Won't Someone Please Think of the Children?

Welcome to the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly show that answers YOUR questions about life, love, and literature! In Episode #35, the wonderful Heidi Schulz helps me answer three listener-submitted questions relating to young people and reading. We’ve never had questions on the show like these before, so don’t miss it!


Heidi is the author of Hook’s Revenge, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code (coming this fall), and the picture book Giraffes Ruin Everything, out next spring.
You can find her on Twitter @HeidiSchulz. Thank you, Heidi!

This episode was sponsored by Scribd and The Scoundrel and the Debutante by Julia London.



Dear Book Nerd,

One of my next door neighbors is a twelve year old girl, who can often be found reading on her swing set, or running by herself, through the cornfield that runs perpendicular to my house. I have spoken with her a few times about the books that she is reading, as they are books I have also read, and we have quite the conversations. I have never spoken to her parents however, aside from the cordial wave. I’m also super awkward with strangers. The problem is that I would love to lend and recommend books to their daughter, but I know I should talk to the parents first. How do I strike up that conversation without sounding like some book-pushing weirdo? I would never lend any book that they didn’t approve first.


Dear Book Nerd,

My oldest daughter is nearly thirteen and has developed a love of reading. She favors fantasy books and has read the entire Percy Jackson series and the Harry Potter books, as well as several other miscellaneous books and short series. She’s expressing interest in expanding into classics and I’m looking for suggestions for gateway YA books that bridge the gap between modern YA and teen-friendly classics. She’s now too old for the Chronicles of Narnia but aside from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, I’m drawing a blank. I’m currently asking our bookish friends with readers in the same age range, but any suggestions are worth exploring.


Nourishing a Budding Bookworm

Dear Book Nerd,

My life has been NUTS! There are a ton of things I need to ask! First of all, there is no one I can talk to about books! No one in my family, none of my friends, NOBODY!

Second of all, reading is an addiction to me (I can’t get enough). I’m always reading. but my mom doesn’t like it when I read at night, but that’s the only time I can totally one hundred percent concentrate and there is nobody talking or making disturbing noises (I have a little brother) and I can just sit and enjoy my book, but I tend to stay up REALLY late. During the day I don’t have enough time but at night I have all the time I want. Also, my parents don’t understand my passion for reading. It’s something I can’t stop, and I won’t, but they try to take away my books. I know its unhealthy but I’ve gotten myself into a habit so strong I can’t sleep until I read, and if she takes away my book I stay up even later.

Also, I have a really big crush and I’m really scared to start dating (because I’m only 13). I know its useless and stupid but I REALLY like him. I can’t talk to him about my books (obviously). And it’s kinda getting weird for me because two of my close friends like him too. I don’t want to hurt them but I like him. Please help!

Your fellow book nerd,




Popular Youth Classic Books (Goodreads)

Flights, Chimes, and Mysterious Times and the upcoming The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Mouseguard by David Petersen

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (graphic novel by Hope Larson)

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

and more!

Listen to past episodes and read past columns of Dear Book Nerd here!
And you can subscribe to the podcast via RSS here, or via iTunes here.
The show can also be found on Stitcher here.

Do you have a bookish question about life, love, or literature for Dear Book Nerd? Fill out the form below or email DearBookNerd@bookriot.com. Don’t be shy, ask away!