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Books / Children

Bookalachi: Where parents can get the 411 on content in kids books!

You know when your kid hands you a book and asks, “Can I read this?” and you have no idea what the book is about? You flip through it, hoping to find an age-range or anything that will tell you if the content is right for your child.

Yeah, that’s where I was one day when my (then) 8 year-old came staggering toward me with a pile of books taller than she was—books I knew nothing about. Knowing how sensitive she is to some scary stuff, I just didn’t know if she should read them. And she was reading them faster then I was.

I got online to find a resource for parents that would give me the scoop on children’s books. Not just a Cliff Notes description of the synopsis or a review, but one that would warn me that the Junie B. Jones books use the word “stupid” a lot. They’re really funny books, I just would’ve liked to have known that before I read them to my 4 year-old. Or that the content of many Young Adult books is pretty mature–sometimes shockingly so. Even if you have a precocious reader, you may not want them reading Twilight at age 10, just sayin’.

Even after a lot of clicking, I couldn’t find a website that had parent reviews of children’s books that had the info I wanted. I figured that other parents might be looking for the same info, and Bookalachi was born. Well, after many long nights, piles of toys/laundry/dishes ignored, trips to the library, and conversations with lots of parents. And yay! for frozen pizza.

Oh, and I do have a special category of books that aren’t a good pick right before bedtime, since I am pro-sleep.

Bookalachi–pronounced just like it’s spelled: book-ah-LA-chee

Melissa Caddell is the co-founder of A writer who loves (quality) coffee, she has been known to hide in the closet to get work done. She lives in the Denver area with her daughters (ages 10, 7, and 3) and her husband, Casey. Click on over to

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. OHMYGOSH, I love this idea. It’s about time someone local did this. Kudos to you!

  2. Great idea! My kids read a ton and we do a ton of books for story time, I hate being “surprise” by a books content…although it does lead to interesting conversations.

  3. Please post if you ever find something similar for adults! 🙂 I recently got an audiobook, and my husband and I were horrified by how bad the language was. I would just really like to know ahead of time, but I haven’t found any resources…

  4. Love this site!

  5. I actually started my blog ( because I was frustrated when I handed my 4th grader Newbery Award books that were not appropriate for her based on content not reading level. I have tried to separate out those books at others on my blog.

    For example, The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo (love that author) is too depressing for 3rd-4th grade without guided discussion from a teacher. And frankly, why not just choose Because of Winn-Dixie instead?!!

    Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata is another great book better for middle schoolers who study WWII history to frame the story around the Japanese Internment.

    Pragmatic Mom

  6. I actually started my blog because I was frustrated after giving my child a Newbery award book that was too advanced for her in content not reading level. It’s I also have book club for kids’ ideas to pair activities with books.

    Pragmatic Moom

  7. Amber–Thanks!

    Jennifer–we hate being surprised, too! (especially about 2am when someone has a nightmare!). Books are great conversation starters–we just wanna know what direction that convo might go before we have it. Hope you find the site useful.

    Lauren–I don’t know if a similar site for adult books. I have had a parent tell me that they would rather have their teen read adult books over young adult books ’cause the content was cleaner in the adult books. And from what I’ve read of both, I tend to agree. Yikes, huh?


    Pragmatic mom–Kate DiCamilo is one of our favs, too, but there is huge variation in the content of her books. Thanks for your efforts to support kids reading!

  8. Ack! Noticed that I made an error in the link if you click directly on my name. My bad! It is correct now if you click my least on this entry.

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