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Customer Discussions > Children's Books forum

Making the call, what do you look for when choosing your kids' books?

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Showing 26-50 of 56 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 3:16:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 18, 2012 3:17:28 PM PDT
@Terry: did you look at any of these posts before you self-promoted? It IS NOT allowed on customer forums, and tends not to be appreciated. The ONLY place this is allowed, is on the Meet Our Authors forum:

ETA: a link to the MOA.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 3:29:36 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Thanks for responding - this is an open discussion.

My eldest is 13 and we opened the doors to the "prohibited" books a while back - but with some limitations since I would be the one purchasing them.

That said, she's always been "sensitive" and passionate - cried in Disney movies when she was 2 because they were so sad, fearful in others. We were monitoring her tv and movie watching from a very young age, and she had much harsher limitations on them than her friends and cousins. Now she is a maturing young lady we are able to let her make her own decisions - and given her peer groups parents are more stringent than us we don't have to worry when she's out of our sight!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 3:33:07 PM PDT
@Cathyr: Wow, that transistion between little one and "maturing young lady" must be very scary. I am projecting, because I have three young girls, who are very close in age. I applaud your attention to "monitoring"; I think it goes a long way towards raising a strong young lady?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 4:36:55 PM PDT
cathyr says:
[Gosh, this became long and Off Topic! Sorry.]

Monitoring is important. It allows you to understand where your child is at, and know how s/he will react to different stimuli and in different situations. But with that should come a "directed freedom". *grin* IMO if you only ever helicopter parent your child will never know how to set their own limits, nor understand what s/he is capable of.

I'm in a comfortable position - my girls are 13 and 6 so all the new Mums I meet say "wow! you seem pretty laid back!" but they forget I've already done it all before and know the mistakes I make can be overcome with love and time. I reckon if I can get my first to 13 with no calls to police or arms reattached backwards, then I do okay as a parent!

I have lovely, mature girls. I have the 6yo's friends' parents come up to the 13yo and say "I want my daughter to grow up to be just like you" (really! we were both surprised, but flattered). The parents of 3yo's come up to the 6yo and thank her for taking the time to talk and play with their children. We once had the father of an autistic girl come up to us with tears in his eyes and say it was the first time his daughter had *played* and *talked* to another child. Despite all the mistakes I have made, I'm doing something right.

But a lot of it is to do with being aware of what is going on in their lives, and giving them "directed freedom". The 13yo got a mobile phone before any of her friends, when her little sister was born, so she could have the security of being able to contact us if things went wrong. She has *never* misused it. She was allowed to catch a bus on her own before her friends, stay at home by herself, babysit her younger cousins before her friends could (and many are still not allowed these "privileges"). We know our daughters well enough to know what they will do in an emergency, and what they will do with freedom. They know where our boundaries lie, and they don't cross them.

In terms of movies etc, my hubby and I are geeks at heart. It was hubby's greatest joy to introduce her to Star Wars when she was relatively young. But it was done with care. They watched it together. They would pause it and discuss what was going on. He wouldn't let her watch "Original" 3rd until she was older, and even then she wasn't allowed to watch it alone. And if a movie in the cinema had a rating greater than G, we listened to it and didn't take her to them until she was ready. It is different at home in the lounge room, with family and the ability to turn it off.

I can sit very comfortably on my high horse because the problems we have had with the girls have been overcome with time, patience and love. We learnt to be a family together. But I had good kids to begin with, who had/have good peers, good teachers, good schools, good family relationships. And we live in an area in a city in a country which is happily safe and secure. We have had everything in our favour.

Within this context I feel comfortable introducing and allowing books (for the 13yo) which have more graphic or adult themes. She doesn't *want* to read Twilight or anything with kissy bits or teen relations. She has a love of history and science (thank you "Horrible Histories" and mythbusters!) and enjoys books within those themes. She's gone heavily into YA spies, mythology based books like Percy Jackson, some light fantasy. But I do not feel the need to control her reading choices. Some books she has wanted have been placed by the school librarians in older reading groups so she could not access them. I've happily bought them for her. As much as I may wish to protect her, books still give a good, comfortable, intelligent window into the rest of the world.

And this is all after the childhood fairies and princesses.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 4:52:56 PM PDT
Wow cathyr: You truly are an awesome MOMMY. I think you had the fortitude to have a "laid back" attitude when it was warranted, and the instinct to know when to make a big deal out of something. I think that distinction is such an indicator of great parents. I am not there yet; I am still trying to figure things out. I admire the fact that you can give your girls some freedom, yet still have some say in thier media-consumption choices. What a gray area. I hope I have the fortitude to navigate these areas?

My husband and I very much differ on the level of tolerance we have for the media and what our kids come in contact with; I am much more conservative; where my husband thinks all is well as long as you give a brief explanation. We grew up in very different households: my husband with a single Mom, and I with the stereotypical "nuclear family". I think the differences between our viewpoints can very much be traced to how we were raised. I am not insulting single mothers or the typical mother/father family, just pointing out that these experiences really lend for a different experience.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:18:35 PM PDT
cathyr says:
G., I'm sure you're doing a fine job, if only because you care enough to think about it.

And thank you for your kind words. It's nice to hear. I've made *many* mistakes, and still do, but I think if we've set a good foundation to work from then we can get past them and back to being a family.

Both hubby and I are very hands on. And have both dealt with the affects of media on our first born. I'm not a crier - rarely cry at books or movies (except when pregnant!). So it shocked me when our 2yo was crying over a Disney movie. But it also gave me a reality check on how the media affected *her*. Her little sister has a greater tolerance, and more logical outlook on what she sees, so we don't overly worry when she sees *some* shows before we would have let her older sister. But the 13yo takes it upon herself to control the 6yo's viewing, and turns things off.

Hubby and I are lucky in that we have pretty similar outlooks on parenting, and are good at compromising when they don't meet. He came from a pretty strict, subsequently broken, nuclear home; my family was very laissez faire, but big. But we both have a similar educational and social background and a good understanding of media and it's influence on our children, in all it's forms - games, books, tv, movies, news. And we don't shy from talking to either of them about events in the world, things they see, stuff they want to or need to know.

We were also taught a lot by our first born and her reactions, and what we felt we wanted her to understand from it.

We have been so very lucky. And knowing that we did good makes it easier with the next one.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 7:51:51 PM PDT
Ms. P. says:
It's so interesting how different things affect kids differently, isn't it? My little girl has always been pretty attached, and her first experience with a Disney movie was Lion King when she was about 2 1/2. We had to turn it off because she got so upset. Not at the scary parts or the stampede. She was absolutely mortified that that monkey at the beginning picked up the baby and took it away from its mom. That was NOT okay with her.

Even now at five, she isn't a big fan of Disney movies or anything with "bad guys" in them. She likes Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder and Busytown Mysteries -- anything with a mystery. Nothing with a romance or bad guys.

Monitoring her books hasn't come up yet, because we still really read everything together, but I have a feeling that she'll regulate herself pretty well for a good while yet to come, and by the time she's ready for heavier stuff, she'll have the maturity to handle it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 8:00:20 PM PDT
cathyr says:
For us it was "Brother Bear". And after that it made me much more aware of how dark the Disney "classics" from my own childhood were.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 2:56:00 AM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
That was kind of rude. I might actually be interested in a book about children and diabetes given my family history. But you can bet I won't be buying your book now. Everyone else is participating. Why would you spam us like that? MOA is that way------------>

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 3:04:35 AM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
My son watched horror movies at a young age and was never bothered by them. We went to see Aladin when it came out, giant snake and all. He had two favorites among his video collection, Fern Gully and The Brave Little Toaster. The Brave Little Toaster made him cry... because the little boy left the "robots" all alone. The scary half creatures in the "shop of horrors"? Nope. Kids pick up on the real emotional element of movies more than us adults sometimes. I'm just glad he grew out of Barney and Timmy the Tooth.

I think it's kind of telling what he reads now. Disney fan books, robot anything, tech anything, music and computers. He's still into Brave Little Toaster!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 1:12:34 PM PDT
I didn't know this until after I posted. I'm sorry that I offended you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 1:39:34 PM PDT
I'm sorry, I didn't know what the rules were.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 2:45:35 PM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
Ok cool. So stick around and give us your opinion eh? Just leave the link to your book off unless you're in MOA.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 3:17:10 AM PDT
Elia says:
It really depends on you and your child and how they are maturing. A six year old's mind isn't developed enough for 'Twilight' type books. Teenagers, yes. It is up to the parent and their children what they can and can't read. With all the sexualization in commercials and tv shows out there, it's important to me to expose her when the time is right. I just want to instill some responsibility into my child. I guess every parent will see it differently. It's really up to the individual.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 4:14:49 AM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
Yes, that's true. I guess I wasn't thinking in terms of the teenagers out there.

Posted on Jun 23, 2012 7:32:51 PM PDT
Great characters...amazing stories...adventures that empower. As an educator and doesn't matter what I look for. Set a child free in a library and he or she will discover what they are looking for!

Posted on Jun 23, 2012 9:04:03 PM PDT
Well i look for books that are entertaining, but have a positive message. i dont like books that promote bad behaviour or manners, unless i plan to use it as a teaching moment on what not to do. the vocabulary is also very important for me, new words, vivid descriptions and so on. i also find it very useful to introduce culturally diverse books, as they encourage a lot of discussion, and give a wider view of the world.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 9:15:55 PM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
Thanks for joining us amanda. I've heard others say something similar re bad behavior or manners. Kids seem to really enjoy books about farting, mouthing off, boogers, you name it. Gross and rude sells. Is there ever an appropriate time for that sort of thing? I remember my mother's stories about 3 naughty children getting up to mischief to this day.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 9:26:38 PM PDT
Elia says:
She'll get there soon enough. Faster than we would like, I guess. I just don't want to rush it.

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 5:52:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 24, 2012 5:53:37 AM PDT
Call me a bad Mommy, but my three little girls LOVED the Walter the Farting Dog series. Though, each book sends the message that you can still love the "imperfect" in people, and in this case, a dog with flatulence issues. Plus, the drawings are very appealing, and in each book, the author has placed a small spider and part of the fun of reading the books is for the kids to find the hidden spider. Love these books!

Walter the Farting Dog: Banned from the Beach
Walter the Farting Dog

ETA: "and"

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 8:53:40 AM PDT
I have to agree with most of the sentiments shown in the posts, and I reflect much of it in the books that I write.
Where something is unusual or intrigueing then I research it and include a web site reference.
For instance how many adults, let alone children know what an Attosecond is?
for people with children from ten years old, I can't help but recommend my own books
authored as 'Robert A.V. Jacobs'

Posted on Jun 24, 2012 7:16:55 PM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
Ok, who was naughty and posted a link or something? ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2012 7:21:54 PM PDT
I don't know, but I am quite intrigued. I tend to look at this forum on a regular basis, and didn't see this one? The mystery deepens...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 10:13:12 PM PDT
This just reminded me of my oldest watching Fantasia when he was about 2-3. The T-Rex attacking the stegosaurus scared him at first, but then I explained to him that it wasn't being mean. It was just hungry and that's what they ate (not really, totally anachronistic - they weren't alive at the same time). Next thing I know, every time it came on he'd point and say, "eat it, eat it!". And have conversations in the meat isle with me - "pork - that's pig, right mom?" while other people looked at us with weird expressions.

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 6:09:47 AM PDT
Katya says:
I won't buy books with potty humor, rude behavior, and bad grammar for my kids (my kids never read Junie B. Jones or Captain Underpants). My rule is that I will buy them books I think are good... but I won't limit what they take out of the library.

I had a real dilemma when my (then) 4th grader wanted to read Hunger Games. I pre-read the books and spent a week trying to decide if I would let him read the books or not... I finally decided that while the book was too advanced for him, it was a well written book so he could try reading it if he wanted... he stalled out after 1 chapter. He read Gregor the Underlander instead and loved it. A year later he picked up again and read books 1 and 2 but stalled out on 3 because it gets a little too political for an 11 year old. :-)
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Discussion in:  Children's Books forum
Participants:  22
Total posts:  56
Initial post:  Jun 10, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 7, 2012

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