Reference Corner: Is This a Good Book for My Child?

By FPL_Sheri

"Is this a good book?"

We hear this question frequently, and often my answer is yes! But sometimes I’m aware that the question really being asked is “Is this a good book for my child?”. I appreciate this question having been surprised with some topics I wasn’t yet ready to discuss with my child. I’ve also been the parent searching for books to help me introduce topics in an age appropriate and casual way – I have been so appreciative of well-done books that help me teach my children this way! But how do I know if this is the one!?!

You may be aware that there are a multitude of parenting styles, educational techniques, and of course opinions on what is and what is not age appropriate. And publishers, stores, and libraries provide access to a large variety of materials, which is great when you get what you want and not so great when you don’t. So, how do you know?

The tried-and-true method is to read the book yourself. I fully support and have used this method many times myself, but it gets more challenging as your children get older and the books get longer. I still recommend this option, even if you just read a portion of it. I’ve read some books completely thinking I was not going to be happy with them only to find that the author did a great job introducing a tough subject. Opinions can get quite loud and follow a particular viewpoint. The more this happens I think it’s worth my time to form an educated opinion of my own.

If you are looking for the CliffNotes, crib sheet, or SparkNotes instead of reading all the books your cherub would like to devour I do have some suggestions. A popular resource to learn about content, recommended ages, and to get opinions from other parents is Common Sense Media, opens a new window. This nonprofit site provides information and ratings about books, movies, games, apps and more. But this is not the only resource at your fingertips.

Have you noticed some of the resources available to you right from There are book ratings and comments from library users and staff that can help guide you. This catalog entry for Wonder, opens a new window is a good example. There are ratings, a synopsis, comments, book reviews from Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, age suitability recommendations, and the opportunity to read an excerpt right from the online catalog!

You may also want to visit our Reading Recommendations, opens a new window page with databases filled with reviews and suggestions for reads similar to other titles you have enjoyed. The great news is that there are many resources available to help you make the decision if a particular book is good for your child. I hope their next read is amazing!