The Twins are Twelve
Doesn't that sound like the title of one of those old fashioned, sweet-natured books for kids? I was shopping for my kids birthday (which is tomorrow) and found that most of the books being marketed to teens have romance as the main theme. (Not something I particularly want to encourage.) Or they are nitty, gritty exposes of how horrible high schools are. If you want something clean, fun, perhaps a bit educational or at least thought provoking, the pickings are pretty slim.
Used to be murder, swearing, heavy petting (snogging if you're a Harry Potter fan), kids being mean and nasty and getting away with it, were taboo. With two preteens whose reading taste is near to adult, I wish those days were still with us! I mean, The Chocolate War
may reflect reality in Catholic boys schools (and I hope to God it doesn't!), but that doesn't mean I want to read it as fiction. Similarly, I don't want to introduce my kids to books where the main point to life seems to be make-up and dating. Nor do I want them growing up thinking that the way Ron snogs Parvati (I think that's who he hooks up with) just to make Hermione jealous is a good way to handle one's relationships!
Fortunately, we still have access to the classics. So my kids are getting the complete works of Shakespeare, and a selection of the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. Of course, murder abounds in Shakespeare, but the snogging, for the most part, takes place off-stage, and while romance abounts, it is decidedly aimed towards marriage in all but the most scoundrelous of individuals. And, all the while the moral of the story is crystal clear. Not to mention that the language is delicious! Last year they got the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe, and it's still one of their favorites.
They're also getting a Jane Yolan fantasy book. Sci-fi (and to a lesser extent fantasy) is one place where kids books still seem to be kids books -- fun, adventure, growing up and learning about yourself and the universe, without too much nastiness. Or at least, not too much nastiness describe in explicit and excrutiating detail.
Speaking of sci-fi books for kids... they so enjoyed Sing the Light
, Sing the Warmth
, and Receive the Gift
by Louise Marley... and I just so happened to find these flat bath confetti soaps in the shapes of flowers, that will be perfect for the make-believe play they like to do based on books-- our bathtub will soon be transformed into a ubanyix with floating flower petals ala Lamdon. (If you have no clue what I am talking about... read the books!)