Some professional educators will tell parents, “It doesn’t matter what they read, as long as they are reading.”
Not true. Children are like computers: Garbage In, Garbage Out.
I would not forbid a child to read a book written at his mental level, but I would make a point of reading it myself so that we could talk about it. Ideas are dangerous only when they are presented out of context. It’s up to parents and teachers to put ideas in context.
Children are born into the world ready to learn. What they learn depends upon the families into which they are born. Parents who are concerned about the mental and moral development of their children will become engaged in their reading.
Not all the books discussed on this site are recommended. My admittedly traditional view is that a child’s earliest reading should promote the ideal of civil and compassionate behavior, and an appreciation for beautiful language and pleasing pictures.
Many books marketed towards children do not meet my criteria. That doesn’t mean I think they should be avoided altogether. It just means that parents need to preview books before exposing their children to them, and discuss any negative aspects of the story, the language, or the art with the child. This applies to books presented to children in a classroom setting.
In an effort to make the reviews I’ve already written easily accessible, I’m working on a Book Lists page with links to reviews and commentaries.
Not everyone will agree with my criticisms. That’s fine. The important thing is that parents and guardians apply their own critical faculties to what’s entering their children’s minds from the books they’re exposed to.