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29th March 2018 | by Rachael Rogan
As a mother who is a bibliophile, there is often a temptation to try and find the answer to all of life’s trials in the pages of a book.
Kids won’t sleep? Kids won’t eat? Kids won’t do anything they are supposed to do, including getting their uniforms on, eating their breakfast and JUST GETTING OUT OF THE DOOR PLEASE OH FOR THE LOVE OF… You get the picture. And there are some great books out there for parents that, even if they don’t actually fix the problem, give you the comfort of knowing you’re not alone, and this too shall pass.
But what about when they hit that age – and if you’re there, you know exactly what I’m talking about – that stage between childhood and ‘adulthood’ where the parenting manuals just can’t fix it? The stage of “you don’t know what it’s like…”
You want to tell them “it will get better” or “those people who seem so confident probably feel just as frightened as you” or “you are an incredible human being, and it may be hard to understand that now, because you have only been on the planet for [insert age] years, but believe me… Believe me when I tell you that out there, in the big world, you are going to soar”.
You’ve perhaps read this far waiting for a link to a magical new book that holds the answers to this new challenge in the journey that is parenthood. Sorry.
I believe that books do hold the answers to life’s trials. And they do give the comfort of knowing you’re not alone, and this too shall pass. But the books that matter here are not for you.
They are for our children who want to fit in and be like everyone else. To learn that they are not alone in feeling like an outsider. The excruciatingly difficult lesson of learning that what makes them different from everyone else may well be the thing that makes them so incredibly awesome.
Below are a few books that can help them along that path. Books that let them share the stories of young people figuring out what it means to be who they are. And sometimes, that can be enough. To feel that that journey is a shared one.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – a coming-of-age story about an introvert who learns the value of being herself.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – championing and celebrating inclusivity and tolerance by showing both how people can blossom when they are accepted for who they are, and how painful life can be for people who are ignored or mistreated.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli – an insight into every teenager’s mind, figuring out whether different is good, and being true to yourself.
Share your recommendations on our Facebook page – what books helped you get through those difficult teenage years..?