you get the idea?"

"I'd recommend that book to my friends."*

"When I'm in college, and my friends have your book on their bookshelves, I'll be able to say I know the author!"

"I don't know if this is good or bad, but there are lots of cliffhangers. It's good because it makes you want to keep reading, but it's bad when you have to stop."

"Can I have your autograph? It'll be worth millions."

"When this books gets published, I'm going to be the #1 person to buy it. And it WILL be published."*

"I love this book!"*

"It's kind of like The Giver, how it takes place in a 'perfect' society." *

"When this book is on the New York Times Bestsellers list, I'll say 'That's my 4th grade teacher!'"

*comment from before they knew I wrote it

       In addition to these comments, many of them were very concerned with what the cover of the book would look like. I insisted that I wouldn't have much input, but they shared their ideas anyway. So, prospective publishers, I have 27 children with ideas for the cover in case your artists can't think of anything. 

       It was a pretty cool feeling to see how excited they were about my book. I felt like a celebrity answering questions and talking about it with my kids. So, now I've completed my own market test, and I can't see what would be better proof to an agent or publisher that my book is worth taking on! 


  1. Congratulations! That is wonderful validation for all your hard work. Keep those to read if you get discouraged. Kathy M.

  2. Thanks Kathy! I agree; all the kids' comments made me feel great!

  3. Good for you Nicole, what a wonderful accomplishment. I am sure that the love and dedication that you put into everything in your life has been put into this life goal, and I bet that love and dedication falls off the pages as the pages turn. I would love a cop for Macy, as she grows, so does her love of the written word. Cheers to you!

    1. Thanks so much, Travis! Your words mean so much to me :) Macy is welcome to a copy anytime

  4. Aw what a cool day that must've been for you! I only wish it hadn't been such a hectic one, so you wouldn't have been so rushed. That's neat one of the kids was able to relate it with The Giver, which I thought was an interesting book. Can't wait to read yours!