and what we wish they were

Welcome to Book Smart – A Parent’s Guide to What Kids are Reading.  I began this blog, along some friends, to help parents help their kids make wise choices about books.  I believe a steady diet of bad literature can be seriously damaging to a young person’s academic, emotional, and spiritual development.  Fortunately, there is a lot of great literature available for young people.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of disturbing books out there too.

Knowing this,  I have tried to read what my kids are reading.  My own four children are not only avid readers, but they are are also required to read a lot for school. It has been impossible for me to keep up.  Also, I teach ninth grade English, and my students are constantly asking for book recommendations.  I take that responsibility seriously and feel like I should know something about a book, beside the fact that it is popular, before I suggest a child read it.   So to be better informed for my children and for my students, I’ve enlisted help.   The other contributors to this blog and I are will be  reading a youth or young adult books and giving our readers plot summaries  and a heads up about possibly troublesome content.

Who are we?  We are mothers and fathers, College students and singles.  We are Catholics and Protestants.  And we all love books and love kids.  We also all have different levels of tolerance for things like violence, language, sexual content, and supernatural elements.  Our goal is not to tell you what your kids should or should not read or even to rate the books we review.  Our goal is merely to  enjoy some good books, endure some not so good books, and inform our readers what we find out in the process.

Please feel free to share your comments and insights as well.  We’d love to hear form you!

Laura Catherine


Linked at…


Titus Tuesday


8 Comment(s)

  1. stephreeves

    December 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Compelled and following me. I will return the favor as I seek good books for my kids and appreciate the discussion questions you put after your posts. See you online!

  2. ethelfritha

    September 4, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I found your blog via Mark Shea. What a great idea! I don’t have any school-age kids yet but I can definitely understand your wish to be informed of what your kids are required to read. When I was in the 8th grade I wanted to find some new AR books so I went over to the public library where they kept an extensive list of AR books for each local school. I was excited to find ADULT books on the list worth all kinds of points, so I quickly checked out the first one I found: Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Yeah, I was 13. I ‘m pretty sure I realized even then just how deeply inappropriate it was to have such a book on a reading list for middle-schoolers. (My mom never knew because I hid the book from her.) Anyway, I look forward to reading your blog!

    Thanks for following me at morbidafternoons! To tell you the truth I don’t update that blog much but when I started following you I didn’t realize I was still signed into that blog instead of my new one, which I actually do write in occasionally. 🙂

    • Laura Catherine

      September 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      I found you at No Seriously Where Are the Bon Bons. I haven’t had a chance to poke around yet, but I love the title.

      And, THE HANDMAIDS TALE???? Yikes! I usually choose my books based on what’s hot on Amazon or what I hear the kids at school talking about. But after reading this, I think I’ll check out the AR lists also. My kids always go for the high pointers too!

  3. Darren

    September 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Was thrilled to find your site, and I was hoping to be able to search it to find books my kids have mentioned. However, i don’t see any search capability, which means I would have to scroll through every entry. Am I just missing it or does it not exist? I believe WordPress offers the ability to put a “search posts” box on the main page. Thanks!

    • Laura Catherine

      September 8, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks, Darren. I didn’t realize I don’t have a search box. I just added it. Also, please let me know if there is a particular book you would like me to review. I might have read it already and not written a review yet. Plus I’m always open to suggests for a new YA read.

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