For parents of teens and tweens, moving from the juvenile section of the library to young adult can be intimidating. Young adult literature represents a wide range of ages, interests and comfort levels, which can make knowing where to start challenging — especially if you have concerns about content. Have no fear, your friendly neighborhood librarians are here with some tips to help you navigate the transition.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask a librarian for help. We understand a parent’s concerns and we know everyone has different interests, opinions, and comfort levels. More than anything, we want to help you find the right book for your child.
  • If your tween/teen is adamant about reading a book that you’re uncertain about, consider reading it together and discussing the book. It could give your child a sense of autonomy while giving you an opportunity to explore your comfort levels and beliefs together.
  • Let your tween/teen know that you trust them to stop reading if something makes them uncomfortable. This approach will give them more freedom to choose their own books, while letting them know that it’s good to have boundaries. After all, life’s too short to read books we’re not enjoying.
  • Websites like Common Sense Media or Rated Reads lay out potentially uncomfortable content for a large number of books based on reader’s differing levels of comfort. This can be a good place to quickly check the details of particular books.

If you’re still feeling hesitant about where to begin, check out some of the titles below.

Jackaby by William Ritter
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I’d Tell You I Love You, but then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds
Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Outrun the Moon by Stacy Lee

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Ask a Librarian

Transitioning from J to YA

Ask a Librarian is a service available to patrons via phone or email (online chat coming soon). Not only can librarians provide book recommendations for you and your child, they can help you in so many other ways — they can actually help you find answers to the world’s most fascinating questions. For example, they can …

  • Find answers to questions for research in any area of study from aeronautics to zoology
  • ‎Locate information so you can develop a business plan, find sales leads to grow your business and research your competitors
  • ‎Identify alternative approaches to health care and wellness, focusing on perspectives of complementary, holistic and integrated health
  • ‎Research businesses by industry or segment and company size; employment statistics, mapping and traffic modeling
  • ‎And yes, even help with the tough homework assignments students have in elementary, middle, high school or college

So, the real question is … What are you going to Ask a Librarian?