A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shelfari is an online gathering place for readers and book lovers to share information about books. Part social network, part crowdsourced encyclopedia, Shelfari's main focus is on reviews, but it also lets users add and share additional information about their favorite books. It's recommended for kids over 13, who should be able to handle the social aspect of sharing opinions and creating appropriate content. Default privacy settings for Shelfari profiles are public, so teens who don't want to share all their activity with the world will need to make adjustments.
What's it about?
Shelfari is a website for book lovers that allows users to create a virtual bookshelf, write reviews, and participate in discussion groups. In partnership with retail giant Amazon, Shelfari's mission is \"to enhance the experience of reading by connecting readers in meaningful conversations about the published word.\" Kids can read the entire first chapter of any book featured on Shelfari for free, using Kindle For the Web. It's also a little like Wikipedia in that any user can edit public content about book background, characters, and plot.
Is it any good?
Shelfari is a smaller, more intimate community than the sometimes-overwhelming Goodreads. The ads are subtle and unobtrusive, and while the design isn't that exciting, it's simple and easy to navigate around the site. Shelfari also has some neat little touches that set it apart from the rest; for example, while reading the reviews of The Three Musketeers, you can click the "Hide all spoilers" box to make sure there are no ruined endings in your future. The free first chapter is a huge bonus for kids who may be on the fence about buying a book.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about appropriate online behavior, respecting opinions, and keeping conflicts to a minimum. How can you disagree with someone in a respectful way? How should you respond if someone makes a mean comment about you online? Check out our Social Networking Tips for ideas.
Families can also talk about favorite books. Why is your favorite book your favorite? Is it the characters, plot, and setting that you like best? What rating would you give it?
- Subjects: Language & Reading: discussion, forming arguments, reading, text analysis
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, goal-setting, work to achieve goals
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, making conclusions, thinking critically
Communication: conveying messages effectively, friendship building
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, honoring the community, respect for others
- Genre: Social Networking
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
For kids who love reading
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.