Book Report

Shelves in a store displaying several different books
Book reports can spark students’ interest in reading and allow them to develop better reading comprehension skills.

Book reports are assignments that are frequently set in English classrooms for most grades, from middle to high school. Students are asked to either select a book of their choice, or they are prescribed one to write their reports on. Sometimes, the teacher may allow students to pick any book from the body of work of a particular author. 

Once the subject of the book report has been settled on, students are expected to carefully read the work and produce an informative piece on it. Book reports focus on the summary of the book along with some discussion of its characters, ideas, and/or themes. Besides the summary, the other areas of focus will be determined by the type of book chosen. Both fiction and nonfiction books can be set for book reports. 

Book reports are not the same as book reviews, which are also sometimes assigned in classrooms. While the former focuses primarily on summaries and a relatively objective look at the book’s content, reviews include the reader’s impression of the work. Reviews expect the reader to evaluate the book they are reading, present their personal judgment of it, and then justify that opinion. 

The objective of book reports is to encourage students to pick up more books and to boost their reading comprehension. It provides educators with an avenue to expose their charges to a wider range of authors, books, and ideas than that allowed by set syllabi and texts. Good book reports call for their writers to look beyond the immediate texts selected, to conduct research into the authors of the books, and into the wider contexts of works. As they read, research, and write, students are able to analyze what they are reading and learn how to formulate and communicate their ideas in writing. 

Book Report Essay Examples

Noah Webster, A Man Who Loved Words by Elaine Cunningham

The book I read was “Noah Webster, A Man Who Loved Words.” It was written by Elaine Cunningham. The book has twelve chapters. The book has 176 pages in it. This book is a very good book. I would recommend it to anyone my age. The book was kind of sad also.

Rosa Parks: My Story

Rosa Parks: My Story is an autobiography. Parks tells about her vital role in the struggle for equality. In detail this book explains how the civil rights movements started. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, beginning the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.

The Great Gatsby Book Report

At the onset of this book, the reader is introduced to the narrator, Nick Carraway, who relates the past happenings that construct the story of Jay Gatsby and Nick during the summer of 1922. 

A Book Review on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a novel regarding a young teenager named Katniss Everdeen who must fight to the death with 23 others as a reminder to the citizens of Panem to never defy the government.

Outsiders Book Report

1. Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. New York: Puffin Books, 1967. 2. The title of this book relates to the story, because in the book, Ponyboy and Johnny are “outsiders.” They can be thought of as Outsiders because they are labeled Greasers although they do not act like hoodlums, like the rest of the Greasers.

How to Write a Book Report

Close-up of a person reading a book
Reading and familiarizing oneself with the text is one of the most important steps for writing a book report.

While initially it may seem daunting, writing a book report is a fairly straightforward assignment. Once the book has been chosen, the following steps will aid in completing it:

  • Familiarization: Before beginning to read the book, students ought to familiarize themselves with the title. Cursory research will uncover basic points about the book, such as who wrote it, when, and what its significance is. This will also develop the student’s interest in the book and its content.
  • Reading: The book must be read carefully. While they are reading it, students may choose to mark and/or highlight those sections that have caught their attention, that appear significant, and that they would like to discuss in their reports. They may also note down their comments and thoughts on what they are reading in order to easily recall them while writing the report. 
  • Research: Once they have completed the book, students may decide to conduct further, more detailed research about it and its content. This will help them further formulate their thoughts on the book and provide them with a larger context that they can use for analysis in the book report. 
  • Writing: In order to begin the actual writing of the book report, an outline must first be drawn up. The writer can arrange what they intend to convey in the report using the format given below. 
  • Revising: Once the book report has been written and made ready for submission, a final revision of it must be done. A fresh look at it will reveal errors made and can shine new light on some sections that may need to be rewritten. 

A Book Report For To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel about the coming of age by Harper Lee, in which she narrates the story through Scout Finch who describes her childhood. The novel begins with Scout living with her brother, Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus, in Alabama’s town of Maycomb during the time of the Great Depression.

Book Report On Hatchet By Gary Paulsen

Hatchet was written by Gary Paulsen in 1987. Its genre is young adult novel. This story takes place in the Canadian wilderness. The main character Brain is 13 years old and his parents divorced. He decided to go to his father during summer. However the pilot had a heart attack and died. He began to survive in the forest by himself.

Format of a Book Report

Person writing in a notebook
Following a format simplifies the process of writing a book report and allows the writer to arrange their thoughts and ideas effectively.

A book report is, in essence, a type of essay. This means that, like all other essays, it has three main sections: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. 


At the beginning of the book report, the writer must include information about the book itself—who wrote it and when, what genre(s) it falls into, some details regarding its publication, the main theme(s) it discusses, and a brief, one-line plot introduction. A note on the physical appearance of the book may be included here, such as the book cover and any unusual or interesting choices in formatting and/or binding, if any, made by the publisher or the author.

Besides these basic points, based on their research, the student can delve into more detail about the author and the context of the book. What other work has the author written, and how similar and/or dissimilar is this book compared with it? Where does this book fit into their larger body of work? If there are other writings that discuss similar subjects and themes, how does this book contribute to that space? 

If the student has been given the option to choose the book they’re writing about, they can mention here why they selected it. Public response to the book at the time of its publication can also be commented upon here, especially if it has received any particular accolade or award. This further highlights the text’s importance in the field of literature.


The body of the book report can be divided up into various parts, depending on what the student intends to cover in it. 

An essential part is a summary of the book. In case of fiction or nonfiction narrative books, this would be a summary of the action that takes place during the course of the book. The setting of the plot—where and when it is taking place—must be described with the point of view used to relay the story—whether it is a third-person omniscient narrative or a first person narrative. In case it is the latter, their place in the narrative must also be made clear. For instance, they may be the main character and they themselves are involved in the action, or they are describing the events that someone they knew was involved in. For other nonfiction books, especially those that describe an idea or concept, a summary would include all the major points/arguments put forth by the author. 

The summary does not include any analysis or comment on the part of the student. It is a simple summing up of the text. Any analysis is undertaken in the subsequent sections. Depending on the submission requirements, these may include analysis of the characters, a discussion of the themes in the book, and/or a dissection of the symbols and motifs used in it. 


In the final section of the book report, the primary details about the book are restated along with brief conclusions that the student has drawn about it: if they find it satisfying and/or informative and whether they would recommend it to other readers. This is also the area where they may discuss the author if they haven’t already done so in the introduction. And even if they have covered this earlier, the conclusion is a great area to revisit the author and the book’s context in the light of its content as has been presented throughout the book report. If it is appropriate, a quote from the book may also be used to end the report.

Below are some more examples of book reports that will illustrate to students how they can outline and write theirs. 

The Giver Book Report

Imagine a world with no color, weather, or sunshine. The Giver is a book by Lois Lowry and is based on a utopia where no one makes choices, feels pain, or has emotions. The book takes place in a community where all of this is true.

Book Report: Esperanza Rising By Pam Muñoz Ryan

My book report was on “Esperanza Rising” by Pam Muñoz Ryan. The genre of this book is Historical Fiction. The publisher is Scholastic. It has a total of 253 pages plus the author’s notes. Esperanza Rising was published in the year of 2000. 

A Tale of Two Cities Book Report

Sacrifice, even when it comes to one’s ultimate end, is crucial in order to survive as a productive race. In the book Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, he illustrates the hardships of the early-nineteenth-century lifestyles.

Book Report on Lord Of The Flies

The novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding is divided up into three sections. The first section is when the boys arrive on the island and everything seems to be perfect. The next section of the book is when the dead parachutists lands on the island and all laws and rules do not seem to apply to the children anymore. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a book report?

    A book report is a report that summarizes a book and briefly discusses its various elements, such as characters and themes.

  • How does one start a book report?

    In order to start a book report, the book that is its subject must be read and some research must be done to understand the context in which it was written.

  • What does one include in a book report?

    Basic information about the book—its author, date and place of publication, its significance—must be included in a book report along with its summary and some analysis. The student’s impressions about it may also be included but very briefly.