Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Monday, November 29, 2010

Cantrell, R. (2010). Giving a voice to ‘tweens and teens: Dallas Children’s Theater: Healthy Living for Young People Series. Incite/Insight, 2(2), 14-16. Retrieved November 29, 2010, from Education Full Text.

Honestly, there is no better way then to have 'tweens express themselves is to have them actually express themselves through creativity and the arts. In this article, the Dallas Children's Theater (DCT) established an initiative called the "Young Adult Drama Series" where 'tweens and teens wrote and acted out plays tackling hot topic issues such as: cyberbullying, drugs, alcohol, parental issues, and learning disabilities. With the help of therapists, educators, parents, artists, and consultants, this initiative came together to bring plays that deal with heavy issues to the stage. According to Cantrell: "Developing and producing these issue- type plays were only a part of the Dallas Children’s Theater’s commitment to addressing these difficult issues. Post performance  talk-backs, with expert facilitators for each topic, provided a forum for audience’s feedback and reactions, which was interspersed with the expert’s data and resource information" (2019,p.15). Not only are 'tweens being exposed to these issues, they are working with people who will help them make good decisions, but also cultivate empathy, especially when they have friends dealing with these issues.

As uncomfortable as these issues may be, 'tweens not only need to talk about these issues but learn how to deal with them; hence, acting, in my opinion, the best way to learn coping skills; when one becomes the character their point of view changes so not only are tweens learning about the decision making process, but how they, themselves, can make different choices. Linda Daugherty, the DCT playwright, states that "With an issue-type play, you hope that young people will take in the information they are presented and make healthy choices. Lectures and preaching to them don’t work. The challenge is to present a story about real people  with real lives and struggles, which the audience can slip into their shoes” (Cantrell, 2010, p. 14).

As 'tween librarians, we can create programs similar to this program where 'tweens can not only have fun, but learn valuable lessons through learning and acting. Moreover, this activity is a great way for 'tweens to recognize the Library as a body that advocates for them, but is truly interested in the trials and tribulations they are facing. Not only can we provide books that serve as therapeutic aids to get 'tweens through adolescence, we can partner with professionals and other community groups to show the community that there are positive methods to not only help their 'tween through puberty, but cultivate creativity, self-confidence, and a sense of accomplishment.

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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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