Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Saturday, September 4, 2010

Anderson, S. B. (2007). Childhood Left Behind. In Serving young teens and 'tweens (pp. 6-8). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Normal Adolescent Development Part I. (2001, June). American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Retrieved September 04, 2010, from for Families&name=Normal Adolescent Development Part I

 In chapter one, of Sheila B. Anderson's Serving Young 'Tween and Young Teens, entitled Childhood Left Behind, Anderson discusses the physiological, emotional, and cognitive development of 'tweens and young teens.  Although there is no proper definition of a "tween," Anderson focuses on young people, 'tweens, and young teens, between the ages of  ten and fourteen (2007, p. xxii). The chapter is broken down into several sections focusing on: defining the ages of young teens and 'tweens, adolescent development, demographics, and service considerations. The evidence Anderson provides, especially in regards to development, in, my opinion, is utterly mind blowing. I always know puberty could be a pain, but I understand why by digging further into the issue as to why adolescent development has to occur and how it is necessary for parents, teachers, and librarians to be understanding and aware of this exciting and, sometimes, traumatizing transformation.

One section that stood out the most in my mind was Anderson's introduction of Jean Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development.  I am not familiar with Piaget, but, after reading Anderson's findings of 'tween and young teens cognitive development, I now fully understand how 'tweens and young teens develop critical thinking skills. Anderson (2006) states "[a]ccording top Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development, young people ages eleven or older are in a stage of  "formal operations" meant that they are able to develop abstract and hypothetical  reasoning. Unlike children, who are typically limited to thinking about what is real, 'tween and young teens are able to begin thinking about what is possible"(p.6).

Looking back on my own adolescent development, I remember sitting in my seventh grade English class talking about The Outsiders. My teachers asked us a question as to why Johnny and Pony Boy had to run away and hide. Obviously, they got into a situation where fear and violence intermingled, but, I started to wonder that is has to go beyond just the fighting...what were the events that led up to the tragedy and the characters really have any choices or control over the situation? Little did I know, those questions in my head were sure fire signs that I was developing my very own critical thinking skills!

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) created a Facts for Family study, entitled Normal Adolescent Development, that informs parents of several developmental factors that will affect their 'twee and/or young teens behavior such as: Movement Towards Independence, Future Interests and Cognitive Changes, Sexuality, and Morals, Values, and Self-Direction. Reflecting on my own experience, and possibly the experience of other 'tweens and young teens, I was developing my ability to recognize that we, as human beings, are capable of making our own choices and realizing that their are consequences to each action. Johnny and Pony Boy were simply victims of circumstance, but, given their involvement with the Greasers and fraternizing with Soc girls, Johnny committed an action that sent both their worlds into chaos.

Adolescent development is truly a remarkable process despite the havoc and joy it causes a 'tween and young teens. This moment in time, although short, is quite exciting because, as Librarians, we can help them get through this process by providing resources and programs that will allow them to express themselves and find comfort in their own skin. More importantly, by working with group of adolescents, we also have the opportunity to evolve as professionals by creating new methods of library service such as more relaxed reference interviews and innovative PR to get 'tweens and teens into the library. The sky is the limit when working with young people so it is definitely a good thing that we have the Jean Piaget's and S.E Hinton's making the lives of parents, teachers, librarians, 'tween, and young teens a little bit better.

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. I enjoyed reading this - particularly your "aha" outsiders moment. And what a great title.


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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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