Parents' Guide to


By Common Sense Media, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Haunting Pulitzer Prize winner about slavery's impact.

Beloved Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 10 parent 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+

What in the WORLD???????!!!!!!!!

THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR TEENS. THIS IS NOT A BOOK FOR TEENS. This book should be for adults. Yes, it is well written (in some parts). Yes, it has a compelling story. But you don't EXPECT kids (TEENS ARE STILL CHILDREN) to deal with or fully understand ADULT issues. This books is like adult issues central. There is no compelling reason, lesson that needs to be learned as a young person, literary device, nothing. The school libraries of the world will be fine without this book. Not having an inappropriate book in a school setting is NOT CENSORSHIP, it is called making appropriate choices for young people who are NOT ADULTS YET. We ALLLLL have more time to be adults than to be kids. Let them have their time. There are LOTS of other things to read.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (8 ):

This a difficult and often gruesome book, but there's a reason it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize: It's a masterful work by one of the best storytellers alive today. In Beloved, Morrison not only will help readers connect to a painful part of American history, but she'll also encourage them to struggle with some difficult subjects, including the possible heroism of a woman who murders her own child.

This is a book whose intention is to disturb: Teen readers might have to grapple a bit with the complex storytelling, as well as with the intense subject matter, but that's sometimes the best way to confront difficult subjects. Parents may want consider reading this classic along with their kids and using our discussion ideas to tackle the difficult topics it raises.

Book Details

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