Book review by Common Sense Media, Common Sense Media
Beloved Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 15+

Haunting Pulitzer Prize winner about slavery's impact.

Parents say

age 17+

Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 15+

Based on 14 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 16+

One of the most beautiful and thought provoking books I ever read

As a white girl growing up in Eastern Kentucky, this is the first black author I was ever exposed to. It wasn’t part of our main curriculum- I grabbed it off of an AP reading list as one of my “self selections” (and let’s be honest, the insinuation that it was “racy” is what drew me to it)- but it should have been. The people who think it is too graphic for high school students 1) are deluding themselves about what high schoolers are up to; and 2) aren’t aware of the content in the YA books their kids are reading; and 3)are missing the point. Beloved was the first time I ever “saw” slavery from a black point of view. Every lesson, up until beloved, had been a literally “whitewashed” depiction of beautiful plantations, kind masters and simple, big-hearted “workers”. That was not reality. Telling kids that was reality does not protect them, it just buys momentary comfort at the expense of empathy. Quite apart from the important and meaningful depiction of slavery, the language in this book is beautiful. Besides depicting a black protagonist, this is one of the few books I read at school that was written from a female perspective. This book is a great segue from “safe” and entertaining children’s stories into adult literature. The conversations sparked by this book will help students understand each other. Please don’t be dissuaded by screechy school-board moms who want to drag literature into a political agenda. The only people with something to fear from this book are racists.

This title has:

Educational value
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

Horrific, Disturbing

Being required to read this in an IB English class was so traumatizing that a student I know asked to be assigned a different book. The teacher was surprised "But IB students are advanced. They can handle this book" Graphic descriptions of incest are not something we should be forcing kids to read. Schools don't show pornography to kids at school, why do they ask them to read it?

This title has:

Too much sex

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

For kids who love books about the African-American experience

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