by Rachael Auch, Kindergarten Teacher
As an avid reader, I have devoured books since I was a child. Almost anything I could get my hands on would be read within a couple of days. The classics, mysteries, historical fiction, almost any genre- you would find me lost to the world, my nose in a book. As much as I hate to admit it, I am old enough to have teenagers and as they have grown up and discovered a love of books much like my own, we have uncovered a serious problem with “teen fiction.” Many of these books, labeled as “teen”, are filled with adult themes, bad language, sexual content and violence. We have checked out book after book from libraries, only to have to close them after a few pages, fed up with themes and suggestive content that does not honor our Lord or encourage our hearts to integrity, honor and purity.
In our experience there seems to be a huge gap between children’s literature and teen literature. Up through sixth grade there was an abundance of books to choose from that were engaging. As soon as one was finished there would be another in line, just begging to be picked up and get lost in, and rarely (if ever!) did we stumble across inappropriate content. However, as soon you cross into the “teen” world of books, suddenly you are bombarded with so much filth that is very vividly described, and a very real discouragement because of the seemingly impossible task of finding an engaging, wholesome book that you don’t want to put down because it’s just that good.
As I began to research this issue, I discovered that there are several helpful sites online that can be a guide to help you and your child find good, wholesome, current fiction. Of course, these sites are not necessarily done by Christian reviewers and I have not read every book that is recommended- so use discernment. The ones we have tried, however, have been fantastic. This list is simply meant to be a tool for those that have encountered this problem and would like a resource to help navigate the world of teen fiction.
- homespunlight.blogspot.com ( this site lists “deliciously clean reads”)
- thriftyandthriving.com/clean-books-for-teens-girls (a list that is updated monthly and will soon have a list for boys as well)
- http://www.deliciousreads.com/2015/09/40-clean-reads-for-teens.html (The author describes this list as,”fun, riveting, adventurous novels that teenagers will love (and parents will approve of).
- http://www.deliciousreads.com/2014/09/top-24-books-for-teen-boys.html (top 24 books for teen boys)
- popsugar.com/moms/clean-books-Teenage-Girls-34835365#photo-34835365 (clean summer reads for teen girls)
- christianbook.com (select the fiction tab, then the teen tab and several genres to choose from will be available)
There are also some helpful sites that will give a detailed review of a specific book and a rating of the violence, profanity, sexual content and a plot summary:
- pluggedin.com (Focus on the Family movie and book reviews)
As Jane Austin said, “I declare there is no enjoyment like reading.” So encourage your teen to check out the reviews, grab a good book, and re-discover the joy of disappearing into the wonderful world of fiction!