Hello! My name is Kat and today I want to talk about books being age appropriate. So this discussion topic is inspired by some questions that I get pretty frequently, like: “Can you recommend a book that’s good for a twelve-year-old?” or “Is this specific book appropriate for someone who’s fifteen?” And my response is always… *dramatic shrug of not knowing* I think it completely depends on the individual. The same book could be totally inappropriate for one 14-year-old, but for another 14-year-old it’s totally okay! I don’t think age has to do with it as much as maturity level does, and what each individual person can handle Like a book could have a lot of brutal violence, but no bad language, so is that okay? You could have a cutesy contemporary novel with 13-year-old protagonists, and if there’s one F-bomb in the book, does that make it not appropriate? A book has no violence, and no cursing, but the characters have sex. It’s not overly graphic Like, it’s not an erotica novel, but like, they’re clearly having sex. Is that okay? Is that inappropriate? What is appropriate for you or your child or your younger sibling or whomever? Personally, I would’ve been fine reading a book with violence and swearing and sex at age 15. In fact, that pretty much describes exactly what I was reading at age 15. But there is no way I’m gonna give, like, a blanket endorsement of “this book is okay for 15-year-olds” That could result in a very angry parent emailing me, or in a teenager reading something that they weren’t quite ready for, and it makes them uncomfortable and feel bad. I don’t know you! Like, I don’t know what kind of content you can handle. I can give you like a general content warning, like “this book has some violence but no sex or swearing” But I feel very awkward and, quite frankly, unqualified to put an age rating on a book. The idea of giving books age ratings is not a new one. Plenty of people have discussed this before. Particularly with Young Adult books, where the content can vary so much. Should books have some kind of rating system, like movies and video games do? And what would that even look like? Let’s look at The Hunger Games for example, okay? That book has a lot of violence, but there’s no swearing, there’s no sex. So how would you rate that? The movie got a PG-13 rating, but they did tone down some of the violence, so does the book need a higher rating than the movie? Like, would the book be rated R? Even though there’s no sex or swearing or, like, other mature themes? Would the violence alone get the book rated, like, seventeen and up? How do you measure how graphic the violence is? Or how graphic the sexual content is? Do you need, like, a swear counter on the book? Like a little label on the front that says “This novel contains 4 damns, 6 craps, and 1 F-bomb. PROCEED WITH CAUTION” A PG-13 movie is allowed to have a single, non-sexual F-bomb, but there are some parents who even mild cursing is not okay for their children to be exposed to. And aside from age ratings, should books have content warnings or trigger warnings? Like Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is a fantastic, powerful book. But it deals with eating disorders and could be triggering to someone who has had an eating disorder, or is trying to recover from one The Retribution of Mara Dyer is a YA book, but it has violence and swearing and possible triggers for sexual assault and self-harm. I’m not usually that sensitive to graphic scenes in books, but I nearly stopped reading this one because there were a couple scenes that were just almost too much for me to handle. Anyways, I really just wanted to make this video to kind of explain why I never give books age ratings I don’t wanna recommend books as like “This is good for teens 13 and up” because you might be a very mature 11-year-old who would love this book! Or you might be a 16-year-old who can’t handle certain content and this book would not be good for you. It all depends on the individual, on what you personally can handle or if you’re young, what your parents are comfortable with you being exposed to. But those are just my thoughts! And I would really love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What’s your opinion on books having age ratings or content warnings? A 13-year-old can’t go see a rated R movie, but they can go to a bookstore and buy an erotica novel Should that be allowed? Please discuss! But yeah! That is gonna be it for this video today, so thank you so much for watching I hope you enjoyed it, I hope you have a great night, and I’ll have another video up soon, so I will see you then. GOODBYEEEEEEE


  1. Honestly, I would love a three-tier rating system for books. Basically, a 1-6 (or whatever) rating for profanity, sexual situations, and violence. So, to use the example of the Hunger Games, it would get a Profanity: 2, Sex: 1, Violence: 5. Print it on the back of the book, right by the UPC, and have done with it. That way, each person can decide for his or her own selves if the book is appropriate for them or not. You don't even need a committee of any sort, like the one that rates movies. Have each author rate his or her own books. The author knows their book, it will take two seconds. Get rid of the rainbow spectrum that is the YA "genre" entirely. Stick some trigger warnings on there, as well, while you're at it. Because, like you said, a book with a sexual assault in it that rates at a violence level of 3 or 4 for most people might rate a solid SIX for a rape survivor.

    Actually, while we're at it, do the same for movies. Let the director/producer rate their own movies. Get rid of the arbitrary (and often politically-motivated) G-R system. (Is the movie R because of horrendous, soul-scarring violence, or is it R because the characters dropped one too many F-bombs? Or is it R because the reviewers had bad Chinese while they were watching the movie and weren't feeling particularly forgiving?)

  2. Age level tends to correspond to reading and overall language abilities. As children age they develop more refined language skills. Reading materials should be challenging, but accessible enough to be understood with some effort. Age is more than a number. Age represents experience and serves as a marker of developmental milestones. The level of mastery required to understand a book varies on a per book level, certain books may be too difficult and therefore inappropriate to recommend.

    Content warnings are a courtesy to readers the same way movie ratings are. Books are widely distributed,what may seem acceptable to one culture may be offensive to another. Content warnings let readers know that a book may contain offensive material while avoiding censorship of the author's original work. It protects both the publishing company and the author.

  3. everyone is different so should adults be allowed to put restrictions on what children read? I don't think so because everyone is different and some publisher doesn't know every single person that's gonna read the book so I don't think they can safely put an age limit on books it's up to the individual to decide that when reading if they feel comfortable with the language or context in the story and therefor it should be a persons choice whether they want to read graphic stories and parents don't have to read the book so why should they pass judgement? like people play video games where they kill people and yet feel they can judge someone for reading a book with an assassin in it or death/murder

  4. I don't read books with sex, but I am okay with divergent, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson and the secret series, all with violence, but no swearing either…

  5. Some one is going to be mad at this, but I don't want a rating system for books. Not only would it get on my nerves if that system was anywhere a part of the book, but I believe the location of where it sits in, in the bookstore will give any human enough knowledge to stay away. Sense a child will probably be with a parent or guardian, I trust those role models to keep their children away from certain sections. It's not like 50 Shades of Gray will pop up at the Children's Section. But if you are 12 or nine or whatever and you can handle "Inappropriate books" then go for it! I agree with Kat, it depends on the individual.

  6. I think there should definitely be more of a distinction between "teen" books and "young adult" books. Since the content is so varied, as you mentioned, there are many books in the YA category that really shouldn't be grouped together in the same section.

  7. Personally I read the hunger games and divergent when I was 11 and the mortal instruments when I was 12. My reading level was so high I found books for my age so boring I hated reading, after reading YA books I loved reading so I say read what you want as long as you can handle it. (I'm 14 now and people tell me that because I read mature books I don't have the innocence someone my age should have)

  8. Wait, what? Personally I didn't get the chance to grow up with Harry Potter so I started reading YA books around 8 or 9. The first books I read were my Mom's books which were horror stories and physic books (Amityville horror and the whipping boy). She also took me to rated R movies and let me play M games, so I have no problem with age restrictions because I ignore them anyways.

  9. I pretty much skipped over the middle grade/YA genres and went straight to adult literature from the local public library when I was in middle school (11-13ish years old, I guess) and this was right when the internet was becoming a thing. I remember buying and reading a lot of adult fantasy at this time (still one of my fave genres) that contained pretty much everything you could think of.

    My parents put exactly zero restrictions on what I read and just let me do my own thing and I'm immensely grateful that they raised me like that. If the parent has instilled a strong moral foundation for their children and lead by example, there should be no threat from being exposed to some of the ugly parts of humanity.

    I wouldn't mind having some sort of content warning in place for the amount of violence, profanity and sex, I guess.

  10. watches after a teacher made me feel bad for reading Game Of Thrones "Does your mom know you're reading that!?"
    "She helped me find it in the library!"
    and yet it's fine people watch the show but God forbid they use their eyes to read the same story on paper.

  11. I think that books that contain possible triggers for serious problems should have some kind of warning on them. It could even just be making sure that the fact that an eating disorder or a depression/self harm/suicide plot line is mentioned in the blurb or it could be a warning sign but I do think that for people who struggle with those problems and other problems should have some sort of warning to decide whether or not they would be able to read the book.

  12. I'm 15 and my taste is that I don't mind really gore-y (I read Tess Gerritsen so if I didn't like the bloody stuff it would be a serious problem.) I also don't mind swearing as long as the character isn't swearing non stop over pretty trivial things. I'm also okay with sex scenes as long as they're not the be all end all theme of the book.

  13. divergent (the movie) would have been R if the butter knife scene was included. and stuff was cut out besides that. and that was with mild swearing.

  14. I was reading YA books at 11 years old, with stuff such as violence/sex/swearing in, and I had no issue with any of it. However, when I recommended some of my books to friends that were the same age as me, they didn't seem to really like it. IDK but I totally agree that everyone can react differently, and therefore I think that there shouldn't be any age recommendations on books. In a way, I think that would just encourage younger audiences to read "older" books.

  15. My mom said I can't read Fangirl, Eleanor and Park, and Passenger because Amazon said they are for 9th graders and up. I've read Divergent, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and I'm going to read Throne of Glass(I was told there is lots of violence) I'm 13 with the books I read do you think I could read these?

  16. Personally I don't think there should be age ratings on books. It's one thing to put the reading level on it, for instance at my high school there were labels on the spine that said AR 8.5 for reading level of an 8th grader, but age ratings aren't necessary in my opinion. I think if you should read the synopsis and look up reviews if you are worried about it having violence or swearing. Many people do write reviews where they say the characters curse or if things may be triggering. Also, I think a person or a parent should know what they can handle in a book and use resources, such as reviews, to determine if it is appropriate. However, I was allowed to read just about anything I wanted growing up because they believed reading about difficult subjects helped me understand the world better. So my opinion may be a bit biased.

  17. Determining age-appropriateness is so hard . Like, you can tell people what's in it, but it's different for every parent. Also, people always assume that I know what's good for 5 yrs olds or 8 yr olds. Um, until they hit HP age, I got nothing…

  18. I started reading more around 2013 and I was 14. I read a lot of explicit stuff and violence and honestly in my case I could understand what was wrong or right but all these things depend on maturity and now I'm 17 and there are still some things that shock me. For example I don't like violence and sometimes I don't enjoy books bc of it while sexual content and cursing don't bother me, it actually makes me (usually) like the books more bc it makes them more realistic to me. On the other hand I have 17 year old friends who don't like sexual content but don't mind the violence. It all depends on what you like and what you can tolerate and maturity levels. I agree with you, you can't point out what age a book should be read at

  19. I started reading more around 2013 and I was 14. I read a lot of explicit stuff and violence and honestly in my case I could understand what was wrong or right but all these things depend on maturity and now I'm 17 and there are still some things that shock me. For example I don't like violence and sometimes I don't enjoy books bc of it while sexual content and cursing don't bother me, it actually makes me (usually) like the books more bc it makes them more realistic to me. On the other hand I have 17 year old friends who don't like sexual content but don't mind the violence. It all depends on what you like and what you can tolerate and maturity levels. I agree with you, you can't point out what age a book should be read at

  20. Wow! i really thought this video would just be annoying for me because i read books older for my age, because my age books are boring. i really agree with all the points you made in this video!

  21. Common Sense Media does ratings on violence, sex, drugs/alcohol, and language on books and movies and has reviews from kids and parents and their thoughts if you want to check it out. You can just search the book/movie title on the site.

  22. I'm aloud to read any books in my school library now because my mum sent so many angry emails to the head about how the books for my age group were too boring and easy. yay!

  23. usually I ignore the age rating on books and movies because I just listen to my mum and if she says it's okay then I trust her.

  24. I read the Sword of Truth novels when I was around 11-12…apparently, I'd read a book but not it's age rating.

    I feel like I'm reading in reverse. I read a lot of adult fiction when I was in my teens and only getting into YA now (when I'm in my late 20s).

    Overall, I think you go and read whatever you want. As for parents, weeelll your kids are going to read about violence and sex SOMEWHERE, might as well be in a good book.

  25. My parents know I read books with a lot of violence and sex in them…I actually make my mum read some of the books I really like…and they do have sex in them (ACOMAF) and she's okay with that…xD…I also made her read Ember in The Ashes which has a lot of triggers…

    XD…the best thing to do with rating books would be just a trigger warning for things like rape and drug abuse and mental disorders and self harm etc. Not age…I was literally 13 when I read ACOTAR and there's sex in it though not very graphic. I was I think 12 or 11 when when I read The Retribution of Mara Dyer and I have to admit the violence was just too hard for me to handle at times…and it did trigger me at times cause I actually used to self harm and had mental disorders but that's a whole other story…

  26. Lmao, as a teenager I had a lot of control of what I read. Parents didn't care, they didnt understand the reading thing. I bought what I wanted. I remember buying an erotica novel as a teen and nobody cared. If I'm interested in it, I get it.. if I could afford it.

  27. lol im 13 and I have read 50 shade of grey, the first book of "A song of ice and fire" (aka Game of thrones) and have watch it, and I'm ok with that lol, ps: GOT is amazing,…….. I'll end there.

  28. when i was 10 i read a book it think for 15 and up my parents and the librarian at my school say my maturity level is high enough to read those books

  29. I totally agree with everything Kat just said. She also mentioned in this video that she almost stopped reading Mara Dyer, and I could relate so hard because I had the same feelings about The 5th Wave. I'm 14 and was disturbed by the huge amount of violence and swearing, though I did read the book to the end. I'm very mature for my age and would say that The 5th Wave is definitely not appropriate for someone 10 and under, no matter how mature they are. But your maturity level DOES play a huge part in what you're comfortable with. Just my thoughts. 🙂

  30. Honestly, the way I judge books/movies is if I wouldn't want my mom to know that I was reading it. With all of my favorites she knows I'm a part of the fandom, and I'm okay with that.

  31. This is really good. I'm so happy that you made a video about this I am 21 and am comfortable with most books. but I have a 18 year old sister and I would never recommend a book with sex to her. For me it's more if the book has sex and foul language that it be comes more inappropriate unless there are detailed murder seen or something like that.

  32. The thing is, many teenagers grab a book that has a lot of violence and sex and etc because all their friends are reading it or because everyone is reading and talking about it without having the maturity to read that. I was in a library once and a father came in asking for fifty shades of grey for her 13 year old daughter that asked him to buy her that book and the guy had no idea what the book was about. Many teenagers that don't have the maturity for that books read them and end up wanting to have boyfriend like the one in Fifity shades of grey or A court of mist and roses etc when in real life those are toxic relationships and guys like that are not really bad guys with a tragic past that somehow justify all the bad things that they do and that end up changing because really they are good but just had a bad past and the girl they fell in love helps them change and be good. That's not real, that doesn't happen and if it does is one in a million, but young girls read this books and end up liking bad guys (that are actually bad guys, not the movie/TV/book ones with a soft, good heart) and hope they have relationship like the one in the books when that's just not going to happen. Books influence people and when that people are young teenagers there has to be some way to be careful about what they read.

  33. This video nailed it. I have a lot of 'conservative' friends that are my age but don't read them same things I do because of their or their family's standards and they often ask me about 'age appropriate' books

  34. I was actually thinking about that, I am a new reader and I picked up the book 1984 and the other day my teacher saw it and told me that these book is not good for a 9th grader girl and she said that it's pretty violent and she won't let her 9th grader daughter read it. I actually returned the book the other because I was honestly terrified because of what she said but then I starting thinking I have actually read a lot of books that it's violent and sexual and I really think that I am a person with a brain that it's older than my age I am not easily influenced by what I see or read so yeah I am going to read these book soon.

  35. I like that books don't have ratings and my parents didn't look that deeply into what I read. This allowed me to decide for myself what books I was ready to read in my own time.

  36. I mean like she is right… I'm ten, have read Tmi, Tid, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Selection, … but my friend read most of these at age 8…

  37. so i'm 12 and i went to the book shop to buy the throne of glass, but i was buying it the woman said that i shouldn't be reading these types of books. so i bought it online, read it and didnt see the problem. yes it had violence but there are movies rated 12 that have way worse violence then this… it also mentioned rape but its not like i didn't know what that was or not ready for it i should be aware of these things and learn for the future

  38. I started reading middle grade when I was in 1st or 2nd grade.
    I started reading YA when I was 9 or 10.
    I started reading adult when I was 14.
    My parents never really cared what I read and trusted me to make the right choices. I have started to read books and had to put them down because they were too much for me. I think that kids should learn for themselves what is right for them. However, I will admit that when I was in 5th grade I read city of bones and told a friend how good it was. She got it from the library, brought it home, and got in trouble with her parents because there was a shirtless man on the cover. I understand parents want to restrict what their children are exposed to. My moms philosophy, which she stands by to this day, "they're going to do it anyway, we just have to be there to help them if it goes wrong". She never told me what not to read except in one case when I stole a book about WWII from her that she knew was very graphic. I don't really like "helicopter parents" but I understand that they exist, and nothing with shake them from their ways. But don't ruin it for the mature kids by labeling books. Because then when a 5th grade teacher sees her student reading a 14+ novel, what's she supposed to do? Leave the parenting to the parents!

  39. I think that books with sensitive content like depression, self-harm, sexual assault etc, should have trigger warnings for obvious reasons

  40. When I put my book on Wattpad I put a warning that said this

    Warning: Book includes violence, gore, abuse, drugs, alcohol, self-harm, mental disorder, strong language and mild sexual themes

  41. To check if a book will be appropriate for me I use I don't listen to the age ratings but it splits the book into categories like swearing, sex, drugs and stuff like that which helps me decide if its appropriate

  42. I completely agree with you. For example, I'm eleven and I'm very mature when it comes to books and some people say "oh, you shouldn't be reading that."

  43. I have never had to deal with this issue. The reson for that, is this. Im still pretty young. when I was youngER, Whenever I wanted to read something ya, I looked on Common Sense Media, becuas they rate books not only by age, but they also rate how much sex, violence, drinking, drugs, smoking, and language there is on a one to ten scale. I'd check it over that way

  44. I had those overprotective parents and they would look up everything before I was allowed to read it. My mom wouldn't even let me read the children's book called "twelve" when I was 13 because the girl used a tampon. Everybody in my 6th grade class (at Catholic school) was reading twilight and when I wanted to read it my mom flipped and "forbade" me because she heard there was implied sex in the 4th book lmao. It really made me miserable because reading was one of my favorite things. So parents: making sure your kids aren't reading erotica is reasonable but don't go so crazy that it ruins the reading experience for them.

  45. I think on the back or on the inner cover of the book it should have a little
    This book contains:
    Possibly triggering for:
    Eating disorders
    Sexual assault

    Etc etc just so the reader knows “hm well I’m sensitive to x topic so maybe I shouldn’t read this one” rather than a straight age rating

  46. Mum has only just let me read twilight. She knows that I’m mature for my age. There are kids in my class at school who are not mature AT ALL but read books about sex, swearing and violence. I’m 12 almost 13 but I am one of the eldest in the class.

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