Skip to content

Book Review: Book Love

By Kelly Virgin

What better way to build community in a classroom than by building a community of readers.  Penny Kittle details just how to do that in Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers.  Kittle’s book reads like a step-by-step account of how to turn even the most adamant of non-readers into eager and thoughtful book consumers.

Many of us who have struggled year after year with trying to coerce reluctant readers into picking up a book, can find renewed motivation in Kittle’s insistence that “Teenagers want to read – if we let them.  Students … become committed, passionate, readers given the right books, time to read, and regular responses to their thinking.”  Kittle goes on the back this assertion up with detailed instructions on how to guide students towards book love.

The book takes on a conversational tone, as if one teacher is simply explaining to another what has worked for her.  What has worked for Kittle is first understanding readers and their reading, then working to build their stamina, expose them to a multitude of reading experiences, book talking and conferring with them and guiding them through ever increasing contemplative responses to their reading.    This book is a short, easy and enjoyable read with only one drawback: Kittle’s strategies, which require time and determined commitment, will force teachers to find room in their over-stuffed curriculums.  But isn’t building a community of readers that understand “The wonder, the magic, and the heart-stopping joy of books” worth every second we can spare?

Additional Information

  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Year Published: 2013
  • Pages: 169
  • Other Works: Write Beside Them, Inside Writing  (with Donald Graves), The Greatest Catch, and Public Teaching
  • Brief Bio:  Penny Kittle is a K-12 literacy coach, directs new teacher mentoring, and teaches high school writing.


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Chris K. #

    Penny Kittle will be at the Bucks County I.U. on October 22nd. Here is the link to register if you are interested:


    October 7, 2014
    • Chris K. #

      WOW! Penny Kittle was as fabulous as her book – down to Earth, practical, passionate, and powerful. If we could get her for a PAWLP day it would be great since her presentation covers reading and writing.


      October 30, 2014
  2. Kelly, This is on my bedside table and I will bump it to the top based on your review.
    Thank you!


    October 6, 2014
  3. Book Love is one of the books I keep coming back to, over and over again. I love the argument that Kittle makes for the value of independent reading, but what I appreciate even more are all the strategies she shares for how to instill a love of reading in kids (as well as keep them accountable!). Such a great read!


    September 29, 2014

We'd love to hear what you think! Please comment below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: