Do Good and Beautiful Books Prepare Children for Real Life?

Someone once told me, “I feel sorry for kids who read only clean books. They will be so naive and not prepared for life.” Have you ever heard that? Have you ever wondered if it is true?

I am raising my warning voice against the belief that children have to experience books with dark or unwholesome content and unclean language in order to learn to be strong and deal with the realistic problems they will face in life.

Christ was and is the ultimate teacher. He was able—through 100 percent clean and simple stories of a lost coin, a wayward son, a widow’s mite—to teach us the most profound lessons that give us more strength and the ability to face life’s challenges than any other written words could. When put in that perspective, it seems clear that strength can be gained without diving into sordid, crude, sensual, immature, graphic, or dark details and descriptions of things that are wrong.

In children’s lives, we will see the traces of the books that they read.

Find Joy in Good Books

To help our children gain strength and learn how to deal with conflicts, we do not have to give them books that contain unwholesome things. By doing so, we actually weaken their abilities to hear God’s voice and find joy in things that are wholesome and lovely.

Pure and virtuous books don’t avoid conflict and difficult subjects. For example, Christ taught about a woman who was adulterous. That’s a pretty deep subject, but He taught  in a way that is wholesome, without going into graphic or inappropriate descriptions. Good books can do that too.

If your children read only books that are pure, lovely, and virtuous, they will be prepared for the conflicts they will face in life. I know this to be true and have seen it in the lives of my own children and my friends’ children. 

Books that are pure, lovely, and virtuous will fill your children with the discernment, wisdom, light, strength, and confidence they need to face this world.

Good Books Build Discernment

Rest assured, you don’t need to drag your children through hundreds of pages of unclean language and content for them to learn what is right and wrong. While all books usually contain some good messages, unclean books also inflict damage at the same time, teaching false messages, desensitizing, and adding confusion, as those tactics mix true and false messages. Unwholesome books or books that are all about self-centered fun make beautiful messages seem boring and unexciting. 

Books that are pure, lovely, and virtuous will fill your children with the discernment, wisdom, light, strength, and confidence they need to face this world. Children can watch children endure trials, overcome poor habits, or stand up against evil without the book having to contain details and descriptions of evil that are offensive and desensitizing to their hearts and minds.

In children’s lives, we will see the traces of the books that they read. Because it is true that children model the behaviors and language around them, including from the books they read, we should always put before our children books of the highest and most noble quality. 

Believe in what you are doing. It may take some effort and time, but choosing the best books for you and your children will be forever worth it.

To find more clean books with no profanity or inappropriate behaviors, browse The Good and the Beautiful Bookshop to find uplifting literature with clean language and character-building themes.

Also, don’t miss our free, digital and searchable The Good and the Beautiful Book List. Join our email list to keep up to date with new releases and other news. 

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Joy Dietrich

My daughter was told this same comment — that she was too protected and would not be prepared for “real world”. My daughter was upset hearing this, and responded saying emphatically that the “real world” that was implied was really a “fake world”



We are new homeschoolers this year and we are really enjoying the curriculum we got from The Good and The Beautiful! I am currently looking to find some book series for my 6 yr old son who reads at a 2 or 3 reading level. He LOVES to read and is just plowing through books these days! But it’s so hard to find good content!! I’ve shopped your library and it has been a great place for good book, we just need more!! Haha! Do you know of a resource that can help me weed out the garbage? Thanks so much for your time!
And Merry Christmas!

Thanks. Carly

Customer Support

Hi Carly! Welcome to homeschooling. We are so glad you are enjoying the curriculum! We have an interactive, digital book list where you can search for books by level or by any keyword that you want. There are more than 700 books on the list, and it continues to grow. We also have a Storytime site for read-alouds that your son might enjoy. We hope these are useful resources for you as you continue to homeschool.


Thank you for this post about how the Savior taught us in empowering ways about difficult topics, including having compassion and mercy when others make mistakes. We are all sinners, right? Have you considered at length whether our children would benefit from more materials that show how to respond in faithful, Christlike ways to contemporary challenges they face?

Do you expect to have many additional booklist suggestions for high school students throughout the future? My teenaged avid reader enjoys wholesome books from your library but quickly runs out of titles and recommendations. Maybe she and other high schoolers could be extended the opportunity to seek out and offer their own suggestions for your review. It’s hard to find uplifting books for older audiences, so maybe the more youth helping, the longer the recommendation list will get, and the more likely they will be to turn to that place for recommendations. That would really help our family! Thank you so much!