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I have been thinking about this ^ a lot in the last week, if you receive my bookish newsletter each week you’ll already know that from last week’s email.
Part of this has a lot to do with the fact that Raeca is really into the fantasy genre and it’s something I know almost nothing about since it’s never been my genre. I have become slightly more knowledgeable in the last couple of years but just a little.
I know that many books, especially those in the fantasy and fairy tale genres can be so great for sharing the Gospel story, where good conquers evil, but there are also many books in the genre that aren’t great, or are better for certain ages.
Last week as I was thinking about this subject I decided to go back and listen to an old episode of the Read Aloud Revival podcast – #41 where Sarah Mackenzie interviews Carolyn Leiloglou on the topic of navigating fantasy for Christian parents.
The episode is very good and I highly recommend listening to it if you or your kids are interested in the fantasy genre.
But the truth is, it’s not only fantasy books that we should be screening for our children.
WHY WE SHOULD SCREEN WHAT OUR KIDS READ
As a Christian parent it is my job to make sure the books my kids read are helpful in someway instead of harmful. I’m supposed to prepare them for their life but in an age appropriate way. I am also to train them to love and follow Jesus.
One thing I didn’t understand as a kid when my parents were telling me not to read certain kinds of books was that they were actually doing so out of a love for me and not just because they wanted to be strict. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until I borrowed some of these “banned” books from my friends and had nightmares as a result, of course I couldn’t actually tell my parents about these nightmares because then they would know I had read the books.
(The books I am referring to are the Goosebumps books, I just Googled it and a bunch of covers popped up and they still creep me out to this day though I have zero recollection what the books are actually about.)
(Yikes, this photo is a flashback to my more minimalist days and also when we didn’t own so many books, I miss those days in many ways. Sorry, that was off topic . . .)
I don’t think every book kids (or adults) read need to have some major lesson or moral. I know that sometimes it is nice to have a chance to read a lighter book, especially if you’ve just finished reading something heavy or you are going through a heavier season in life but I do think that we need to be careful about we read and what we let our children read.
While I was having all these thoughts last week I went to a Lamplighter book party and it was so encouraging to hear of a company that puts in an effort to their stories are character building and it was another reminder that I want to be more diligent with the books we read in our home.
HOW DO WE MANAGE TO SCREEN ALL THE BOOKS?
Because I know not every parent has the time/interest/ability to pre-read every book their kids read I am planning on starting to do some book reviews here. Since I enjoy reading a lot of middle grade books, have a decent sized collection thanks to thrift stores and have access to nearly every book thanks to the library, writing book reviews seems like a good idea.
Instead of the weekly book lists I’ve been writing pretty regularly for nearly three years most weeks I will be posting a book review instead of a list (though there will still be some book lists every now and then). I’m planning on mostly doing reviews for chapter books (probably heavy on the middle grade chapter books) but if there is a picture book or something else that I feel like reviewing I’ll go ahead and do that (my site my rules 😉).
If you have suggestions on some books you would be interested in having me review, let me know, I obviously already have a stack waiting for me to read but if there is something specific people are looking for I’ll bump that up on my list.
If you have rules for what your kids are allowed to read or methods on how you make sure the books they are reading are good I would love to hear them!