Tween age boys: what is wrong with fiction?

Animation example-tween

Animation example-tween (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tween age boys: what is wrong with fiction?

What does Tween mean? Wiki comes to the rescue: “Tween is a blend of the words teen and between. Tweens are “in-between” being a child and a teen”. This usually refers to the age range of 9 to 14, during which a boy, for example, has outgrown his toys but is too young for those first crushes on his contemporaries!

In term of fiction, tween boys – especially between the age of 10 to 13 – aren’t easy customers. Book stores recommend to offer plenty of action, adventure, sitting-on-the edge-of-your-seat stories, fantasy, and to steer away from soppy, softly told tales of calm and chillaxation for fear of alienating boys even further away from reading.

Non fiction books also feature highly on recommended reading lists for our tween boys, anything to do with marvellous facts and figures, world records, statistics for sport, animals, cars and dinosaurs are good. The librarian at my son’s school offers an array of 4-4-2 football magazines, fast-lean-and-mean-machines, and anything else stereotypically conducive to attracting the attention and affection of boys.

Age wise, our tween boys are only one step away from the tremendously popular trend of anything bloody and vampire friendly (The Twilight saga and similar); or painful and tragic (child loses parents, siblings, grandparents, his whole town is destroyed in a freak winter month, and World War IX is kicking off); survival of the fittest type of books (The Hunger Games) which may leave your young readers a little too shaken for comfort.

But for the duration of this brief period of time before boys properly hit their teens, the availability of a similarly rich array of fiction is unfortunately not there. What is wrong with fiction?

My tween son is an enthusiastic reader, and has devoured the entire Mission series by Anthony Horowitz; Gabrielle Lord’s Conspiracy books, and of course the amazing Percy Jackson adventures. However he has expressed the wish for some less “eventful” reading material just before bed time.

Hurrah for the prolific J K Rowling and her fetching young wizard – shame our family isn’t into magic. Hurrah again for Michael Morpurgo, although even in his case we are at times a little too close to the “cry me a river” type of fiction. Hurrah again for the tragi-comic events of the Wimpy Kid, and a most definite triple Hurrah for David Walliams, and his quite frankly fantastic fiction books that do not require buckets of chamomile tea to regain an acceptable pulse rate at bed time! Wonderfully written stories of utter originality, unlikely characters and a subtle morale for all our tween-age boys in search of a good read.

Please, Authors of our times, this is a plea for our tween-age boys: produce more joyous and interesting fiction to prolong those brief and precious years, minutes away before choosing blood thirsty characters infesting older siblings’ book shelves. Please, I beg Thy, write stories which make them sleep at night and keep the bed bugs away. Us parents will buy your books, dear Authors, we will, we will, we will!

Have you got any suitable reading suggestions for tween-age boys?

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About ofglassandbooks

Who, me? A fan of good reads and glass jars experiences; budding fiction writer in the very little and spare time available...
This entry was posted in books that influence, Books, reading, reviews, Books, reading, reviews, jars, glass, boys, change behaviour, inspire, reading, tweenagers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Tween age boys: what is wrong with fiction?

  1. dahiladraft says:

    Thanks for mentioning my blog ! It is hard to find material for tween boys , I feel that publishers and writers a like should jump on that. I have been trying to find books for tween boys for my blog but there are just so many more options for girls at the moment . I have heard good things about these books (below) and plan to read them in December, they look like they might be something your son might like. The first book has been made into a movie and the second is a mystery. Good luck.

    Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (for ages 10 and up)
    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin ( for ages 12 and up)

  2. Pingback: Blogging and writing a book – a match made in Heaven or Purgatory? | ofglassandbooks

  3. My nephew is 10 (just over your 9 year age limit) and loves to re-read the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books by Lemony Snicket which he has already read. Re-reading is a big part of reading when you’re a child (and also when you’re an adult). But I think even more he has come to love the Skulduggery Pleasant series of books by Derek Landy (Landry?), and they are still going on in the present tense. The thing I’m most proud about relating to him as a reader is that although he doesn’t read any really girly books, he is accepting of the female in fiction (which is good, because the youthful interest in the early Skulduggery books is a young girl nicknamed Valkyrie). Still, he does play with Legos and Star Wars stuff and etc. when with other boys, so I guess he’s humoring both halves of his developing psyche. He’s also found a lot of non-series good reads at the local library; one of these with a good children’s or young adult’s room can be a real gold mine for ‘tweens, though you might have to do some careful digging.

  4. Hello Victoria,
    thanks for your thoughts and recommendations! I’ve often stopped and stared with my two children at long rows of the ‘Unfortunate events’ series in bookstores but never made a purchase! Time to rectify our hesitation.
    Loved your nephew ‘humouring both halves of his developing psyche’! I guess it must be more complex for boys than girls – why? unwritten social rules?
    Thanks for stopping by.
    Off to your posts!

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