cover of what to do

Old fashioned Manners

What to do
Everyday guides for everyone
Bendick and Warren
1967

This one looks a bit sad. Highlighting and a few damaged pages make this weed worthy. I am happy to report that this book was sent to the bindery so the ugly cover is in pretty good shape. Those old bindery covers could probably withstand a nuclear explosion. That said, I think 1967 etiquette rules are probably due for some updating.

The phone advice is comically out of date. We are still over a decade from even having portable phones, let alone smart phones. Individual phones were just not a concept. In my high school, if you had more than one extension in your home, you were living the good life. I am also surprised there wasn’t a comment about calling “late” or tying up the phone by talking too long. This was a HUGE issue when I was a teen. If any of my friends called past 10 pm, I was in trouble!

drugs and peer pressure cover

Under Pressure!

Drugs and Peer Pressure
Myers
1995

I think this is probably the billionth “drugs are bad” book posted. I think they are almost identical in format, message and I am willing to bet the same stupid photos. Actually I should call these books the Drugs and <fill in any condition> series.

We have Drugs and….

Every time I look at the pics in all of the books mentioned, I just want to cringe. Sometimes, they don’t make sense of the “story” or example, sometimes it looks like they are trying too hard. I think my teen self would have rolled my eyes at the teenagers presented. Some of the teens look to be in their early 40s.

girl talk cover

Just between us girls

Teen Girl Talk
Douglas
1990

How about a little girl talk?

This book has the info you need to grow into a successful woman. Naturally, that means deep introspection and analysis of make-up, hair, fashion, and diets. It’s “frank and fun!”

I think today’s teens and preteens would find this book ridiculous. Miss washing your face completely last night before bed? Hello acne and awful skin. What does the author think these preteen girls are doing? Out clubbing with heavy makeup and smoking?

dating cover

Don’t make a dating mistake!

Dating
Narramore
1961

Looking for some old fashioned advice about dating? Here is an option for you from the early 1960s. I found this in a university library which is probably the most appropriate place for this material.

Considering it is the early 1960s and geared to Christian teens, you can probably guess how the advice goes:

  • Don’t date someone who isn’t a Christian
  • Save your sexual purity for marriage
  • Don’t go out to clubs, movies, and do other “non-Christian” activities
  • Listen to your parents

It is important to remember that getting pregnant out of wedlock was pretty much the worst thing that could happen to a woman. You could get fired from a job, kicked out of school, shunned by family or shipped off to an “unwed mothers” home. Hence, these books were really about putting the literal fear of God in teenagers.

Teen Legal Rights cover

Teen Legal Rights for the 1990s

Teen Legal Rights
A Guide for the ’90s
Hempleman
1994

Some books are so obvious to weed. This one practically has a neon sign over it saying “weed me!”

When you are my age the 1990s seem like yesterday. In terms of a public library teen collection, the 1990s should be considered ancient history. A good rule of thumb: books should be no older than the teens, and definitely not older than parents of teens.

who are you cover

Who are you?

Who are you?
Teenager’s guide to self-understanding
McGough
1976

Teens! Do you know who you are? Are you stressing over friends, parents, and dating? This book is for you. The content is mostly anecdotes, quizzes (if you were the president, what would you prioritize?), and “exercises” (write your own obituary!). I really don’t get how any of this stuff is going to help you find your inner self.

Obviously, this book is dated. I actually liked these kinds of books when I was a young teen. For all I know, I might have even read it since I was the right age in 1976. To use the vernacular of the late 1960s/1970s, the book was pretty square.

birth control cover

Teen Guide to Birth Control

Teen Guide to Birth Control
Nourse
1988

Another teen guide-to-life book. We have prolific health writer Alan Nourse again instructing the kids on various methods of birth control. For 1988, this isn’t a bad choice. His writing is pretty-plain spoken and doesn’t get bogged down in judgments, unlike a lot of publications, both older and newer. The info is mostly focused on the female perspective. It’s pretty clear that if a woman wants to avoid pregnancy, it is up to her. Boys seem incidental to the conversation.

babysitting cover

Babysitting Basics

Babysitting
Dayee
1990

I’m going to have to award this book “most boring cover art.” Seriously, this book design looks like they had some bad wallpaper laying around and someone said, “Hey, put that on a book, the teens will love it.”

Cover “art” not withstanding, the content isn’t too bad. The book is written in scenarios, followed by a brief discussion. There is also a business-like theme so kids think about this professionally, including interviewing. The general advice is okay, but the technology available these days (cell phones, nanny cams, etc.) definitely needs to be discussed for 21st century babysitters.