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It’s TeenTober!

Help Keep Your Teens Reading

By Barbara HagenOctober 14, 2021

Last week I was at my seventh grade son's soccer game, enjoying a rare sunny and warm October morning in the Seattle area. About 15 minutes into the game, I took my eyes off the field to look around and chat with some fellow soccer moms when my eyes came across a sight that surprised me. There, on the sidelines, was the sibling of one of the players, and in his hand was a book! A physical book which he was choosing to read on a sunny Saturday morning outside. It warmed my heart, of course, to see such a sight. Not just because I work for a bookseller, and not just because, as a parent, I understand the rarity of a child without a screen in his hand. It warmed my heart because I could see the how this child was fully engrossed in the book, immersed within the story and oblivious to the world outside.

When children are young, books seem to be all around them. Board books, picture books, nighttime reading books, you name it. But as these young ones grow, so do their non-book activities and given the omnipresent nature of screens today, the simple act of older kids picking up a book to read for pleasure has become a scarcity in itself.

It's Not What to Read, It's Getting Them Reading

But all is not lost. Kids today have a plethora of reading options, endless almost, and with something for every reading level and passionate interest. The challenge, as these children become teenagers, is not what to read but how to keep them reading. One simple solution is to do what we did when the kids were younger: Keep books all around them!

Luckily, libraries are here to help! TeenTober is a nationwide celebration hosted by libraries every October that aims to celebrate teens and fuel their passions in and outside the library. As many of you know, ThriftBooks works very closely with many libraries across the country supporting them with profit-sharing initiatives through our book sales of ex-library books. So I encourage everyone to check out their local library for TeenTober events and discover new reads for your older kids.

Since finding time to visit the library can in itself be a challenge amidst the myriad of daily activities, we here at ThriftBooks have compiled a list of inspired book choices for teens for your perusal. There are popular titles like the bestselling Shadow and Bone, and "yet to be discovered" titles like the recently released YA mystery All These Bodies. across a variety of genres and some great series to sink into. Something for everyone. You may be skeptical that a strategy of just having books around will amount to any improvement in your teen's reading habits, but I challenge you to give it a try. I did, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The Proof is in the To-Be-Read Pile

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased Chris Colfer's latest book, A Tale of Sorcery. One of my daughters had been an avid reader of his books for years but that voracious reading had dwindled some as she began to focus more on school, dance, and work. I purchased the book anyway and left it on our coffee table in the family room. A few days later, as we were sitting by the table, she noticed the book. The excitement in her voice when she saw this new Chris Colfer book was reward enough. (Although she politely informed me that this was book three in his latest series and she hadn't yet read book two!). We left it at that—she knew the book was there for whenever she was ready for it. Several days passed, the book remained on the table, and I began to doubt that it would ever move. But last Friday, when there was a day off from school, the book made its way from the coffee table to her bedroom, and into her TBR pile. Small progress, to be sure, but progress none the less.

So I say it's worth a try! Let's leave books where kids and teens can discover them. Around the house, in the car, slip one into your child's school backpack. You never know when social media may go down and the kids need something to fill their time. Or, perhaps, a book to read on a sunny Saturday afternoon while waiting at a sibling's soccer game.

Read more by Barbara Hagen

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