Monday, July 12, 2010

Build your own book review

I had never heard of Common Sense Media before yesterday, but their purpose statement sounded innocuous enough: they're a nonprofit organization dedicated to "improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology." Unfortunately, this School Library Journal article paints a more disturbing picture. CSM's reviews break literary content down into various categories, including appropriate age levels, "good stuff", and "what to watch out for". Thus a book like Lauren Kate's Fallen gets a high rating, because it contains relatively low levels of violence, sex, drug and alcohol abuse, bad language, and consumerism. (Plus, the author of the review feels fallen angels are "more charming" than vampires, although no reason was given for that assessment.) The fact that Fallen was poorly thought out and featured an emotionally bipolar love interest doesn't bother CSM one bit, apparently.

Ugh. Look, if you're worried about what your kid is reading, read it yourself. Don't rely on someone else (no matter how well-respected) to tell you what's safe and what isn't. And just think: young adult and kids' books can be fun. You might even enjoy yourself!

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