As a parent, it is often a struggle to convince your teenager to engage at family events as they are so absorbed by their phone’s screens and social media.
You may have already tried multiple methods to get them to break away from technology and part-take in real-life activities. Going out for a hike or to a mall may be a solution, but they are often only temporary.
But what could bring about a change that may result in teenagers reconnecting with their parents? What could be the thing that could achieve a more balanced lifestyle which is not overruled by the internet and could even let you be more involved in your child’s education?
Well, books. Yes, I know, you are probably thinking that there is no way that you can convince your teenage son or daughter to read a book in the 21st Century. Let me at least share an author, and a few books, with you.
You may be looking at books as a hopeless and outdated tool that you tried before at Christmas, however, it only proved to be a waste of money.
Let me introduce you to an author that has the potential of saving the family movie nights from social media by getting your teenager hooked on reading (and probably you too): John Green.
John Green is an American author and Youtuber born in 1977. He is well-known for his Vlogbrothers channel that he launched with his brother Hank in 2007. The two also collaborate to create educational video content, titled ‘Crash Course,’ through which they explore a variety of topics including history and science.
However, next to video-making, Green has also established a record-breaking writing career after publishing his first young adult novel in 2006.
Green may not have written hundreds of books, however, is in the rare category of writers with a continuous and great fandom. Many, including myself, have read every single book of his and rush to the bookstore as soon as his most recent work is made available. He is the example of hobbies becoming careers.
His books are considered real “page-turners” not only because of their plots but due to Green’s realistic characterization and approach to life.
His protagonists give voice to perspectives that rarely have an appearance. This includes people living with disabilities, mental health issues, or terminal illnesses. But what makes Green’s narrative even more powerful is the fact that they are written from a teenage perspective.
His choice of writing from such viewpoints creates a sense of inclusivity and unity among the younger generation.
However, it’s not only his use of impactful characters but the way he addresses social issues. He writes in an understanding manner on sexuality and race as well as on conflicts within families and relationships.
Teenagers are often troubled as they are at the age of struggling to find their space within society and are unsure whom to confide in. Green’s novels can also be looked at as an empathetic companion as he explores the awkward scenarios and uncertainties that every teenager experiences when growing up.
It is due to this guiding quality within Green’s work that resulted in him making Time magazine’s 2014 list of ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World.’
An example of this is his 2012 solo novel, The Fault in Our Stars, which made it onto the #1 New York Times Bestselling list. In addition to selling close to 11 million copies and being translated to 46 languages (including Hebrew and Dutch), it also became a motion picture, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.
The Fault in Our Stars follows the story of 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster who suffers from thyroid cancer and has metastasis to her lungs. Due to her physical and mental health problems, Hazel struggles to experience the life of a normal teenager, however only until encountering Augustus Waters at her local ‘cancer patient support group.’
The two characters bring life-changing love, affection, and light into each other’s lives. Together they take part in a literature-inspired trip to Amsterdam where they experience the beauty of youth together.
Green’s novel is a definite ‘must read’ for not only young adults but adults as well. It is a tragic modern-day love story that will impact you, making you realize how grateful you should be for your health and life.
Another impactful book of his is his 2006 debut novel, Looking for Alaska which also had a screen adaptation.
John Green’s coming-of-age novel follows the character of Miles Halter to a boarding school where he befriends multiple people, forming great friendships with them.
The book is divided into a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ section due to a fatal ‘accident’ of one of Miles’s close friends as well as his romantic interest.
It is a touching story that explores the themes of grief and loss as a way to showcase the importance of life and the constant presence of hope.
Another work of his is An Abundance of Katherines, a novel following a teen boy fearing the loss of his child prodigy intelligence as he nears graduating high school, wondering whether he even has skills for any job. He previously also only dated Katherines, however, that is about to change.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is Green’s collaboration novel with David Levithan and has the chapters written in an alternating style by the two authors, both following a character named Will Grayson.
After its publishing in 2010 Will Grayson, Will Grayson was the first LGBT-related young adult novel to make The New York Times children’s bestseller list.
Green’s most recent work is Turtles All the Way Down which has emerged at #1 on the New York Times bestselling list in 2017.
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