When selecting a book for our teenage children, we can be seized by many doubts about its quality, about our children’s points of view or about the values it transmits and the learning it offers. The premise that should be our starting-point is that there are many types of books for many types of readers.
What do young people like to read?
- Teenagers read realistic novels and fantasy literature, which has been their favorite genre for the last few years (magic and imagination are still safe bets).
- The comic is circulated openly between groups of young people who are attracted to this type of publications. Particularly successful has been the Japanese comic known as Manga, which brings together a variety of themes and has its own reading codes and particular aesthetics.
- Reading in other media such as newspapers, magazines, audiovisual media or web, is very common in teenagers daily lives, in fact, most of the poetry they get is through audiovisual media.
- Between 12- 14 year-olds
They are interested in epic fantasy, magic, mystery, adventure, love and humour. Comics and illustrated books are some powerful tools for encouraging reading. Music and plays can take them closer to poetry and to dramatic literature. They look for some answers about subjects they are interested in such as sexuality, drugs, sports and music in the informative texts.
- Between 15- 18 years-olds
All types of reading support materials should be facilitated andcombined. Comics are a key tool in this age. In regard to subject matters, the interest in controversial aspects of personal life (sexuality, drugs) that arose during the earlier phase has now broadened to include social issues (religion, racism). Be alert to current issues and identify the ones that are” more popular", that will help you to connect with their interests and to suggest quality readings that they will find them motivating.
What are the main characteristics of a good book for teenagers?
These are some questions that can guide you in this regard:
· What is about? The subject must be attractive, interesting and appropriate for the reader.
· Who’s the main character? They must be consistent andwell-built characters.
· How does the story go? The beginning mustset the reader into the reading and catch his/her attention. The plot development must be well sequenced, consistent and credible. The end of the story must be coherent and realistic.
· How is it told? Text and illustrations or other visual and iconographic aspects, have to be appropriate, adapted to their aesthetic taste, original, and suitable to their reading comprehension.
· What kind of values does it transmit? It must be considered the way it enriches and encourages reader’s attitudes of respect related to other human beings, to society and to the environment.
· What is its format? How does it look like? It must be appropriate for the type of the book and must turn it into something attractive.
· What will be expected from informative books in addition? They must be updated and make use of the information in an objective, clear and precise way. Their scope and coverage must be suitable according to your children’s needs and interests.
· And from readings in other media? They must show a different and original communication experience, harnessing the potential of multimedia resources.
Teenagers have their own tastes and defined hobbies, which must be known and respected when suggesting a reading
The act of reading must be, above all, spontaneous and free.