I have a family of passionate readers. My husband and I imparted our love of stories to all three of our wonderful children. The love of reading was the best gift we could have given them, although it was often a fight to get our kids to put down their books long enough to do their chores.
Like all avid readers, we know how difficult it is to find a good book. This hunt becomes especially difficult when you’re a parent who is looking for an engaging story at an appropriate content level for your child. Trying to find a good story that doesn’t give your child nightmares, expose them to ideas they’re not ready for, or are not overly worldly can spiral into two paths: either monitoring your child’s reading becomes a full-time job, or you allow them to pick their own books and cross your fingers they don’t stumble into something they’re not ready for.
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Would you let your child read that?
This question was the start of many conversations. As an English teacher and a parent of three bookworms, I often found myself wondering the same thing.
My solution was to read. This was the best way to discover if I could recommend a book to my children, my students, and to other parents. As I began reading more children and teen books, I was often surprised by the maturity level of the content. I soon realized that being a good story wasn’t enough to land a book on my child’s reading list.
I also discovered that most book review sites lacked the information I was looking for. I wanted more than a plot summary. I wanted to know not only what was talked about, but how it was said; not only what happened, but how much detail was described.
Introducing Sneak Peek
Our goal is to put potentially objectionable material into context, so you can determine if a book is right for your child. For example, many books contain death, but that topic can range from a comical villain falling off a cliff to a gruesome and haunting death scene fit only for mature young adult readers. With detailed breakdowns and exact quotes, parents will know exactly what their child is being exposed to.
Books are amazing. They open doors to strange worlds and allow readers to explore ideas and circumstances they’ve never experienced. But books can also be frightening and confusing if the content isn’t right. We strive to give you the information you need to make the best, most informed decision about bringing a book into your home.
A Better Option Than Age Ranges
As I expanded my reading of children’s books, I was often surprised by the publisher recommended age range. Often, I discovered that I would not want my children to read a book that was in their recommended age range. I recently read an elementary story that gave me nightmares. The publisher may list it as appropriate for ten year olds, but there is no way my sensitive son will be reading it! I also read a YA novel that delved far into the realities of sexual blackmail. Yes, it was a well-written story, written and marketed for high schoolers, but I hope my children never read it. I wish I had never read it.
My conclusion has been that a book’s interest level does not always conform to its age group. While age guidelines can be helpful, not all children mature at the same rate. Your ten year old may be devouring content meant for teenagers, or they only be ready for junior high reads. You know your child best, which is why Sneak Peek gives you the tools to safely nurture your child’s love of reading.