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Lorelei Savaryn shares some resources she has found helpful in screening the content of books for her children. 

There are so many reading options available for our children that it can be quite overwhelming at times. There are Catholic publishers of books, but the secular publishing world still offers an immense variety compared to the fiction offerings from Christians or Catholic publishers.

 Looking to Catholic publishers for books for our kids is often the place where I start, but I also know that we often find ourselves at the library, or at a bookstore, with thousands of books in front of us and very little knowledge about what is contained inside the pages. As someone who is both an author through a major secular publishing house, a mom, and a former bookseller, here are some trusted resources I go to in order to better understand the content in a book my child is looking to read.  




I use these websites to discern whether my children are developmentally ready for the content in a book, so I know what possible topics might be important for us to discuss as they read, and so I am not caught off-guard by my kids getting exposed to something that they weren’t ready for without my knowledge. Each of our children matures at different rates and are ready for different things at different times. In our family it is also important to avoid books that normalize the occult, or that make light of religious practice. These websites are not always comprehensive in terms of the books they review, but they have often been a wildly helpful starting point, and I hope they will be helpful for other Catholic moms too. 

Compass Book Ratings: With thousands of books published each year, it can be mind-boggling to select a book.  Compass Book Rating’s mission is to provide readers with the ability to target the right book for them by age, genre, starred literary review, and especially by content. They do the background work so you can customize your parameters.  By providing a standardized rating system, readers can more easily navigate and evaluate their reading options.   

Plugged In: Plugged In not only reviews movies, TV shows, and games, but they also provide reviews of books. They offer a plot summary, as well as a highlight of different categories of content and if and how those content areas are addressed in the book. They offer families interesting discussion questions to help kids process the story.  

Common Sense Media: A source for information about movies, TV shows, games, apps, and books, this is another great resource for detailed content information and potential points of discussion with our children.  


3 trusted resources for parents who want to better understand the content in a book their child is looking to read. #CatholicMom


I’ve often looked at all three of these sites, as one may have a book that the others don’t, or might have different insights. These resources don’t encompass all of the different books available to kids, but I have found them, on many occasions, to be a helpful place to start. I hope this helps you, too, as you nurture your child’s love of reading. 



Copyright 2023 Lorelei Savaryn
Images: Canva