I am writing this post somewhat under duress, as it is a response to repeated requests for me to provide a suggested readership age for the various novels I have published.
I am reluctant to do this, because all children are different. Some have more advanced reading ability than others. Tolkien once said that one does not improve a child’s vocabulary by giving them material aimed at their reading level, but by giving them reading material aimed above their reading level. I heartily agree.
The other reason I have been asked to provide an age bracket for my novels is to ascertain whether they are too scary/violent/disturbing or not. Again, I submit that all children are different and what might disturb one will not disturb another. My father once said that children reading about orcs, trolls, giant spiders, dragons and the like in The Hobbit is a very different prospect to seeing them onscreen, because how scary they are on a page is governed by the imagination of the child. However, in a film version, it is the imagination of an adult that has interpreted the depiction of these creatures, and therefore they can be (indeed they are) considerably more scary. For that reason, I do support a suggested minimum age for viewing films (although even then the individual temperament of the child needs to be taken into consideration).
All that said; here is a very rough guide for the age groups/demographics my currently published novels are aimed at – both in terms of reading ability and content.
Uncle Flynn – Reading age, around 10 and over, but could be read to children around 8 and over.
Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge – Reading age, around 10 and over, but could be read to children around 8 and over.
George goes to Mars/George goes to Titan – Reading age, around 10 and over, but could be read to children around 8 and over.
Children of the Folded Valley – Primarily aimed at adults, though teenagers around 14 and over might also enjoy it.
The Birds Began to Sing – Primarily aimed at adults.
I hope that is useful.