Books are boring. They don’t blink, buzz or blip entertainingly. They don’t convey instant social affirmation like Snapchat. They don’t even make a cool whirring noise like a fidget spinner. Books require effort. All true. But they also nourish imaginative thinking, prompt discussion and create real, lasting neurological change, including the development of empathy. Great — so how do you get your kids to read?
Truthfully, you can’t. The more you push, the less they’re likely to willingly comply — and if it’s compulsory, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get them to true enjoyment. In my experience, both as a parent and a teacher, the best bet to get kids to read is to provide them with books that a) address specific interests (soccer, rap, dogs — whatever they are into) and b) are by the author of previously-enjoyed or much-read-by-peers books (Suzanne Collins, John Green and currently Jay Asher come to mind immediately).
The more YA literature I read, the better equipped I feel to make recommendations. But for those with perhaps more mature reading tastes, ask your local librarian and/or make liberal use of the book award lists that are widely available online. I have found the Printz, Coretta Scott King and Alex Award lists particularly helpful. What follows are some of my best bets — books that kids have responded to as well as some likely-to-hit newer titles.