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  • Narda Skov

Preteens Reading Adult Fiction

I have been reading some great articles from sexual health educators around the country posting for sexual health education). One post caught my attention and it was from Saleema Noon ( on what to say to preteens who might be wanting to read adult fiction. I was not aware of #BookTok, which is a sub-community on TikTok that focuses on books and literature. I hope this article is informative!

Some things to know about this topic:

  • #BookTok is where creators make videos reviewing, discussing, and joking about the books they read, with a focus on young adult (YA) and adult fiction.

  • YA fiction has been growing in popularity over the years, attracting readers of all ages. It covers a wide range of genres and tackles relevant issues that preteens and teens face, making it a better alternative to adult fiction.

  • Preteen readiness for adult fiction varies depending on their individual maturity level, reading skills, interests and content of the specific book. As a general guideline, most young people begin to explore more complex themes and mature content in high school.

  • Not all adult fiction contains harmful content, and some books can offer valuable insights and thought-provoking perspectives that can broaden a preteen's understanding of the world. Just because a book is labeled as adult fiction doesn't mean it's scandalous and steamy.

What parents can do:

  • Offer YA books to your preteen as a stepping stone to adult fiction. Ask them what they're into, do some research and find something that ticks the box.

  • From day one, show an interest in what our child is reading, both at school and at home. Ask what they like and what they don't like in a book.

  • Talk about peer pressure. Practice some "I" statements they can use to respond to pressure to read a certain book or teasing because they aren't. This can also be true of seeing certain movies or videos. Remind them that they have a right to choose what they read or watch.

Smart things to say to discuss what they are reading:

  • What did you like most about the book?

  • "The reason why I am not comfortable with you reading this book is....." Fill in the blank with your values, family values or any valid reason you have. You are their parent and if you have concerns - trust them.

  • "How is this book different from books written for people your age?"

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