Are You Choosing the Right Books for Your Children?
Do you preview the books your child reads? Should you? If a book seems harmless, is it really necessary?
Every author’s worldview is woven throughout each piece he or she writes. This worldview may not be apparent on the surface, but it is subtly conveyed through characters’ words and actions and by whether there are consequences for inappropriate behavior. Websites such as Pluggedin.com and CommonSenseMedia.org are great resources to help identify the large issues in books (such as profanity, sex, and violence). However, you may need to skim a chapter or two to spot less obvious concerns. For instance, just as disrespectfulness permeates today’s culture, too often it defines a protagonist’s personality in newer children’s books.
Help your child learn to be discerning with book choices that represent godly characters and worthwhile themes. By the time your child is a preteen or teen and wants to read a popular teen novel, consider getting two copies so that each of you can read it and then discuss it together. This mini “reading club” would provide a wonderful opportunity to discuss real-world issues while teaching your child how to evaluate books through the lens of the Bible.
Just as some books contain inappropriate content but are well written, there are books that contain nothing objectionable but are poorly written. Are the books your child reads thought-provoking and original? Are the words precise yet captivating? Do sentences flow together in a clear and engaging manner? Since your child will improve his or her writing by reading exceptional examples, encourage your child to periodically read classics, both old and new. Go to ChristianBook.com for lists of classics and visit Perma-Bound.com or Amazon.Com/ChildrensBooks for lists of award-winning books. Be sure to preview these books just as you would any other, because the content may not be suited to your child’s age, your family’s values, or your specific child’s needs. Well-written books often deal with controversial or difficult topics.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
About the Author
Mrs. Debbie Petzrick, a grandmother, cat lover, and consummate bookworm, believes that reading is the foremost skill children learn in school. In her job as the Lower School Language Arts/Reading Specialist, she delights in equipping students with an essential learning tool, a lifelong pastime, and the means to “correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).