LitPick From an Author's Perspective by Kathy...

Author Kathy Manos Penn shares about her experience with LitPick and why she has found this reading and writing program to be so valuable.

Students, be sure to read about the special student reviewer promotion that's only available until June 15, 2018.


I discovered this program when I read Jean Gill’s “Someone to Look Up To,”  a novel written by a Great Pyrenees dog, as is my book “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch.” The difference is the dog narrator in “Someone to Look Up To” has a much more serious tale to tell than Lord Banjo does.  Lord Banjo’s fans know he is rarely serious.

I loved everything about this book and began to follow the author on Facebook. When I read she’d won a LitPick award for her book, I set out to learn more about the LitPick program. Here’s what the LitPick team has to say:

Our Team is passionate about our Student Book Review Reading and Writing program. [Our] mission is to inspire students of all ages - preteens, teens, and young adults - to read books and to become better writers.

How do they do this?  Authors provide free copies of their books, and LitPick offers them to students to read and review—for free. Students must first apply to become LitPick student reviewers, and once they’re accepted, they can select free books to review. Students from third grade through college may apply.  By providing free books, authors have the opportunity to get book reviews. I took advantage of the program, and Lord Banjo was delighted with his reviews.

Here’s how the cycle flows: 1) From the list of available free books, a student selects/requests a book to read and review. 2) The student writes and submits a review online including a summary of the book and his/her opinion. 3) An adult sponsor or LitPick team member with an education background evaluates the review. As needed, the adult reviewer provides writing feedback to the student. 4) When the review is accepted and posted online, the student may choose another book to review. 

Students get to keep the books and can review an unlimited number. I find this an amazing concept whereby authors of pre-teen, teen and young adult books learn what their target audiences think, and of course, the kids get free books to read. Teachers, librarians, and parents also find out what this age group enjoys reading. 

Teachers may sign up individual students or whole classes to be reviewers. Libraries can create book clubs and do the same.  LitPick even offers a LitPick Educator Interface to make it easier for teachers to “manage a student reading group or book club, watch each student’s progress, evaluate and provide valuable feedback to them about their book reviews, [and] approve their reviews.” All of this is available to homeschoolers too.

LitPick has a special reviewer signup offer underway now just in time for summer vacation.  Any new student reviewer who signs up by June 15 and completes at least one review of an eBook by July 15, will receive a free 6-month subscription to review print books too. The e-book subscription is free, but the one-year subscription to review e-book and print books runs $15. What a fantastic way keep kids engaged in reading and writing over the summer. You can sign up now at

I highly recommend you visit their website to learn how this idea grew from a father and son fourth-grade project to a Harvard student working with college friends to turn it into what it is today It’s a fascinating and inspirational story. 


Kathy Manos Penn is a Georgia author and columnist. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” on Amazon. Visit her website and follow her on Facebook,

***This article was originally published at