This is my reflective journal on professional readings about Tween Literature for my LIBR 264 class at San Jose State University for my Masters in Library and Information Sciences. My professor will be reading this so please, polite adult comments only. May 31.
June 9. I just started the audio book of the third in T.A. Barron’s series on the lost years of Merlin. I am going to listen to it in the car on the way to work. I will review it on the Tween page later. I enjoyed the intro. by the author. I especially liked his comments that everyone in their life has some time when they have to start over. This is a time when new gifts or previously hidden gifts may become apparent. Maybe perhaps some magic will emerge… At 52, I am enjoying sharing my gifts as a librarian in training. Yesterday I was helping at El Cerrito Library. As I stood in line to check out my audio book, a large line built up in front of the one person checking books out. A woman had come in with bags of books and many fines. She was debating many of them as the line shifted from foot to foot and sighed loudly. I asked the man in front of me if he would like to learn how to use the automated check out next to us. I coached him through it. Soon I was going through the line in reverse, teaching people how to use the automated check out. Some commented on how kind I was to help them. I explained I was a volunteer and that was what I was there for. (And it got me to the front of the line faster to check out my audio book!).
Reflecting on the articles I read today about developmental stages of tweens and teens: Two of the articles were in Search Institute, titled “40 Developmental Assets for Middle Childhood” ages 8-12 and “40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents” ages 12-18. I have seen a similar list at the Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs conferences I attended for several years at the Clark-Kerr Campus at CAL. Both lists recommend after school activities, religious training, and contact with role models who are peers and are not their parents. It is important in both age groups for kids to feel they are respected by adults and their community. I thought about my own kids as I read the lists (which also have live links to action items). I also thought back on my experiences at those ages and whether I had some of those safety nets in place. Many kids now seem over scheduled. My son is scheduled to hang out with his friends on Friday afternoons and now has added singing lessons afterwards. Next year I would like him to row crew and that will be another big time commitment for both of us. When I was my daughter’s age, 4th grade, my dad had already passed away. We were in the Cold War and I remember instruction on “Duck and Cover.” I looked out the large glass window in our classroom and thought that by the time we saw the flash, we would all be toast. More pleasant memories were my young teacher playing the guitar and teaching us folk songs such as Waltzing Mathilda and Bill Grogan’s Goat. She read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, a true magical book. And, one must remember never to shut one’s self in a wardrobe. I grew about 5 inches that year and my eyesight deteriorated commeasurately. Tortoiseshell frame glasses and training bras were in order. I was a soprano in the All City Choir and took ballet. My daughter is creating her own web sites. You will find the links on this blog under the Other Media section. She is a voracious reader as I was. We used to read Nancy Drew together at bedtime, but she finally told me she found them too formulaic (her word!). She loves playing with the American Girl dolls and reads American Girl Magazine, mostly for the craft ideas.
As to current tween experiences, my 14 year old son loves Saturday night all night gaming sessions with his friends. They play anything from Mario games to Call of Duty. Sometimes they have several tv’s set up in the living room, plus a lap top. I come in at 12 or 1 a.m. to turn off the tv and find them asleep in the most unlikely positions with the controllers still in their hands. Some will slog off the bedroom and last time two of the boys changed positions from the bed to the sofa and vice versa without remembering how they got there!