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SPARKS: Children’s Book Review Journal was founded in 1986 by Dr. Michael O. Tunnell at Arkansas State University and continued under his direction until 1987. At this time, Dr. Sandy Bone became the editor and continued in this role until her death in 1996. After her death the journal was suspended until 2002 when Dr. Charlotte A. Skinner was asked to revive it. At that time she was joined by Drs. Lina Leatherwood Owens and Diana L. Williams and plans for the journal began in earnest. The editors realized that making the journal available on-line, would prove an attractive, cost-effective, and easily accessible alternative to a paper journal. The journal now in its fifth year continues as an on-line publication under the direction of Drs. Lina Leatherwood Owens and Diana L. Williams. The purpose of the journal was and is to serve as a book review journal for current children’s literature. This tradition of reviewing books for young children, preschool through young adult, will continue for individuals interested in Children’s Literature.

SPARKS is a copyrighted publication of the Department of Teacher Education at Arkansas State University. Materials for review are generously provided by contributing publishers and are available for public scrutiny in the children’s collection at the Dean B. Ellis Library on the ASU campus in Jonesboro, Arkansas.


Age Level
The approximate age level stated in the bibliographic information for each review is generally the age range suggested by the publisher.

Books of Interest to: Ages
Young Children  Infant - 8
Intermediate Readers-  9 - 11
Young Adult/Adult Readers 12 +

 Rating System
The overall rating of each book is provided by the individual reviewer and is located at the left margin preceding each review. The explanations of the ratings are:

HR Highly Recommended as a quality example of literature to be included in a school, public, or home library.
R Recommended as an additional book that will have appeal for readers. 
RR Recommended with reservations. Dependable but not outstanding examples of genre.
NR Not recommended.