Book Reports in 8th Grade: Face the Challenge


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Writing a book report is one of the most popular activities in elementary, middle, and high school.

A book report is a kind of review that focuses both on the piece's content and on the reviewer's own opinion. The primary purpose of this activity is to read and analyze as many books as possible, track progress, and share it with classmates.

When it comes to elementary school, this assignment often has a playful form. For example, writing a 4th-grade book report, children use milk cartons and other unusual stuff. There are many different ideas on the Internet to help make homework more fun and interesting.

The 8th grade is for 12-14 years, old kids. This is the transition period between childhood and adolescence. It is a time of finding oneself, protesting moods, a few rebelliousness. Teens begin to read books that shape their worldview, form a life position. This is why 8th grade book report deserves special attention.

How to write 8th Grade Book Report

Perhaps you have never encountered this task before. Or you used a completely different format because the creative book report for middle school differs from the one for elementary school.

Of course, the requirements in different institutions and even classes may be different as well. But there are some common tips to consider if you’re going to develop a unique project.

How long should it be?

The length of the paper depends on the number of books read. It can be either 1 page or 5-6.

In some cases, students receive clear instructions from teachers that define the book report, and it’s volume. Therefore, you should check if you want to get the highest score if there are any special requirements.

Before you write, read

Although your task is to prepare the creative book report, it assumes that you have read at least a few books. It makes no sense to talk about something if you are not even on the first page yet. Improve your reading comprehension to complete this task faster and develop your language arts.

If you don't have a specific reading list from your teacher, pick a piece that you like. Reading should be fun, not tedious.

To make it more useful and save time, keep a paper, pen, and pencil nearby. Take notes, jot down page numbers, and your ideas. You can underline the quote you like the most or express the main idea of ​​this book.

Use an outline

Once you have read all of the books on your list, you can start writing. Ideally, it would help if you designed the outline with a proven structure:

  1. Introduction;
  2. Summary;
  3. Characteristics of the characters;
  4. Plot development;
  5. Personal opinion and conclusion.

Such a plan will allow you to organize your thoughts and not forget some vital information. If you already have ideas for any of the structure elements, write them down.

Introductory paragraph

Regardless of the specific format that your teacher uses, almost all creative papers begin with an introduction.

It contains necessary information about a literary work: title, author, genre, publisher, year of publication, number of pages. If you want your paper to be informative and engaging, use the opening paragraph for that purpose.

Try to find some unusual facts about the book's writing, given from the author's biography. How many copies have been sold? What does the author do in everyday life? Since your project is personal, you can mention why you decided to read this book and what the sense you’ve found in it.

What’s the book about?


Please provide an overview of the story, focusing on its time, point of view, tone, and atmosphere. Is this fiction about a fun adventure or eerie events? Perhaps events take place in the distant future or intergalactic space. You can also briefly mention the main characters and the plot.

Major and minor characters

It's time to introduce the main characters of the story. Some of them will be positive, while others are negative. Mention the motives that drive both sides and the conflict they’re trying to develop or handle. If there are minor characters that also have some influence on the plot, write about them. It will be a good idea to describe the relationships between heroes and how they affect the sense of the whole story.


Remember that you are developing a 8th grade book report, not writing a new literary work. You don't need to describe absolutely every plot detail. Instead, focus on the main storyline, from the bottom-up action to the climax and conflict resolution. If the author uses literary techniques that you’ve studied in school, mention them.

Book reports on non-fiction

This is great if you want to add non-fiction books to your creative project. Perhaps you have read some work about robots, space, biology, a biography of a famous person, etc., depending on your interests.

Now you need to think about how interesting it is to convey this information and the main sense to your reader.

Dedicate the main body to describe the author's points of view and the book's subject. Use chapter headings to keep things structured and organized. As with the fiction book, you don't have to present all the arguments. Focus on the main ideas. You can even choose those that are most interesting and useful to you. When it comes to biography, focus on a few critical events.

Personal evaluation and conclusion

Writing the last paragraph is a favorite part of many eighth-graders. This is precisely the section where you can present your thoughts, offer praise or criticism. What aspects of the book seemed to you the most powerful? And which ones are weak? Did this literary work have any particular impact on you? If it was nonfiction literature, what do you think of the author's arguments?

Try to be persuasive in your opinions and support your words with examples from the book. Give an honest recommendation whether you would recommend this work to reading and to whom.

8th-grade vocabulary to use

You should use words you already know. But it is also essential to expand your vocabulary. If you’ve read some new terms in the book, write them down and look for an explanation. There are some words you may study and implement in the paper:

  • abhor;
  • ambiguous;
  • contrast;
  • depict;
  • apprehend;
  • precise;
  • proprietor;
  • despicable;
  • assumption;
  • modify;
  • prudent;
  • boycott;
  • universal;
  • imminent;
  • sense;
  • simultaneous;
  • consistent;
  • persuasive;
  • inspire;
  • plagiarize.

How to work on the vocabulary

Words are a tool that lets us share our ideas and thoughts. Besides, the more words you know and use, the brighter and engaging your 200 words essay example looks like.

Try to learn some new terms every day and pay special attention to synonyms. For example, if you’re going to say that one character is sad, you can do it in several ways. He is miserable, gloomy, sorrowful, or distraught. If the piece was good, tell your readers it is incredible or marvelous. Such words as "outstanding’, "terrific’, "splendid’, and "exceptional’ also help convey your thought. Remember that some words have a similar meaning but different shades, so try to use them appropriately.

Revising, editing, and proofreading

Like any creative school paper, this assignment starts with a draft. Before you deliver the submitted task to the teacher, you need to edit it.

The best way is to read the text aloud. This will help you understand which sentences sound strong and which ones sound weak. Many students allow unnecessary repetitions, get rid of them. Another benefit of editing is that you can check your grammar and get rid of any mistakes and typos. Especially if the English language is not native to you.

One of the main secrets to successful editing is that you have to give yourself a break. If your brain is too busy, it will not pay attention to the flaws in the text. So get a good night's sleep before proofreading.

The next efficient tip is to ask your friend to read the paper. You’re writing for the audience, so get feedback from it. Maybe you like the text you’ve written, but the fellow students will call it boring. It doesn’t mean you should change it at once. Go for a second opinion if you have some doubts. Other people can also provide you with some creative ideas.

Book reports: A type of expository essay

There are several formats to come up with a good design. In most cases, this is an expository essay.

How do you know what your teacher wants? Pay attention to the hint! For example, your assignment might sound like this: "Explain why book A by author B is the best children's detective novel. Please provide examples."

Another possible version of the prompt: "Explain why your classmates should or should not read A written by B".

Regardless of what format you need to adhere to, write competently, in an organized and discreet manner. And don't reveal the ending!

Create your 8th grade book report template

Check your requirements. Maybe the teacher doesn’t want you to be creative right now, and you should concentrate on other project’s stages.

  • Brainstorm. Just like you turn off your smartphone and think over the essay topics for middle school, you can come up with some good ideas for a template.
  • Organize your time. The content is more important than the form, so make sure you do not spend hours and days to make the paper just beautiful.
  • Try some online tools such as Canva or Figma to develop a cute design with ease.
  • Use colors and fonts from the literature piece, e.g. red and gold, yellow and black, blue and bronze, green and silver for the Harry Potter Universe.
  • Distinguish different blocks with lines or geometrical shapes to show the difference.
  • Think out of the box: look at the most popular templates and try to create your one.
  • Ask for professional help. If you have some issues, hire an experienced author or designer to provide you with a custom paper.
  • Get feedback. If you have some templates and don’t know which of them works best, ask your friends or relatives.
  • Think over a logical sequence of template blocks so that they complement each other.

Tips on Writing a Middle School Book Report

Read some samples

Other students' creative projects will help you find a format that suits you. At the very least, you will find some literary masterpieces worth reading. And you can get inspiration from design, template, style, and other techniques as well.

Take notes

Take notes on the pages or in a separate notebook. If you read a lot, regardless of your school curriculum, try to keep a literary diary and comment on all the works. Write down any information that will help you present your book's vision and refer to specific quotes from the text.


Regardless of the format, you’re working with, whether it is an essay, the speech and debate for middle school, a book review, etc., it is crucial to organize your work. Create a plan with milestones and deadlines. Think about the reward you can promise yourself for each of the stages.

Give your thoughts

It is not difficult to find a description of any literary work on the Internet and a summary. But it is not what your teacher expects from you. He or she wants you to give your thoughts, to read concisely, to analyze the plot. Each piece has its conflicts, character arc, sense, and other aspects that help understand its main idea. If you think the author didn’t succeed with them: tell about it and prove it. Be honest and sincere, don’t use cliches. If some things are unclear, you can show your vision as well.

Start a blog

If you want more than just a good score, experiment with different styles and genres when study. There are many opportunities to develop your blog online and add new posts about pieces you read, authors, characters, etc. Why is creative writing important? It creates your fantasy, helps you think out of the box, and come up with new solutions.

Favorite books for 8th graders

We don't want to limit you with some pieces, but you can find excellent advice here. Explore the summary of the ten popular teenagers’ books in the English language and add them to your must-read list!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is wary of new people and situations. It is compounded when her college entrance coincides with the betrayal of her twin sister (and best friend). Fortunately, the heroine found a way out of the situation. She dreamed up a relationship with a fictional character and described it in fanfiction that has gained immense popularity. But what about real life, which is still full of challenges and unpredictable moments?

Refugee by Alan Gratz

The refugee is a book that everyone should read. It's not the most straightforward and most entertaining, but it does make a big difference for middle and high school students.

Alan Gratz tells the story of three refugee children: Josef, Isabelle, and Mahmoud. They are fleeing the terror regime in Germany, Cuba, and Syria. Although the heroes live in different historical eras, have different worldviews and fears, their stories surprisingly have a lot in common and overlap.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Dystopia is one of the favorite genres of modern teenagers. In this case, we are talking about a world with a collapsed economy. This led to the creation of Oasis, a virtual reality platform. The creator of this, an eccentric millionaire, died but left his fortune somewhere in the game. The teenager Wade tries to find treasure despite all the dangers along the way.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is a dystopian tale of a world ravaged by war. Wanting to keep the peace, it divides people based on personality and ability. But the main character Tris realizes that she does not meet any of the criteria. And this becomes the reason that she is drawn into the war. Tris is facing political manipulation, the search for her own identity, love, and forgiveness.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Dave Barry and Ridley Parson are humorous authors who have developed their own story about Peter Pan. They answered various questions about the boy from Neverland, for example: how did he end up in this country? What happened to his parents? Why doesn't Hook like crocodiles? And who is Tinkerbell? Each page makes you genuinely laugh.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Finding Alaska is a growing up novel that covers many topics that are important to young adults. These are relations between different generations, searching for the meaning of life, grief, and hope.

Interestingly, the work is based on the life of the author himself. John Green recalls that he was a rather tricky teenager and tried to fit into his peers' collective. Facing difficulties in high school, he began attending boarding school, where he gained essential experiences that inspired him to create the Looking for Alaska.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a timeless classic that has not become obsolete for generations. It tells the story of an orphan who lives with his aunt and stepbrother.

Tom is a cheerful boy who loves to skip school, exchange trinkets with friends, and perform superstitious rituals. He falls in love, makes friends, and does everything that teenage boys do. The plot is open and sincere, that’s why readers love Tom and empathize with him when he gets in trouble. And he continually does.

Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor by Temple Grandin

This is a non-fiction book written by a well-known representative of autism. Its author is a famous American woman scientist who has achieved significant success despite her diagnosis. She willingly shares ideas with teens that there are many ways to look at the world, think about things, and develop different ideas. The piece is straightforward to read and inspiring.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This book was filmed in 2014 with Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in the lead roles.

The book tells a teenage girl, Hazel, who is dying of cancer and knows it. She attends a support group that also has August. Young people spend a lot of time together and fall in love despite all their daily challenges. This is an emotionally intense book that will make any reader cry. But it also provides useful insights.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

This is a graphic novel about the peculiarities of the transition from childhood to young adulthood.

The main character, Rose, takes a vacation at the lake house with her family every summer. She spends time with her friend Wendy, collecting rocks and digging holes in the sand. But this summer changed everything. Her parents are always quarreling, and Rose herself preferred hanging out with local bullies over kids’ games and activities with her friend. Monochrome illustrations help to better understand Rose's feelings during this difficult period of her growing up.

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