Reading With My Boys

Using Books to Raise My Boys

The Teen Scene-My Quest

on February 13, 2013

So I am on teenager round one, and my teenager will be the first to tell you I have no idea what I’m doing.  The poor thing is our little science experiment and I am no chemist!   I have a lot of thoughts on teenagers, similar to I had a lot of  ideas on how to raise kids until I had them and then I had no ideas after that.  So before all my theories on teenagers come to a crashing halt, let me get them out there so my sons can crush them all to pieces.  I think we as a society are doing teens a disservice, I think we expect so much less of them then they are capable of handling.  For example with books, children’s literature tends to be intelligent, interesting and thought-provoking .  However, when we move to teen books we tend to find dumbed down, violent, unintelligent , immoral reads.  We seem to think that our children are capable of handling all that is good and expect when they are teens that now is the time for them to gobble up all that is bad.  We as a society seem to see the teen years as the time for kids to waste time, get into trouble and back talk anyone a little older than they are.  Long ago we saw this time as a time to prepare for the real world.  We saw apprenticeships, hard study and long hours learning to work.  The literature before we changed our perception of young adults was really fantastic.  We saw authors like Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mark Twain.  I suggest every one of those authors  for boys and we have enjoyed much of their work.  But, times have changed and we are in a different era.  I still hope for the values of the past for my children, but I think in this new time we might have to find a little different way to get at it.  It’s no longer youth sitting in the apple orchard telling stories, and though that is exactly what I long for for my boys, I need to “live in the now” and so I am on a quest to find great books for my kids that deal with the here and now, books they can enjoy, and books that teach the values that I believe are universal and never changing despite the changing times…  In my quest to find the best books for my older boys to read I have found three very helpful resources that I must suggest-First, Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens, this book follows the premise that there is more to a teen than just a back-talking, video game playing, path of least resistance person inside there.  It also has a book list that just screams to be read, I have read a huge chunk of what’s on there and find all of it to be worth reading.  Second, Honey for a Teen’s Heart, this book is written by someone who loves books and she gives suggestions for using books to communicate with teens.  The last resource is called the Children’s Literature Association of Utah (clau.org) Every year this group has kids and teens nominate 10 books from the following categories:  Picture book, children’s fiction, poetry, children’s non-fiction and young adult.  Kyle and I tried it out and raced through the nominees this summer so we could vote on the winners and with few exceptions we were thrilled with their choices.  I will keep you posted on the quest!Image

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