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?
You might want to check out:
- The tween years, and a promise to my daughter. (confessionsofamediocremom.wordpress.com)
- Helpful Tips to Understanding Your Tween (simplysenia.com)
- Is Dystopian Fiction Tween Appropriate? (thegoodsoldandnew.wordpress.com)
- Reaching Tween Readers: Content Matters More than Format (publishingperspectives.com)
- Teen-Friendly Books Make Reading Cool Again (howtolearn.com)
- And of course www.thebookpeople.co.uk