Choosing Books for Your Child

September 07, 2014

Not every book is a good book, of course many children's books are shoddily written and poorly illustrated -- and far too many use words or deal with themes that are inappropriate.

Here are some suggestions on what we parents can do:

1. Talk to the experts. Children's librarians can provide suggestions for books for children of all ages.

2. Know what your child is reading. Reading out loud to your children is a good way to do this, of course. But even with older children (and even with textbooks!) it is a good idea to keep an eye on what they are reading. Sometimes this is all it takes to head off problems with objectional language, values or subject material.

3. Make your concerns known. If you don't like something, let the people responsible know. Write to the author of the book, the company that published it, and the bookstore, school or library that stocked it. Ask what standards they use to evaluate a book; explain the ones you use. Try to be as positive as you can -- and whatever you don't threaten them! -- but do explain as clearly as you can what it is that you found objectionable.

And while you're fighting the bad, don't forget to encourage the good. Any time you find an exceptionally good book (On Sale or not), make sure the word gets out. Recommend it to your librarian and to your friends. Send a letter of thanks to the people responsible. And by all means, buy a copy for your child. In our society, the best way to make sure there are good children's book is to see to it that the ones that are published turn a profit.


Signs of the Times

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