I wish, with all of my heart, that there was a book rating system similar to movies. I wish they would warn us in advance what language, violence, and sex scenes were in the books we want to read. I love reading and so do my kids. The problem I come across, though is that I will begin reading a book, based on the many recommendations of others and find out it is full of filth. I want to help find clean books to read for me, but also for my kids. I do not have time to read every book that they want to read. As they are getting older, I am becoming more and more concerned.
I am very selective about the media I allow into my home. If it would make me uncomfortable watching it on television, it would also make me uncomfortable reading it. I often will quit reading a book part-way through due to inappropriate content. I find it even more important for my kids! Do any of you have this problem? So, what do you do to help you find clean books to read?
I have been searching and I want to let you in on a few of the ways that I have discovered to help me in my quest to find clean books to read. There are a whole bunch of other people who seem to feel the same way and they are doing their part to help the rest of us out! I am grateful for that, but I really do wish there was one place where we could have all of it and make it consistent! (Make sure to read to the end & sign my petition!!)
So without fail, here is my list of resources to help you . . .
How To Find Clean Books to Read:
The first is a series of books. Gladys Hunt writes a series of books: Honey for a Child’s Heart, Honey for a Teen’s Heart, and Honey for a Woman’s Heart. In these books, the author teaches how to find good books, the importance of reading good books, as well as sharing a list of great books that she has read. They are all family-friendly and clean reads!
Book Review Websites:
1000 Good Books– This website has a list of 1000 good books categorized by grade and topic to help you in teaching your kids! It is aimed at homeschoolers and is huge and exhaustive, but such a wonderful resource!
Rated Reads– This site is fantastic!! I just wish it had 10x more books on it! Rated Reads has books organized by ratings: None, Mild, Moderate, High, Dirt. You can choose what level you are comfortable with and select books from that list. They have adult and young adult categories and you can search by title or author. You can request specific reviews.
Common Sense Media – This website gives ratings on all kinds of media. They have book lists by topic and ages. They rate based on positive messages and role models, engagement, learning, violence and scariness, etc. It is a wonderful website with so much content!
Plugged In (a part of Focus on the Family) does book reviews as well as other media reviews. They share family-friendly books that parents will feel safe allowing their kids to read. They share a plot summary and then tell of any questionable material that might be in the books. They even mention alcohol use or smoking.
Compass Book Ratings– this is a well-established website with more than 1800 reviews on it. They have 13 reviewers helping write their reviews. You can search books by title, author or content. They use standard n numeric ratings and also give recommended ages for the books.
The Fussy Librarian– This is a neat site that does reviews on books, but also offers a service to bring books to you that match your reading style!
Novel Book Ratings is a great review website. It has a search engine to find the different books that have been reviewed. You can search by category, by author or title. They rate profanity, violence and sexual content.
Learning Resource Directory– This is a book review website. They review books and give a synopsis as well as warnings on any topics related to Language, bad morals, violence, death, drugs/drinking, etc. After each review they will list any things you may need to look out for. You can request books to be reviewed, too. They have a large library of books.
Book Review Blogs:
Library of Clean Reads– This is a blog that reviews books. They have 3 different reviewers sharing on this site. They review books and rate them with the following: C = clean S = sex V = violence P = profanity PA = paranormal You can request specific reviews. You can see all of the books they have reviewed by title or by author. They have a great list and have been doing it since 2009.
Good Clean Reads– This is a book review blog. She started it for the same reason as many of the other sites, to help us find good books to read. She uses a rating system of 1-5 for Sexual Content, Profanity and Violence. There is not a large quantity of reviews yet, but it still has some great content!
Good Clean Books– This site has a list of books they have deemed safe to read that are good and clean. There is a children’s section as well. There is not a large list, and the site seems a bit outdated, but still has enough to help you find some good ones. There is no rating system.
Clean Read Books– It appears this site is just getting going. They have a few reviews and are taking review requests. They have a mailing list you can subscribe to for updates. They also want you to tag their twitter handle when you read a clean book to help spread the word. @CleanReadBooks.
The Literate Mother– This is another blog site that reviews books. It is very well done! They have their own rating system and a team of reviewers. Their rating is on a scale of 0 to 5 with 0 having no inappropriate content and 5 having excessive disturbing content. You can browse by genre or title. They appear to have a very large collection of book ratings.
Wholesome Reads– This is another book review site that focuses just on clean, wholesome books. She has a good list of books that will help you to “train up a child in the way he should go.” It is a nice blog & one worth checking out.
Homespun Light is a book review site written by a friend of mine. Her focus is “Deliciously Clean Reads”. She has hundreds of reviews that you can search by category.
Read Clean Books is another book review blogger. The books are rated like movies- G, PG, PG-13, R. They review well-known books as well as others I have not heard of.
Kathryn Cooper Writes (Formerly Clean Teen Fiction) reviews books for teens and adults and gives a rating system like the movie ratings. You can search her site by content or by star ratings. She has a big list of books that she has reviewed to date.
Bloggin’ Bout Books is another book review site. They give an A,B,C,D rating based on how well they liked the book as well as a rating based on content (PG, Pg-13, R). They list inappropriate content in the book and give a synopsis as well. You can search by Title or author. There is a good list of reviews!
Thrifty and Thriving– While this is not a book review site, she has a book list of Clean Books for Teens that she keeps updated regularly. It is a good starting point if you are looking for book lists for your teens!
Parental Book Reviews is a small group of reviewers who love reading! They share their reviews and ratings on their site by listing sexual content, profanity and violence as well as other notable things (drugs, witchcraft, etc.)
I also found a great Amazon thread where people share their recommendations on clean books.
Publishing Companies that Focus on Clean Reading:
Clean Teen Publishing– They actually give their books ratings!
There are MANY others, I am sure!!!
In my research I also came across some information on the American Library Association’s Website. They say that a rating system is not possible due to the Library Bill of Rights. They say that it would be a violation of their rules. I have to STRONGLY disagree and say that it is a much needed thing in this society. With media incorporating more and more garbage, we NEED a way to be able to know what is inside the covers of these books.
That is why I started my own petition on change.org. I hope you will take a moment to sign it and share it! My petition is to the American Library Association to start a national rating system. This would not be for book restrictions, but just to make it apparent to all who want to read it what content is in it.
I have decided it is time to start a National Book Rating System and have started my own petition. Would you be willing to help support this IMPORTANT cause? Also, PLEASE spread the word if this is something you feel passionate about!!