One aspect of adolescence remains the same despite the years continuing to pass. Young boys who are becoming young men continue to struggle every day to “fit in” and find their place in society; consequently, that can include engaging in risky behaviors. However, through the power of positive words and influences, teen boys can hold a positive, promising, and productive life literally in their hands.
For moms struggling with guiding their boys to become confident and productive men, we’ve compiled five must-read coming-of-age books for boys as they navigate the transition from tween to teen.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Nic Stone’s Dear Martin tells the story of an Ivy League-bound African American student named Justyce who becomes a victim of racial profiling. As he embarks on this new stage in his life, Justyce confronts injustices and micro-aggressions at his new school.
Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein
Will Levine is bullied at school and has few friends because of a facial difference that kids compare to the appearance of a turtle. Ironically, Will loves turtles and spent a summer collecting them until his teacher finds out and requests that he releases them. However, that is just the beginning of Will’s understanding of the true meaning of letting go.
Everything is Ok by Debbie Tung
Debbie Tung’s graphic memoir explores the struggle with anxiety and depression, and how one can learn to embrace the highs and lows and build a mindful relationship with mental health. The story’s narrative structure takes on that of a series of comics.
World in Between: Based on a True Refugee Story by Kenan Trebincevic
World in Between is the story of a Bosnian boy’s exile from war-torn Bosnia to the United States. An action-packed page-turner, the reader is introduced to a kid with a beautiful heart attempting to do his best during difficult times.
More than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Brigid Kemmerer provides a must-read story of two teens struggling under the burden of secrets and the love that sets them free. Rev Fletcher has managed to keep the demons of his past at bay. Emma Blue’s only escape is the computer game she built from scratch. Together, they connect instantly and deeply, promising to help each other no matter what.
It’s not surprising that research shows teens are reading fewer books than before. With such stiff competition with advanced gaming consoles, social media, and increased social lives, it becomes even more important for parents to engage their sons in reading and learning about the world they are constantly being fed pieces of information from so many different directions.
With that being said, whether you share these books with your son and take the journey together or have him read independently, open up dialogue and see where it takes the two of you.
Let us know what books you would add to this list. Also, be sure to check out our previous lists at Atlanta Mom.