I am a single-mom with a teenaged son, newly arrived migrant, working full-time, and doing my best to adapt to life in the so-called most isolated city in world - Perth, Western Australia.
Published July 7th 2013
Just in case you haven't heard what a tweenager is, well a "tween" is a child between the ages of about 10 and 14 (according to Oxford Dictionaries Online).
I am lucky to have a tween who had developed a habit and love of reading since he was toddler. At his current age bracket, he's also into Minecraft, Call of Duty Black Ops or The Last of Us like most tweens I know but, it's a relief to see him engrossed in a book during his free time or during school days when we have this self-imposed house rule of "no TV or video games". Read on and find out what sort of book series he keeps in his bookshelves.
Horrible Histories Series (by Terry Deary and Martin Brown) Who would have thought that gore, wicked, nasty and foul historical facts would capture my son's attention. Well these books has done just that. My son has had these books since he was 10 and every now and then I could stil see him re-reading his favorite Frightful First World War and Woeful Second World War. I am amazed at how these books made history so interesting and even enriched my son's appreciation on how lucky he was that he didn't lived during the times of the vikings, Aztec empire and the Black Plague, to name a few.
I guess most of us agree that math is a very serious subject but these books defied that concept and presented numbers in a funny and engaging way. My son was fascinated by how a murder story was used to introduce algebra, geometry and probability concepts. According to its official website, these books have even found their way into schools and proved to be a boost to GCSE studies in the UK. If your child is not that interested with math, check if this book will make him change his mind.
Horrible Science Series (by Nick Arnold and Tony De Saulles) This is another gem in the Horrible branded book series. Science is presented in funny cartoons and candid text that makes science worth exploring. My son could not single out a favorite one because he says they are all interestingly disgusting and funny.
The Chronicles of Narnia (by C.S. Lewis) The series comprises seven high-fantasy novels starting with the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which has been adapted into a movie. It is the very first novel fantasy novel that my son has ever read and although he has seen the movie first before he read the book, it was still a treat for him. The series is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work.
CHERUB Series (by Robert Muchamore) This is perhaps what you may call a "coming-of-age" books for my son. The books in the series delve around the missions of young adult spies. My son likes the fast-paced thrilling adventures focused on a 12-year old boy James who went through missions such as jail breaks, drug rings, cults, bikie gangs and terrorists. Be warned though that the books contain a bit of foul language and references to drugs, violence and teenage relationships.
Henderson's Boys (by Robert Muchamore) The series is the prequel to the CHERUB series. My son loves that the novels are set during World War II and give an insight into the origins of CHERUB and elaborate on real-life events.
Ranger's Apprentice (by John Flanagan) This is the most recent addition to my son's book collection. It is a series of fantasy novels about the adventures of an orphan boy with his best friend and mentor. My son loves the references to real life events, archery and camouflage techniques.
My son has other books in his collection and you can tell that he has a rather eclectic choice of book themes. But I don't really mind. I guess what matters is that he appreciates the benefits of reading rather than spending time mucking around.
Well then, I hope you're a bit enlightened on what you may add to your tween's library. Before getting your tween a new book though, it's always good to check book reviews and ask first-hand account from people you know. As regards where to buy the books, watch out for book club catalogues distributed through your child's school, join book clubs such as Scholastic book clubs, visit Book Fairs, and check out amazon.com or Book Depository. For cheaper buying options, check ebay first, or the traditional swap meets, garage sales, book sales in schools and community. Of course, you don't have to buy and just borrow the book from your local library.
It's no doubt that reading books has its many benefits such as expanding one's vocabulary, amassing knowledge that are otherwise not presented elsewhere, learning from other's life experiences or simply getting an opportunity to escape to a place beyond reality. During these times when most tweens would rather just spend their time on social media, TV or virtual games, it's good to know that there are books that would still tickle their fancy and curiosity and are worth their while.