Also known as “would this book be age-appropriate for my (insert age here) year old?” This is another question that ought to have a simple answer, but it doesn’t. Or perhaps it does.
The simple answer is: my target audience is families.
But what does that mean? What age-range will most appreciate my story?
It means that when I wrote the book, my target audience was my 11-year old sister, my 15 and 17-year old brothers, and my parents, who were in their 40s. My dad would read the book out loud to the entire family each night. This is the setting I wrote the book for, specifically.
Alright, but what about families that don’t read together? Is there an age this story would not be appropriate for?
In the past, the age-range that has responded the best to this book is 14-17 year olds. The group that has responded almost as well is 11-13 year olds. I have a few friends whose younger children (8-10) have read the books recently, I am curious to hear how they did with the book.
Is there anything in the book you would not want your child(ren) to read?
-There is no coarse language or swearing
-There are no sex scenes or even kissing (except one or two kisses between people who are married (e.g. the king kisses his wife, the queen; Brant kisses his wife at the beginning of the story))
-There is no drinking or drugs (although later in the series a few tankards of ale will make an appearance at an inn… as my dad has informed me that no book can truly be fantasy fiction until someone has “downed a tankard of ale or two”)
There is a lot of violence, as it is a story about Aom-igh being invaded by an enemy kingdom.
-Brant’s family is murdered in the first chapter.
- Brant kills several Dark Warriors in both self-defense and in defense of those with whom he is traveling.
-There is a battle in Pearl Cove in which Wessel (a tertiary character) ends up dying.
-There is a large battle at the end of the book in which a lot of people and dragons end up dead.
-Brant faces, fights, and ends up killing the King of the Dark Country in one-on-one combat
All of this violence is neither graphic nor gory. I have tried to write battle scenes in the style of Tolkien: enough details to help the reader see what is going on, but with much of it left to the imagination.
In conclusion: the decision about whether or not a child is at an appropriate age to read any given book is a decision that should be made by the parents with their child, and not by the publisher or author. As a parent, you know what your child is capable of reading and what themes your child is capable of dealing with. I have tried here to present an overview of things that might be concerns to a parent, but I am not going to tell anyone that my book is or is not age-appropriate for any particular child: that is your decision to make.