Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Read a Book” as Want to Read:
How to Read a Book
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Read a Book

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,197 ratings  ·  272 reviews
A stunning new picture book from Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet! This New York Times bestselling duo has teamed up for the first time to bring you How to Read a Book, a poetic and beautiful journey about the experience of reading.

Find a tree—a

black tupelo or

dawn redwood will do—and

plant y
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by HarperCollins
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,197 ratings  ·  272 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Yup, yup, soak this one up!!
Mary Lee
Wow. Melissa Sweet pulled out all the stops on this one. Hidden Nikki Grimes quote in the spread between the title page and the dedication page, before Kwame's poem begins (took me about four reads to find it). Gatefold, two small pages with cutouts, neon colors, and of course her amazing collages and lettering. The illustrations kind of overwhelm the poem a bit, if I'm going to be honest, but I love Kwame's metaphor of reading: peeling and eating a clementine. I'm feeling like lots of clementin ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous book by a dynamic duo. Adult book nerds will appreciate the incredible artwork, clever language, and connections to notable poets. Kid book nerds will enjoy the clever structural features. OK, the adults like the structural features, too.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
For a book on 'How to read a book" this is really hard to read... like physically, it is hard to read the actual text. The collage like art combined with overly bright colors and mismatched patchwork font choices are jarring to the eye. I'm not sure what they were thinking, but there were some poor design choices on this one. The text is your standard Kwame Alexander poetry, though some of the word choices come off a little... sensual at times.

The text itself is not bad, but I had trouble actua
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
This could have been fine, but the writing was almost indistinguishable from the art, which made it really difficult to read the actual poetry. I couldn’t make it through while I was at the store today. I will have to dedicate some actual time to it, which I assume I would if I were to purchase it, but... ehhh. To summarize, I did not enjoy the art style. No comment on the poetry since I was UNABLE TO CONCENTRATE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY READ IT.
Laura Harrison
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am in awe of How to Read a Book! The gorgeous cover art draws you in and the text wow's you! Melissa Sweet is one of the very best picture book illustrator's of our time. She has topped herself with this one. Every page is an inspired wonder. There isn't a question in my mind that How to Read a Book will win awards. It is spectacular.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
I know some will disagree but I found the book very hard to read. While I enjoyed the artful illustrations, I felt that a young child who may try to read this would have difficulty due to the font style interspersed with the collage work. I love the poem. I love the artwork. I don't love them together.
How fun, an ode to reading. Instructional in the best way. "Once you're comfy, peel its gentle skin, like you would a clementine...Next, did your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section and POP the words out." I can't decide if I prefer the illustrations or the writing better, both are so complementary and enjoyable. Check this book out!
Jillian Heise
This one would likely not make a good read aloud because of how busy the pages are and how the words are illustrated making it harder to read. As a lap story, it would be good, and has a beautiful way of saying what it has to say.
Lyrical, beautiful, mesmerizing. The power of reading a form of bibliotherapy in itself. Bookart collages and zany colourways abound. Love it.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books

Also, I would like several of these illustrations for my walls.
Ben Truong
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How to Read a Book is a children's picture book written Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, which is a wonderful ode to reading.

Alexander's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and lyrical. It depicts the joys and wonders of reading with verse and beautiful imagery. Sweet's illustrations riff on his verse, line by line, imbuing spreads with the feel of a continually evolving, handmade love letter.

The premise of the book is rather straightforward. It is si
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to love this book as I've read rave reviews on it. While I do love the poem that this is based on, the art form used to illustrate the book made some of the pages very difficult to read. I found myself double checking to make sure I read everything that I was supposed to. I'm thinking younger readers may have the same issue.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
A poem about how to read a book. The artwork is busy and brilliantly colorful, mixed with collages and cutouts. At times I felt the poem got lost in the artwork. I had to read pages more than once to make sure I was seeing it correctly. I recommend this book as a one on one reading experience.
Wow! This book is stunning on both sides: Kwame Alexander's poetry sparkles and transports, a loe letter to reading a book. Melissa Sweet's collage illustrations are amazing and the perfect accompaniment. I've read the book to classes six times this week and each gets better and better. This one is a gem.
What a dilemma! She is one of my favorite illustrators. I love poetry. Put these together and it should be a WIN!


The illustrations tangled me badly. I was lost and ill-sorted and ill-suited against the collages and bright pops. *hangs head in defeat* What I normally cherish lead me astray and befuddled me; I feel frustrated and vexed. I kept checking and re-checking each page to make sure that I didn't miss anything. I would love to use this as a read-aloud, but I would PRACTICE. Har
Kwame Alexander + Melissa Sweet + a book about reading + NEON color is going to get my attention for sure! Yet a little part of this book didn't gel for me. I found myself wishing I could hear Kwame read the poem aloud, while experiencing Melissa Sweet's collages in a bigger way -- gallery size? Animated? I'm not sure. This may be more at home in a poetry unit than as a straight-ahead picture book.

"The artist used watercolor, gouache, mixed media, handmade and vintage papers, found o
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A true dream team with Kwame Alexander's beautiful poetry (I believe I first saw a version of this poem in the Scholastic Open a World of Possible book) paired with Melissa Sweet's signature collage style that captures the magic of devouring the written word. A tribute to the power of books made from words from books, specifically Bambi, although I'm so curious where the rest of them are from. I can't wait for the behind the scenes making of this incredible book, as well as the chance to see it ...more
Kwame Alexander's poem about reading is lovely: "Next, dig your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section/and Pop the words out". Melissa Sweet's illustrations illuminate: see that toaster 'popping words'. Both make for slow reading, just the way to read poetry and to savor art. You have to get the book itself. I won't try to describe this special celebration of reading further. Might be a marvelous one for the first days of school? Early on, look for a quote by Nikki Grimes.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought perhaps I was missing out by getting the audiobook of this, but after reading how some people have said the illustrations are a bit distracting, I guess it's okay. I've enjoyed Melissa Sweet's illustrations in other books, so will still have to see the hardcover of this.

The audiobook actually consisted of a longer explanation than the poem itself, but Alexander does a great job as an enthusiastic narrator. He has come a long way since he recorded Crossover!
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wildly original and highly interactive; ‘How To Read A Book,’ guides readers in a poetic, lyrical journey, to do simply that, read.

Pages fall loose, and open to vibrant commanding pages of prose that are simple and easy to follow, but are also engaging and deep. The illustrations are lush, vivid, and startlingly eye-catching.

This is the type of book you pass from child-to-child and generation-to-generation. An enjoyable read that you’ll want to unfold again and again.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this much preferable as an audiobook: Alexander's narration was a much better accompaniment to the words than Sweet's art. Not to say that her art isn't wonderful in here, it just didn't seem to fit for me: I think it might be more confusing to younger audiences as opposed to accentuating the story.
This is a beautifully illustrated picture book that talks about how to read a book. First you find a comfy spot, then you dive in to the colors, the smell, the rustling of pages, by yourself or with friends.
Stacy Weddle
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Such a lovely and wonderful book about loving to read any book! It is pure bliss and the illustrations are lively and sweet and thoughtful! I read this to my 9 year old tonight and we both just smiled and sighed and got excited about the next book we will open to read!!
Mrs. Krajewski
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Gorgeous illustrations and words! Melissa Sweet and Kwame Alexander are a great combo!
Amy Romanowski
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books-read
Lovely book with fantastic word choice!
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the vibrant illustrations and of course the beautiful words celebrating reading!
Olivia Williford (LivTheBookNerd)
What a lovely poem dedicated to the joy of reading. The words were so beautiful and baffled the senses. The illustrations were so bright and beautiful.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
The illustrations were beautiful, but they made it difficult for me to appreciate the poetry and visuals simultaneously. Lovely poem, though, Kwame. <3
Explosive colors and creative, fun collage art to go with a great message about reading but it was a little hard on the eyes and difficult to read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 21 books, including THE CROSSOVER, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children, the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor, The NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, and the Passaic Poetry Prize. Kwame writes for children ...more
“don’t rush though: your eyes need time to taste. your soul needs room to bloom.” 0 likes
More quotes…