How do I know if a book is right for my kids?
It’s a little overwhelming to stay on top of all of the books my kids want to read. I want to encourage them to read; however, I do not want to expose them to a story-line that is violent, disturbing, filled with inappropriate relationships, and bad language.
This post is really meant for a reader who is self selecting books themselves. If you’re looking for books on how to choose a book at an appropriate level, click here. What do you do when your child asks you to request a new book from the library or purchase one from the new school book order?
You look at the titles and find yourself asking, is this book “safe” for my child to read?
I’d love a system that rates books similar to the movies: G, PG, PG-13, R, and even NC-17. While I haven’t found those types of ratings, plenty of sites have their own system.
I would like to stress that it is still important to screen reading material as much as possible. Friends and knowledgeable librarians may have different standards. Since it is nearly impossible to pre-read every single title for your voracious reader, try out the sites below and bookmark your favorite one!
Book Review Sites for ALL Kids (elementary – high school)
Books listed below contain affiliate links.
My personal favorite book review site is Common Sense Media. It is known for it’s movie, video games, and app reviews; however, it also includes books. You can search by book title, age, topic, parent recommended, and award winners. This is my go-to book review site!
Age Appropriate Rating System: Green, Yellow, and Red circles (like a stoplight) to let you see if this content is appropriate for your child’s age.
GREEN: Content is age appropriate for kids this age.
YELLOW: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
Christian Book Reviews for Parents
Background: Review includes full plot summary, Christian beliefs, profanity, kissing, sex, and discussion questions.
Favorite: Books are organized alphabetically and give a very thorough overview.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” warns Proverbs 4:23. God’s Word recognizes how critical it is to help our young children guard their hearts, especially during the school—age years when they are developing mentally, physically and emotionally.
Background: Tasha is a librarian in Wisconsin. She reviews everything from picture books to teen novels. She only reviews books that she really enjoys. Tasha also has a great Pinterest board with boards for all of the best early, middle, and teen books of the year.
4. Good Reads
Background: Good Reads gives you book summary, but not age appropriateness or level. You can set up an account (free), but you can also browse without an account.
Favorite: You can search for a title and see reviews. They list the popular books from the past year, see middle school books here.
5. Epic Reads
Epic Reads is a community for teen book lovers. Discover teen books, authors, and join communities to share reading interests. You can browse by genre.
A great resource for selecting books for gifted readers is Some of My Best Friends Are Books by Judith Wynn Halstead.
A thought provoking book about a teacher who awakens the inner-reader in the 6th graders. The Reading Teacher by Donalyn Miller.
What would you recommend?