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I look around the local book stores and libraries and become utterly saddened at what I see available for our young adult readers today. Our teens are having to sift through books with themes that are either opposite of what God’s Word teaches should be the worldview for a Believer, or they’re having to stay glued to classics rather than broadening genres just to ensure a spiritual or emotional comfort zone.
Let me give you an example:
I was browsing Barnes and Noble with my teen daughter a few weeks ago. She picked up a book from the teen section. When I looked at the cover of this book I immediately felt a “check” in my spirit and wanted to take it straight out of her hands and hide it. But in being more in line with my new self- the “cool mom”, I restrained myself from doing so. She sat down, opened to the first page, and began reading. I waited. She turned the second page. Then she slammed the book shut in utter disgust. I asked her, “What is it?” I opened the book to the page she had just read and began reading for myself. I soon shut the book in disgust. There, right on the second page, was an extremely graphic depiction of a violent and gruesome suicide. At that moment, I wished that I had taken the book and scanned it myself before I let her sit down to “cozy up” and read.
This “mistake” happens way more times than we moms like to admit. Our teen girls and boys are reading material that we wouldn’t approve of them watching (because at least then it would be x-rated and we would have a heads-up, thanks to ratings. And even that’s also questionable since many of the once R-rated movies back in the early 90’s would today be considered PG-13.)
If we have avid readers, it’s even harder to keep up with what our kids are reading. In our home, the piles of books come and go swiftly and I barely have a chance to catch my breath before my kids have whizzed through yet another book series without my so much as even having a clue about what these stories are all about. And who has time? I can’t sit down with my kids and read every.single. book they bring into the house.
But alas- I’ve found a solution that works for me for now. It’s a temporary solution, but it will do the trick until I can sit down and read with her more often – and I really do want to! But for now, my biggest piece of advice is to utilize the power of review sites.
I’m enjoying Common Sense Media. I love this resource for parents, especially the book reviews. Also available are reviews for apps, movies, games, websites, and tv shows. You can narrow your results by age, genre, entertainment type, or topic. So far, I’ve been able to quickly browse through this site to find books my daughter is reading and get a quick review and idea about what the books she’s reading are about.
Some other book review sources you may want to check out are:
- The Story Sanctuary (book reviews from a Christian world view)
- Teen Lit Review blog
- Christian Books For Tweens and Teens
- Karen Kingsbury’s Family Fiction
- Little Willow’s clean reads for early teens
- Jill Williamson’s Novel Teen
- Clean teen fiction (on Goodreads)
- A clean reads list on Amazon
- Teen fiction list on Christianbooks.com
- Redeemed Reader
- Christian Fantasy Book Reviews
Knowing what our kids are reading is a not only a plus, but a must. Not only does it help us to keep up with new ideas being presented to our children through the medium of books, but keeping up with our kids’ literature choices gives us opportunities for relevant family discussions.
Hopefully this post gives you some food for thought and encourages you that we moms (and dads too) can take a more prominent role in selecting and reviewing our kids’ reading material.
More links on this podcast:
What are your thoughts? Do you recommend other book review sites? Let me know in the comments.