Friday, January 13, 2012

Psst...Have You Read This?

It was this time last year when I decided trying a vlog post would be fun for a change...so I did a vlog...and then I never did one again! Every time I sit down to do a vlog Parry Gripp's YouTube video, Young Girl Talking About Herself, flashes into my head! (Although, I'm not that young any more now that I'm in my 30's, so I should probably get over it.)

This was supposed to be my 2nd attempt at a vlog where I share some great books for an exceptionally awkward time in adolescence - puberty - but then the video wouldn't upload and it became an epic fail at vlogging by Jen.

Nonetheless, these books are amazing and need to be shared so I'll just do a super-abbreviated version of reviews for these must-read titles! 
When I was in middle school, I remember reading Are  You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume. I reread it recently so I could revisit the story and it's still just as good as I remember and still a relevant book for today's readers.

Over the summer and into the fall I read Lauren Myracl'es The Winnie Year Series: Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, and Thirteen Plus One. I completely identified with Winnie and the series follows Winnie as she develops physically - but mainly how she develops as a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, and, most imprortantly, an individual.
I was laughing so hard at the beginning of Alan Sitomer's The Downside of Being Up when the main character gets in trouble at school for a pretty embarrassing boy-incident. (Yes, I just totally made that up, I'm calling it a boy-incident...although Sitomer comes up with so many different ways to describe a boy-incident.) I was laughing and sharing bits with my husband and when I put the book down, I came back to find my husband reading it himself, he was so intrigued. Luckily, the story becomes about a lot more than just that particular boy-incident.
I just finished Sidekicks by Jack Ferraiolo on Wednesday and loved it. This book is about a super hero - well, technically, a super hero's sidekick - who is realizing that now that he is going through puberty his tight, yellow costume might not be so appropriate any more...you know, because of boy-incidents. Again, this book isn't all about the tight, yellow pants, it gets really interesting when he accidentally discovers the secret identity to his arch-enemy and then ends up actually befriending this recently un-masked sidekick. There's romance and mystery and action, too!

What I think is the most important thing about these books is that they address this often un-talked about idea of puberty for a second and then go on being books about kids with other problems than just the changes in their bodies. I love that they are books that kids can identify with and relate to when it comes to going through puberty but that it's not the end of the world nor does the world revolved around that.

It frustrates me that anyone would want to ban these books for these reasons. It makes me seriously wonder if they even give the books a chance or if they just read or hear about a part that ruffles their feathers and then decide it's an inappropriate book. And then it makes me sad for the kids who belong to these adults who don't want to talk about important issues or recognize that they even exist. Wouldn't it make sense to give kids these books if you're nervous to talk to them? Let them read about it and then you can kind of fill in the blanks. Let them realize other people are going through the same thing and that's it's natural and okay.

The bottom line is every book is going to speak to someone and make all the difference in the life of that one person who connects with that particular book. To me that's what makes it all completely worth it.
 

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