Nonfiction to Help Teenagers Learn Who They Are and Where They Fit
When young adult specialist Patty Campbell spoke at an American Library Association annual meeting, she pointed out that teenagers are so wrapped up in what the psychologists have labeled the "adolescent identity crisis" that they have neither the time for nor the interest in sitting down and reading about the world in general. What they are looking for are books that help them decide on who they are and where they fit into the scheme of things. Informative books they judge to be helpful include sex education books, some physical and mental health books, selected how-to books, and biographies or true accounts of experiences teenagers can imagine themselves or their acquaintances having. Nearly all the other information books published for teenagers are read under duress—only because teachers assign reports and research papers.
Teenagers especially appreciate books that give advice on managing one's life and being successful right now. Marie Hardenbrook, librarian at McClintock High School in Tempe, Arizona, says that over the last few years her "Inspirational" display and booklist has been consistently popular. She includes such sports-related books as Richard E. Peck's Something for Joey, William Blinn's Brian's Song, Steve Cameron's Brett Favre: Huck Finn Grows Up, and Shannon Miller's Winning Every Day: Gold Medal Advice for a Happy, Healthy Life. The runaway best loaners, however, are Jack Canfield's books including two volumes of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul: 101 Stories of Life, Love, and Learning; Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul: Stories about Pets as Teachers, Healers, Heroes, and Friends; and Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Hearts and Rekindle the Spirits of Women. There are also books that answer more specific kinds of questions that kids ask about both themselves and each other; for example,
Can I get AIDS from French kissing?
Do I have diabetes?
Why do I feel like crying all the time?
How serious is herpes?
© ______ 2009, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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