One of the biggest questions and perhaps most difficult things to navigate with your kids is how exactly to transition out of the kids section.
Most kids are ready to start reading Young Adult titles around 11 to 12 (some sooner and some a bit later) but that is still relatively young when the teen section boasts a great variety of themes like sex, suicide, mental health, war, etc. The rest of the bookstore can be a dangerous place for young minds, or at the very least it opens doors that are better left closed for a few years.
There are a number of ways to check and see if a particular title is appropriate for your young one and I’ll list a few here now.
Is a great all around resource that gives you no nonsense reviews of books, movies, and television. I really appreciate that they don’t simply put an age on everything but also list out the reasons for placing it in that category. Some kids might be better with violence than other and there are some kids who have no problem with some explicit language but would rather stay away from anything to do with . They list the themes or instances of questionable content which allow you to decide whether it is appropriate for your child. No one knows your child like you do so be sure and click through to the full review to better understand the ins and outs of the media you choose to share with them.
Is another site devoted to reviewing and categorizing modern media for parents. They don’t separate into specific ages but rather good for everyone, good for 12+ (which is perfect for your teens), and good for 18+. If you want to browse just be sure to filter the results by their age categories. They will also break down how they came to that rating. Showing which particular category (sex, violence, language, etc.) pushed out of one category and into the next. It takes a little more work to understand the minutia on this site but if you want an easier one glance rating, this site might work better for you.
At this point you probably have picked up the gist. Plugged In is another site dedicated to reviewing media aimed at kids and discussing the areas that might cause some alarm or be better for older kids. I find this one best if you have a particular series or title in mind as browsing the site is a bit difficult for me personally but it might work better for you so I thought I would add it in here as well. I will say that they thoroughly go through the themes and content so if you really want a well researched and explained review this sight might be better for you. They also feel more christian oriented which could be a pro or con depending on your point of view.
I will say that these sites are great background research but will always be coming from a slightly biased stand point. They won’t be discussing whether the book is popular or enjoyable they are simply breaking down the possible things that one might not want to introduce to their child. For a more well rounded review there are book reviewers like myself out there talking about the content and themes in a greater capacity. You can always talk with your local booksellers as well about which titles they enjoyed or have seen others enjoy and do the background research afterwards.
The last resort is always to either read the book together so that you can discuss any issues that come up as they come up or to read it first and then hand it over because again, you know your kid best.
I am going to be making more posts in this series where I discuss some books I suggest for kids so be sure to follow the blog in whatever way suites you best!