Review Tag Categories

Welcome!  All of my reviews are tagged with the general reading level, genre, and diverse groups featured.  Some are also tagged with the author, illustrator, series, or topics.

Every week I post a review of a fiction book (everything from picture books up to adult fiction, but usually chapter books for 2nd-8th grade) for Fiction Friday.

As I have the time and inclination, I try to review other books (usually non-fiction) during the week.  These other reviews are under Book Reviews.

Sometimes I might review more than one book on a subject, and Compare and Contrast two or more books.

Also as I am starting to build up some reviews, I am beginning to do Book Lists.

If a category does not have a hyperlink yet, that means I had not posted any reviews in that category as of the last update of this page, but I do plan to review books in that category.

Books by Reading Level:

All Ages – These are books that can be enjoyed by a wide age range, albeit in different ways.

Board Books – Now that I’ve started reviewing board books they have a separate category.

Picture Books – depending on the age and reading level of the child, these could be read aloud to them or read independently by an older child.  Some picture books are intended solely for older students, I try to categorize those differently.

Early Reader – intended for a child to read alone, these typically have a low word count and lots of text support.  They span the kindergarten to about third grade age range.  They could also be read aloud to younger children.

Early Chapter Books – These are early chapter books, mainly intended for the first or second grade student who is ready to read longer and more complex stories, but still needs a simpler vocabulary and support from pictures.  For more about these three categories, see this post.

Elementary Chapter Books – Chapter books intended for first through third or fourth grade students.  These typically have shorter chapters, simpler vocabulary, and younger protagonists than middle grade books, but pictures will be less frequent than an early chapter book and readers are expected to be able to decipher new vocabulary.  Compared to early chapter books, these are aimed at the more confident reader, but some children will be reading both for a period of time.

Middle Grade Books – These are chapter books intended for 4th and 5th grade students (upper elementary) and/or middle school students (6th to 8th grade).  Depending on an individual student’s reading level and maturity, there is a lot of variation in these books.  Some are aimed specifically at a particular grade or age level.  Individual reviews will have more information.

Occasionally I review picture books (usually non-fiction) intended primarily for the middle grades.  I typically include those here as well.

Teen Reads – These are chapter books which by mature content, age of protagonists, or complex text are best for students in high school or early college.  These are sometimes labeled as YA by publishers, but this tag also includes non-fiction.

Adult – These are books which are primarily intended to be read by adults, and which are marketed at grown-ups.  Content may at times be appropriate for mature or well-read high school students.  Academic works are also included here.

Books by Genre:

Biographies – also includes autobiographies and memoir

Non-Fiction – other than biographies

Poetry – at least part of the book is in verse, or poems are included, or it’s about a poet or about poetry

Play – also includes Reader’s Theater

Graphic Novels – comics, graphic novels, or manga.  Illuminated books are categorized by their genre.

Realistic Fiction – present day setting, could potentially have happened.

Historical Fiction – has a historical setting.

Mysteries – something gets solved, be it crime or puzzle.  The mystery is a main focus.

Fantasy – Magic, dragons, incredible things happening.

Science fiction – Intense technology, dystopian societies, space travel, or other futuristic things.

Horror – I rarely review horror but on the rare occasions I do, here is the tag for scary, creepy, or spine-tingling stories.  (Note that this is for fiction, some of the nonfiction I review feels more like horror than many untrue stories.)

Romance – at its core, the book is a love story between two characters, including star-crossed lovers.

Setting or ethnicity of characters:

African American History – originally intended to be the main category on this blog, I later expanded greatly

Black History Month – Compilations and other books specifically written for, or useful during, Black History Month

BlackBecause the majority of fiction I review here has black protagonists, I don’t currently tag those books.  In 2021 I changed my policy on this since my blog was not mainly Black book reviews as I had originally planned.

African-American – as distinct from other racial or national categories

African – Books about Africa, set in Africa, or with African protagonists, distinct from African American.  If a book is about an African in America, I will tag it with both.

Caribbean – Books set in the Caribbean or featuring Caribbean immigrants.  At the moment books about Haiti also have this tag, as I review more, those will probably have a separate tag.


Latin@ – Books with Latina or Latino protagonists or about Hispanic history, etc.

Afro-Latin@ – a distinct category for Black Latin@ books.

Central or South American – Books set there or featuring Central or South American protagonists as distinct from Latin@ books.


Asian – Books with Asian or Asian-American protagonists, or about Asian history, etc.

–  Indian – Because I have a great number of books to review about the Indian subcontinent and Indian immigrants, I have made a separate category.


Middle Eastern – Books set in that area or featuring Middle Eastern characters who have immigrated elsewhere.


indigenous – Books featuring indigenous peoples from anywhere in the world, such as First Nations books, or books about the Māori.  See also the tag #100indigenousbooks which is books specifically written by indigenous writers.

– Native American – I hope to read some books about Native American culture as well as some Native American fiction.

Hawaii – books dealing with the unique mix of cultures that is Hawaiian, or featuring native Hawaiian characters.


biracial (nonwhite) and biracial (part white) – This distinction is made not to diminish the importance of literature about biracial people from two different nonwhite cultures, but to reflect the reality that far more children’s literature currently exists including biracial characters with partially white heritage.

white or presumed to be white – at the same time that I added in the Black tags, I also decided to add in a tag for those books I review with mainly white characters.  Although there aren’t many here, I do review white books that deal with out of home care, disability, LGBT status, or a few other topics.


Christian – Although this is a majority group in the US, I still tag these so my readers are aware they have Christian content.  (It’s also mentioned in the review.)

Buddhist – MG/YA novels with Buddhist MCs don’t seem common.

Hindu – Another area I’m hoping to expand.

Jewish – As many Jewish people are considered white and comparatively privileged in the US, I don’t review many Jewish books, but this does still come up from time to time.

Muslim – Lately Muslim books have become so much more available!

Sikh – I would love to read more Sikh children’s literature.

holidays – this tag is not specifically religious (it also covers secular or cultural holidays) but covers all celebrations.  Two exceptions are Black History Month and MLK Jr. Day which have their own tags.

Books by or about special interest groups:

disability – books featuring people with physical, mental, or emotional difficulties

–  deaf or hoh – because I read a lot of books and articles about this topic, I am anticipating that I will need a separate tag for deaf and hard of hearing books.

—  ASL – specifically dealing with American Sign Language

–  autism – similar to the above, books about autism, by autistic authors, or with protagonists on the autistic spectrum.


adoption – books that deal with adoption themes

foster care – books that deal with the foster care system, including out of home care through kinship, foster families, institutions, or informal arrangements.


transracial families – families that through adoption or marriage are multiracial

multicultural families – more than one culture or ethnicity within the family but not necessarily more than one race.  For example, a Christian/Muslim marriage or a woman of Polish descent and a man of German descent.


homosexual, bisexual – fiction or non-fiction books featuring a main character who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or asexual.

transgender – books featuring a protagonist who is transgender or intersex.


substance abuse – books where the protagonist or a friend or family member deals with alcoholism or other substance abuse as a major theme of the book.

criminal justice system – nonfiction books about the system, or fiction books that deal with criminal justice as a specific theme

incarceration – I’ve debated combining these two, but this tag deals with incarceration but doesn’t specifically question the criminal justice system.  That could be because the imprisonment is not the focus of the book or because it takes place outside of the prison system.


American immigrant – since many books I read deal specifically with the unique challenges of immigrating to the United States, I’ve made a tag for it.  Canadian immigrants may also be found under this tag.

refugee – fiction or nonfiction books about refugees

Other Topics or Considerations:

Novels for Boys – novels particularly aimed at boys (although they may interest girls also)

STEM PoC Role Models – because so many books about people of color focus on narrow ranges (like athletes), I have a special interest in both fiction and non-fiction books showcasing people of color in science and technology leadership roles.

Academic writings – Books (or articles, essays, etc.) that are written for an academic or scholarly audience rather than laypeople.

Black Ballerinas – fiction or non-fiction books where the primary focus is a character of color or indigenous person who does ballet or other dance.

Black Cowboys – also pioneers that settled the American West.

Black Soldiers – Books specifically dealing with PoC in the military.  Originally this tag was meant just for African-Americans but I’ve been using it for any people of color.

Civil Rights Movement – books dealing with the civil rights movement that occurred in America from about 1954 to 1968.

Diverse and Disabled – books about PoC or indigenous who also happen to have some form of disability.

Discrimination – books or articles dealing specifically with discrimination as a major theme (many of the books I review here will include thoughts on discrimination).

Economically Disadvantaged – people who are living paycheck to paycheck without a safety net, don’t have basic necessities, or books about how economics is further disadvantaging minority groups.

Education – books specifically dealing with the education disparity

Intersectional Medicine – books about medicine by people of color or books about medicine/health featuring people of color as main characters.

Lynching – books that deal with lynching or similar racially motivated suppressive violence as a major topic or event.

Slavery – currently this tag is mostly about slavery in the United States

Wisconsin – these are books dealing specifically with Wisconsin, either fiction set there, books by Wisconsin authors, or non-fiction books that take place in the state or biographies of people who have lived here.

How I Got the Book:

librarycheckout – checked the book out from one of the libraries that I work at or which my family patronizes.  This is probably half my reading material, but not always half my reviews (because of needing to return the books, or the books not being diverse).

boughtit – I purchased this item myself, probably from a used bookstore, library sale, thrift store, or online, but maybe from a book fair or a regular store.  I didn’t get it from Target or the dollar store.

giftedtome – somebody gave me or my family this book, either off of a wish list or on their own accord.  Right now I am also including free books in this category too, because I get my free books from the library or little library boxes or exchanges, not fancy ARCs.  If a publisher or author gives me a free book then I might make another category.

targetpicks – I try to encourage Target to keep their book section stocked and to be more diverse by buying a diverse book there every month.  Often there are not a lot of choices, so it leads me to pick up things I otherwise wouldn’t.

dollarstorefinds – the dollar store is really cheap, every so often I take ten bucks and see if I can find that many diverse books there.  Like the previous tag, it often leads me to things I never would have chosen on my own.  Some of them are awful, some of them are great, but it is always interesting.

ebooks – this tag indicates an ebook version was read.  Most of the time this is a free ebook from Project Gutenberg or another site.  In those cases the book will also be tagged freebie (which is also used for other free materials such as short stories, comics, or coloring pages).  Some times I get ebooks through my local public library, in which case I would use the library tag as well.

thriftstorefinds – after a really nice thrift store haul, I started using this tag, but it’s in conjunction with the boughtit tag.  If I end up using it a lot, I might go back and remove the duplicate.

borrowed – I borrowed this book, but not from a library.

There also lots of other tags you can browse through, but these are the standard tags I always use.


basketball – our family’s favorite sport.
soccer – In America, elsewhere it’s called football.
American football – a different sport than soccer.
lacrosse – an Iroquois sport
gymnastics – never expected to read so many books about gymnastics!
dance – all kinds
boxing –
martial arts – all types
track – this tag covers running as well as other sports like hurdling, javelin throwing, etc.

Other Hobbies:

music – whether playing an instrument, singing, or listening avidly, books that deal with music or musicians

cooking – fiction books where cooking or baking are important, or how-to books, or books involving food (which used to be a separate tag but I combined them).

gardening – also planting, harvesting, and farming.  Possibly farming should be a separate tag but there weren’t enough instances of either.

chess – books that deal with chess playing as a major topic


illuminated – I use this word a little differently here than I would professionally.  Here I use the word to indicate a book for middle grade or older readers that includes illustrations in a non-traditional format (in the margins, integrated with the text, included as part of a merged story, etc.).  These books are NOT graphic novels or comics, they have a standard chapter book format outside of the illuminations.

novel in verse – a book (usually fiction although this tag also includes some non-fiction) told entirely through poems

books in translation – as I started reviewing more books translated from other languages, in 2022 I created a tag specifically for those books.  I only consider the English language portion of books even if they are bilingual as my fluency in other languages is not high enough for literary criticism.

Updated March 31st, 2022.

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