Ages 12-15

Whether the people kids get to know in books are miles away, in outer space, or simply people from different background or time, books can help kids develop an understanding of their lives, explore morals and values, expand their horizons and interests, and develop creativity and problem solving.

Reading aloud as a family activity is still a great idea. Discuss books with your kids and encourage them to make wise choices.

A great deal of fiction for kids today has become increasingly dark, depressing, depraved, and violent. Adults need to be vigilant as to what their children are reading. It is a parent’s role to show children how to find and enjoy the richness of life and reject the mediocre and mundane. There are many titles available that provide clear standards of right and wrong, show the ethics of human behavior, and evoke natural and wholesome laughter.


A classic is the rare book that has a special element, which enables it to endure the test of time and appeal to children from every generation. It stands out because it has the ability to touch the heart and cross the boundaries of culture, nationality, religion, race, gender, and status.

Classics should make a major contribution to a kid’s education, merriment, and appreciation of literature. Classics should provide clear standards of right and wrong, show the ethics of human behavior, and evoke wholesome laughter.

A sense of honor and value surround great literature. Laughter, pain, hunger, satisfaction, love, and joy are found in classics. When our children become familiar with this kind of writing, they have a foundation for making comparisons. Not everything they read will be excellent, but they will know a story’s possibilities.

Read stories in their original versions, not the watered-down ones without any drama of life. They may retell the classic stories, but the basic elements that make the stories classics are omitted.

With the influx of new books for children flooding the market each year, old favorites are in danger of being crowded out. Generations of children are missing the opportunity of listening to classical children’s literature. This is unfortunate because classics are the cornerstone to building a life-long relationship with literature.

When kids become familiar with the classics, they have a foundation for making comparisons to other stories. Not all books will be excellent, but kids will know a story’s possibilities when they have been exposed to great literature; literature in which laughter, pain, hunger, satisfaction, love and joy are found. Read stories in their original versions, not the watered-down versions that lack drama or life.


The greatest bargain in America today is still found in the libraries. Patronize bookstores that either specialize in children’s books or have a large children’s section.

Many parents also take advantage of school book fairs that offer paperback selections. Books also can be purchased secondhand at garage sales, thrift shops, and used bookstores.

Students are usually introduced to a variety of book clubs offered through their school. Most of these offer paperbacks, and the prices are good.

Students like paperbacks and often choose them over hardcover editions because they are soft and more flexible. If a book will only be read once or twice and then forgotten, a paper edition will do.

Books make perfect gifts. Make a list of favorite titles for grandparents or relatives and friends to give as gifts. Use holidays, seasons, or any other fun experiences as an excuse to give a good book.


Each year, several awards are given for the best books published. John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott are men in whose names awards are given annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

As prestigious as they are, do not let awards or medals dictate a choice in children’s books. Awards are given for the quality of the writing or the illustrations and do not guarantee that a book will be successful. The parent’s interest, good taste, and discretion should be the influencing factor.