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Help Your Teen Catch the Lifelong Reading Bug. Honey for a Teen’s Heart spells out how good books can help you and your teenager communicate heart-to-heart about ideas, values, and the various issues of a Christian worldview. Sharing the adventure of a book lets both of you know the same people, see the same sights, face the same choices, and feel the same emotions. Life spills out of books—giving you plenty to talk about! But Honey for a Teen’s Heart will do more than strengthen the bonds between you and your ...
Help Your Teen Catch the Lifelong Reading Bug. Honey for a Teen’s Heart spells out how good books can help you and your teenager communicate heart-to-heart about ideas, values, and the various issues of a Christian worldview. Sharing the adventure of a book lets both of you know the same people, see the same sights, face the same choices, and feel the same emotions. Life spills out of books—giving you plenty to talk about! But Honey for a Teen’s Heart will do more than strengthen the bonds between you and your son or daughter. You’ll also learn how to help your teen catch the reading habit and become a lover of good books. Gladys Hunt’s insights on how to read a book, what to look for in a book, and how to question what you read will challenge you and your teenager alike. It’s training for life! And it’s fabulous preparation for teens entering college. Including an annotated list of over four hundred books, Honey for a Teen’s Heart gives you expert guidance on the very best books for teens.
Solid food is for the mature,
who by constant use have trained
themselves to distinguish good from evil.
HEBREWS 5: 14
We can strip the knight of his armor, to reveal that he looks exactly like us, or we can try on the armor ourselves to experience how it feels. Fiction provides an ideal opportunity to try on the armor.
C. S. LEWIS
Dinner was over at 6: 30. We switched off the telephone and went into the living room to read the next chapter of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring. Just as we sat down, the doorbell rang. It was Mark's friend from down the street; he was part of our reading adventure. The two of them sprawled their lanky teenage bodies across the floor, and Father began reading. It took twenty minutes to read the chapter aloud, and the length of the next chapter was too long to allow us to sneak in a second one. We all made some kind of noise at the end of the reading: a sigh, a comment on the adventure, or an inquiry about the plotline--expressing our pleasure at "words fitly spoken." Then we got up and left the world of the shire and hobbits and went about our business--homework, a meeting, the dishes.
We began reading aloud the first book of this trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, as we drove home from skiing one weekend. We knew we had to finish the experience together. The first book hooked us into the adventure of these hobbits and easily wooed us into the second volume. By the time we got to the third volume, The Return of the King, summer had come and we were together, canoe-camping on the edge of a lake in Canada. Each evening we read around the fire in the fading light, with the night sounds of loons echoing across the lake. One day rain and a strong wind blew arctic coldness into our campsite. It would not be a good day for exploring, so the four of us huddled into one tent, snuggled into sleeping bags. Only the reader sat upright swaddled in blankets as we took turns reading chapter after chapter, going on an adventure far beyond the one we had canceled because of the rain. Sometimes the reader paused because a lump in the throat stopped up the words. No one felt embarrassed by tears; we were all wet-eyed. Beautiful word choices, raw courage, incredible goodness--it was almost too much to bear.
I mention this favorite memory partly because it warms my heart, but primarily to point out that something bigger than the book was happening as we read together. Feelings of closeness and under-standing are woven into our memories of the marvelous adventure of the Tolkien trilogy; we "belong" to each other in some special way. We have laughed together and cried together and wondered together. More than that, the book told us something about honor and truth, about valor and integrity, about what goodness looks like in a person. The impact of these books was more profound than any teaching we could ever give. Out of the books flowed ideas to talk about, behavior to emulate, feelings to share.
This book is about books--about using good stories in raising healthy teens.
It has never been harder to bring children to adulthood with your family values intact. The world is swirling with ideas and dissonance and our technology brings both into our homes. What is base or immodest becomes the story line of sitcoms on television. Clever writers brew up scenes that evoke laughter over what is offensive and demeaning. Disrespectful remarks and put-downs are the stuff of comedy. The music industry invades the air space with its cacophony and sometimes life-destroying words.
Pop culture "strips the knight of his armor," as C. S. Lewis observed in the quote at the beginning of this chapter. It reduces everything to its lowest level. Teens lose the vision of what they could be, of what they were meant to be, created in God's image. Our the-sis (and Lewis's) is that good books allow a young person to try on the armor and see what it feels like to be a knight.
Anti-culture speeches from parents and others have little effect on pop-cultural "cool." Restrictions and rules about behavior in some instances protect our children but, unless parents make some effort to help young people understand the world and how to live in it, they leave an empty place that can potentially be filled with lesser or greater evils. The situation is similar to the one Jesus described when teaching about Beelzebub. A place swept clean is meant to be filled with something positive; otherwise, says Jesus, the empty place is filled with other wrong things.
I thought of this recently as I listened to a mother expressing her pain over her daughter's absorption with the teen-culture, pulling away from the family and participating in unacceptable behavior, breaking family rules, and hanging out with the wrong crowd. The daughter's display of anger and resentment is tearing apart the fabric of this family. The mother's anguish caught at my heart.
But I also thought of the complacency of other parents whose teens are outwardly playing by the family rules, but exhibiting a self-centeredness, a disinterest in other family members that frightens me. Some are hooked on computer games and basically anti-social. These parents ignore all the symptoms that should dismay them. They let them go their own way, shrugging their shoulders as they wait for these years to be over. My guess is that the rebellious teen has the advantage of the most prayer. One situation looks more desperate than another, but God is not finished with either of them yet. All teens need help to transcend their small concept of what it means to be a human being; they need guidance and prayer.
Acknowledgments . . 9
Introduction . 11
A Word to Parents 15
Part 1 —Using Books in Family Life
1. Three Cheers for a Good Book! . 19
2. Is Imagination Going Down the Tube? . 33
3. What Makes a Good Book? . . . . 39
4. Using Books to Talk About Values . . . . 53
5. Rejecting the Philistines . . 65
6. Building a Christian World/Life View . . 71
7. Fantasy in a Real World . . 87
8. Getting Teens into the Bible . . . . 97
9. Encourage the Best in Books . . . 105
10. A Word for the College-Bound . 115
Part 2 —Book Lists To Help You Choose
11. How to Use the Book Annotations . . . 125
12. Adventure and Suspense 129
13. Contemporary . . . 141
14. Fantasy . . . . 168
15. Historical . . 191
16. Mystery . . . 219
17. Nonfiction . 228
18. Science Fiction . . . 242
19. Sports 254
20. Tried and True . . . 259
21. Quick Reference . . 278
Glossary . . 287
Index of Authors . 289
Index of Book Titles . . . . 294
Posted July 27, 2012
Posted March 28, 2010
Several people have highly recommended Gladys Hunt's Honey For a Teen's Heart, so I purchased a copy of the latest edition. It is published by a well known religious publisher, Zondervan. Mrs. Hunt says, "Both sex and coarse language are issues that demand parent-teen discussion. If you avoid these subjects, what are you saying to your children?...The reader needs to learn how to discern and how to reject. What should a parent do with bad language in culture and in books? One option is to react with horror and ban the book. That may keep a teen from reading the words, but it doesn't take them out of his hearing in the culture. We need to talk about it openly....Maybe you are a parent who wants to exclude all reading except what you know is safe. That becomes more and more difficult as a child becomes a teen and moves further out of your control."
I really do not wish to get into an argument with Mrs. Hunt, but I do have to make a few comments. Speaking for my own family, we have no intention to "avoid these subjects." However, while I understand that as children grow older they do become more exposed to the evil that is in the world, and we as parents have the responsibility to prepare them for that experience, I still have trouble understanding the idea that we can do that by letting them read literature that is less than wholesome in its language and picture of life. I believe that we can discuss these subjects with our children without necessarily using those kinds of books. Mrs. Hunt did admit, "We reluctantly rejected several otherwise good books for our bibliography because of language that was pervasively foul, making it impossible to skip over it. In many cases, we try to warn you that language (or violence or improperly expressed sexuality) might be a problem in a particular book." However, when I looked at her descriptions of several books that I have read and rejected as not being worth my time because of bad language, I saw no such warnings with them. So, I would hate to see a list of the ones that were rejected!
Mrs. Hunt also says, "We live in a fallen world. Good literature does not avoid that fact. But it does not revel in it either." Unfortunately, there are some of the recommendations that Mrs. Hunt (and co-author Barbara Hampton) give that I personally believe do tend to revel in the fact that we live in a fallen world. Obviously, these are decisions that each family must make, and as noted earlier, different families will have different standards. Apparently, Mrs. Hunt's standards are not quite the same as mine. That is all right, but I do get a little tired and somewhat irritated at people like Mrs. Hunt who like to use words like "censorship" and say that "young people are not helped by parents who react with shock and outrage" when all we are trying to do is make sure that the material which our children read does not contain "corrupt communication" but rather "what is good for necessary edification" (Ephesians 4:29). That will continue to be the standard in our home! This book is still a good resource for finding suitable reading material, but we shall still be cautious and careful.
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Posted July 16, 2003
This book talks about the values of reading together as a family, and gives book suggestions to do just that. AND, it also has lists of book titles for whatever your interests might be. My teenager loves to read, and is at the library quite frequently; the information in this book has just opened up a whole new world of book titles and information that we didn't have before. There are book suggestions for reluctant readers, as well. Which is great; we have one of those in the family, as well. I got this book thinking that only one teenager in the family would be using it (the reader); but we are all enjoying the book. I think its a valuable resource for one's home library; but, not just as a reference tool; there is plenty of great information/food for thought in it. It is well worth reading from cover to cover.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 22, 2011
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