Our student book review reading and writing program
grew from books
In 2002, when Seth Cassel was in fourth grade, he started Flamingnet.com with his dad, Gary Cassel. The site allowed them to combine Seth’s passion for reading and reviewing young adult (YA) books with his dad’s web development hobby. Flamingnet received a lot of national recognition and awards.
Article in YALS about Flamingnet
Over 350 online preteen, teen, and YA book reviews later, authors and publishers began to ask Seth to review their new titles. As the number of book review requests and visitors to Flamingnet's website grew exponentially, Seth and his dad realized they had hit upon a simple yet powerful idea – the most important opinions about preteen, teen, and YA literature come from students...and students, parents, and educators want to read student book reviews.
Seth and Gary also realized that the Flamingnet model of providing free reading books to students for review and then giving the students feedback on their written book reviews was an innovative way to promote literacy and writing, making reading a fun and social experience. Thus, because of the positive feedback from students, parents, educators, authors, and publishers, they expanded their student reviewer program to include preteen, teen, and young adult students from around the world. Considering that they had only run the web site as a part-time hobby and financed primarily out-of-pocket, Flamingnet was quite successful, with the potential to reach even more students if expanded…enter LitPick.
While attending Harvard, LitPick Student Book Reviews was created by Seth and a group of college friends in 2011 based on his Flamingnet experience. They enhanced the selection of free books to read and review and they began offering free reading books to students by expanding the list of available eBooks and print books online that can be requested for review. The site's online interactive reading reading and writing program was also expanded to encourage librarians to use LitPick for their book clubs and reading groups, besides recommending LitPick to individual students who may also want to become a LitPick student book reviewer. Numerous other improvements were made to Seth's original Flamingnet concept and LitPick's continued growth and success helps reinforce our passion for our site and for our mission to help make a difference by promoting reading and writing among students.