Parents' Guide to

The Secret Garden

By Katherine Kearns, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Classic novel inspires love of nature.

The Secret Garden Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 14 parent reviews

age 6+

Classic, but beware is a product of its time

I loved this book when I was little and loved reading it to my kids (ages 7 and 9) but parents should be warned, this book was written in 1911 and the descriptions early in the book of India are racist. The use of language throughout regarding “servants” and “natives” feels outdated if not outright wrong. I had to skip some words and change as I read. Even so, the story is still lovely, though parents may also want to think about countering messages that all illnesses can be cured by going outside ;)
2 people found this helpful.
age 7+
This book was written long ago (last century) and some of the descriptions of people are racist. These include calling people of color "servants" and "natives," which is outdated and very wrong nowadays. There is also death, which some young kids may not understand.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (14 ):
Kids say (35 ):

For generations, this wonderful novel has inspired young readers to appreciate simple earthly pleasures like skipping rope, planting seeds and watching plants grow, and coming home to a hot meal. At the same time, The Secret Garden appeals to children's imaginations with its mysteries of cries in the night and the secret walled garden. Readers will also be entertained by Mary and Colin's bratty behavior, and then their growing friendship.

Though some characters express outdated and/or racist attitudes, readers are meant to understand that unkindness and disrespect are wrong. It also makes the novel ripe for discussing colonialist prejudice. And the story intriguingly equates nurturing the neglected garden with restoring the health and vibrancy of the youngsters. This classic has been made into a few film versions, including a 2020 adaptation directed by Marc Munden.

Book Details

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