Teen Book List Vs. Game of Thrones #KidsBookList #GameOfThrones #TeenBooks

georger.r.martin-asongoficeandfireI have a thirteen year old boy. He, by definition, is a teenager. I blame his friends for turning him into the moody sarcastic boy I sometimes encounter. When I call him on it and tell him to straighten up, he usually gives me a remorseful look and says sweetly, “Sorry, Mom.”

Teen boy on “Crazy Hair Day” at school

Lately, he has been bugging me to read the Game of Thrones books. Granted, I have not actually read any of these books. Fantasy is not my genre of choice, although, there are quite few fantasy books that I have read and loved. So, I am mostly basing my decisions on the first two seasons of the television show that I have weathered through.

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My husband assures me that the books don’t have the emphasis on sex that the show does, but his opinions are less than stellar when it comes to what’s appropriate for kids.  (Although, I think most of us parents have made the mistake of allowing something we thought was fine, because we had forgotten what things were like. Turns out Airplane, although funny, is not really a kid’s movie.) Even without the sex, the treachery and violence is something I’m not comfortable having my thirteen year old exposed to. I’ve argued with my husband about this and he insists that I’m not allowed to put my foot down unless his is down too.

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Here is my solution to the problem. My son likes to read, but he doesn’t read a lot of heavy books. He’s in the accelerated program at school. (I’m so proud!) But his strength lies in Math and not English or Language Arts or whatever they are calling it this year. So while many of his friends were devouring all the Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Alex Rider books, he was reading Captain Underpants, The Magic Pickle and Bone books. I have to admit, these books are quite funny. My son definitely gets his love of humor from me. He has read all the How to Train Your Dragon books, all the Septimus Heap books, most of the Artemis Fowl Books and he was into the Tunnels books for a while, so it’s not like he doesn’t read.  I finally got sick of him asking me everyday when I thought he would be old enough to read the Game of Thrones books.

I made a deal with my son.

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This is the deal, put down in writing: I told him if he finished reading all the Harry Potter books (he’s read the first one or two), all the Eragon books (he’s read the first one or two), all The Chronicles of Prydain (The Black Cauldron, etc.) books, all the Lord of the Rings books and all of The Chronicles of Narnia books, then I would let him read the Game of Thrones books. We have almost all of these books sitting on the shelf at home, so he could have read them at any time. Granted this is a daunting task, but not unreasonable. If he really wanted to read the Game of Thrones books that badly, he could make it through these other books in a timely enough fashion.

Game of Throne chair

I also have the caveat that when he finishes reading those books, I’m going to have a talk with him about positive and negative images and ideas and how they affect us as individuals. You can’t unsee or unread something you have seen or read. Some images remain in your mind forever and playback at times when we are most vulnerable to them. I didn’t tell him that we would be having this little talk, but it’s there in the back of my mind.

Book of Three

My son thought this was fair. Bonus is that he has now stopped asking me to read these books. He knows the deal and he’s willing to stick to it. I think the main reason for him asking, really had more to do with him trying to look cool to his friends, than on him actually wanting to read the Game of Thrones books. He could either complain to his friends that his mom wouldn’t let him read them, or he could brag that his parents would let him read them. Now he can’t do either, it all depends on him. If he goes off to college and he still hasn’t finished his book list, at that point, I’m not going to worry about it. In the meantime, he has started reading The Book of Three, so we’ll see how that goes.

Top 24 Books for Teen Boys from Delicious Reads

Delicious Reads Top 24 Books for Teen Boys

Do your kids ask you to read books you think are inappropriate? Did you read books when you were younger that you probably shouldn’t have? How did that affect you? What books do you recommend for kids and what ages? Do you have a favorite book that you read when you were a teen? I’d love to read your comments!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda Minor on October 22, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    I had no idea. Giggle. But you know me, I was reading Poe, Hawthorne, Tolkien by the time I hit 6th grade. In fact, my parents got into a rather large fight with the grade school because I wanted to do my book report on the House of Seven Gables (I was spurred on to read it due to the Vincent Price movie–same with the Poe books and poetry). The school gave in, but had to have a college Lit professor do the report (ya, the grade school teacher had not read the book.) The College professor told the school to leave me alone and she wished her students loved reading.
    But, I think you pulled off the perfect solution to a “touchy” problem, saving face for you and your son. And yes, I do think there are some books, especially in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy area that you need to monitor and find out more about the book. No, I don’t think I would let him read “Game of Thrones” just yet. Don’t let hubby fool you with the “lack of emphasis on sex” it is there and at 13yrs, some of the rest of this series is far above his reading comprehension. Heck, I’ve had to re-read a chapter or two to make sure I understood what was going on–and why. Once he gets done with LOTR, then he might be able to handle Thrones. I know your son loves games and Thrones game is NOT like the book. You put together a perfect solution. I would love to know if he follows through and completes his reading list. If he really wants “Thrones”, he will finish that list.

    Reply

  2. Thanks, Linda! I love your book report story. I have to say, Vincent Price is quite awesome. I was also reading Poe. I remember trying to memorize The Raven in 7th or 8th grade. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Posted by Bianca Bowers on October 23, 2015 at 2:06 am

    I like your style, Sonya. You came up with a creative solution and put a reading challenge to your son that will only improve his reading skills if he follows through.
    I totally agree with you about age-appropriate material, and that one cannot unread/unsee what they’ve read in a book or seen on tv. I know that we can’t screen our children from everything out there, but it’s certainly our responsibility to monitor and ease them into these more mature themes gently and time-appropriately.

    I think you’ve done a stellar job and made a good decision, and if love to hear updates about his reading list progression! 😊

    Reply

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