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Should Books Have Ratings for Children?

I have heard many arguments about book ratings for children. Concerned parents are weary of what their children may be reading, and they are not the only ones.

Dr. Sarah Coyne from Brigham Young University completed a study regarding the amount of profanity in books geared to children as young as nine.  In an interview with US News she said, “I think we put books on a pedestal compared to other forms of media. I thought long and hard about whether to do the study in the first place—I think banning books is a terrible idea, but a content warning on the back I think would empower parents.”

The American Library Association has a different viewpoint, believing any type of warning or rating system is just another type of censorship. Their preamble states, “Cataloging decisions, labels, or ratings applied in an attempt to restrict or discourage access to materials or to suggest moral or doctrinal endorsement is a violation of the First Amendment and the Library Bill of Rights” (www.ala.org). They bring to light a good point in how one does one discern the difference between directional aids and prejudicial labels.

One website I found to help navigate the sea of content in books is Common Sense Media.  Many of these similar type websites I found are still lacking many books. But I may search for books for myself, with just the right amount of romance and action to suit my taste buds…sorry dwarf dreaming about books I want.

Back to the dwarflings. I think the best way to see what your children are reading is to read it yourself. I know it is difficult as my little one consumes books at a crazy pace and reads above her grade level.  But with the help of websites and the advice of other avid readers, I am able to find a happy balance.

So what do you say? Do you think book ratings, similar to movie ratings are the answer? Or is that another step towards banning books at our public libraries? Let me know what your vote is.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. I’m not totally for a rating systems on books, however since the Prankster Duo can consume books at a rapid race and are currently spending time with Brad Meltzer and Tom Clancy, knowing what to expect between the pages is not such a bad thing.


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