Many lifelong readers remember adolescence as a time of intense immersion in books, a period in which you read to help figure out who you were, what you believed in, and where you stood in the world. Literature can provide role models and heroes and antiheros. Books can impart truths about how the world operates, both in real terms and through ideals. A made-up story or the biography of someone important can offer a path to take or one to avoid. In short, the teenage years are a great time to learn to channel frustration, sorrow, confusion, and loneliness through literature – and to find solace and company and hope for the future in books.
But where, exactly, do parents come into all this? If you’re wise, you’re not barrelling in through the front door of your teenager’s reading life. Parenting adolescents, after all, is about strategically stepping back so they can find their own way. But you still play a role – an important one. Sometimes it involves helping your teenager find books they will like. Sometimes it involves figuring out why your teenager has stopped reading or never seemed to read as much as you’d have liked. Whatever the case in your family, your job now is to get to know as well as you can the passions and preferences of your own ever-evolving, independence-seeking teenager, and the landscape of books that are out there to help them, tempt them, console them, and inspire them.
Extract from: Paul, Pamela & Russo, Maria (2019). How to Raise a Reader. (New York: Workman Publishing) pp. 119-120
Here are some Great Australian Books for Teenagers (and above!):
The Boat by Nam Le (Also available as an eBook on Borrow Box app)
The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper
Crow Country by Kate Constable
Ready When You Are by Gary Lonesborough