Parenting Perspective: Young adult book

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In our parenting perspective, the latest take on an eternal problem.

There is no question that reading books is a great pass time for kids, but since the invention of the printing press, parents haven't always been comfortable with the all of the plot lines that attract their children.

Parents expect to battle their kids over music and movies. But some are now wondering if young adult books, with plots like supernatural love triangles and fights to the death, are too much, especially for tweens.

Lisa Nelson-Haynes is proud that her 7th-grade daughter Olivia loves to read.

But, like many parents, she felt ambushed as Olivia moved away from sweet

children's literature to young adult novels, with their mature themes and dark, loner characters.

A few years ago, she drew the line at the Twilight books.

"In the Twilight series, I wasn't comfortable with the sexual tension that was throughout the books," said Lisa Nelson-Haynes. "That was not a conversation I was willing to have with a 5th grader."

"I fought," said Olivia Haynes. "I cried a lot. I was just really frustrated."

Worse, the market seemed flooded with Twilight clones.

"My mother was just battling Judy Blume, and we're now battling stacks and stacks of books at the bookstore," said Nelson-Haynes.

So Nelson-Haynes called friends for recommendations. She spent hours on Internet book sites, and she turned to teachers and librarians.

"The first thing they did was affirm our decision. They were like you are absolutely right," said Nelson-Haynes.

More importantly, they armed Nelson Haynes with great alternatives, other series that while supernatural had more uplifting themes and positive characters.

At first Olivia scoffed.

"I started off just trying to hate it, but I couldn't," Olivia said. "I just liked them too much."

In fact, now Olivia's friends are passing around her books, rather than pressuring her to read theirs.

Judith Hill, the librarian at Olivia's school, Penn Charter, has one more bit of advice.

"What I love to do is suggest that a parent read the book along with the child," said Judith Hill.

Now that Olivia is older, her parents finally let her read the Twilight books.

"She was like, 'this is really boring me. You're right; this is not really that good.' Victory for Mom and Dad," Nelson-Haynes said.

If you want more tips, and some good websites, when it comes to what your tween and teen read, check out Tamala's blog on


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