Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
I mean, that basically sums up what I think about when I’m picking out books for my little minions.
Why You Need to Preview a Read Aloud Chapter Book
I review lots of books so you can feel confident that you are picking up a good book. However, there is no way that we agree 100% with what makes a book ok. It just is not possible.
What I Look At When I Write Reviews
Now that you know how to preview books (even books that I recommend) let me share a little bit more about what I look at when I review books.
I do not read aloud anything to my children with childhood crushes/boyfriends/girlfriends/twitterpated feelings/etc. That is a personal choice, and how I try to fight against the early sexualization of children in our society. That also means that we have not read all of the Little House books, or the Penderwick Family series, even though they are excellent books.
I am comfortable reading books to my children that do not have a solidly “young earth creationist” viewpoint. However, I do mention when there are things in a book that a young earth creationist would not agree with. (I’m looking at you Narwhal and Jelly series!)
My kids do fine with cartoon type violence. They do not do well with anything that is sibling rivalry or fighting between siblings. So I note anything that would fall in those categories in my reviews. I wrote an article with more information, How to Handle Violence in Read Aloud Books.
Finally, it is important to me that we are reading books that line up with our core faith values: seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God. This does not mean that they are mainly Christian books. In fact, most of them are secular. However, it does mean that we read books where good triumphs over evil, love is displayed, truth is told, and the family is honored. (Now seems like a good time to encourage you to read aloud The Lighthouse Family series if you haven’t yet.)
If a book is against any of these core faith values, I’ll let you know in the review. I also encourage you to bring Jesus into EVERY read aloud book! We do that with The Three Questions, but however you do it, the most important thing is that you do it!
So, happy reading…after you preview!