teen dating cover

Teen Dating in the 1980s

Teen Dating
Stewart
1984

Aside from the crunchy brown paper, and a girl sporting a Cosby sweater, this isn’t too bad on the teen dating advice front. Yes it is outdated, but the advice is pretty generic. Look for qualities that are about friendship, be respectful, etc. A lot of the book is devoted to understanding social situations. There are tips on throwing a party, entertaining a date, going to prom, and other group activities as well.

However, it is glaringly out of date in terms of technology and social norms. I also think it is important to reiterate how important cover art is to getting someone to actually pick up the book. Fast forward 10 or so years, and the book looks dated. After 30 years, it is a book suitable for this blog.

A Boy Today, a Man Tomorrow

Boy Today, Man Tomorrow

A Boy Today, a Man Tomorrow
Hayes
1959

Submitter: I found this 1959 puberty manual when cleaning out an old closet at a public library in North Carolina I worked at a couple summers ago. It had long been weeded–I brought it home to read aloud to my 12-year-old, who was sufficiently horrified!

Holly: What were they saving it in the closet for?? It warms my heart to know it got a second life through your tween.

teen childbirth cover

Teen Childbirth Help

Teen Guide To Childbirth
Brown
1989

This is pretty much a basic childbirth manual. It assumes that this teen has all sorts of resources, dutifully gets prenatal care, and has support from family and the baby’s father. There isn’t any judgment about being married or shame cast on the teen mother. Unfortunately, that is about the only thing that is good. The reality is that there is probably 1% of all teen mothers that have the resources and choices in this book.

There are some pretty big questions left unanswered: How will I support myself? Where will I find help with child care? How am I going to pay for a hospital and prenatal care? Even if you can get beyond the outdated information, the couple pictures are just wrong. The first picture has a guy pushing 30 which brings a whole new level of ick to this book.

makeover

Teen Makeover

The Make-Over
A Teen’s Guide to Looking & Feeling Beautiful
Parks-McKay
1985

Ah, the 1980s live again. This book has all the makeup and fashion advice your average teen girl needs. The shirt/vest combo looks 1970s (I say this because I had a similar outfit in 1977. Heck, I think I had the same hair as well.) By the 1980s we were all looking for some big hair via perms. For me personally, the 1980s ended up being a series of bad choices in hair and fashion.

abusive relationships cover

Abusive Relationships

Everything You Need to Know About
Abusive Relationships
Rue
1996

I want teens to have the best resources when it comes to serious topics like abusive relationships. I also think that these books need to be styled in such away, that it won’t discourage young people from using the material. I don’t think this book does the job effectively.

The cover art and illustrations leave a bit to be desired. The pictures are disturbing in that I think too many people would wouldn’t call a relationship abusive unless it is physically violent. Even though the book does address situations of female on male abuse and emotional abuse, it is still lacking on what constitutes an abusive relationship.

Regardless, this book is a weeder just because the content is over 20 years old. It isn’t necessarily wrong, but any material this old, especially in a teen section, is questionable.

smart spending

Smart Spending for the Teens

Smart Spending
A Young Consumer’s Guide
Schmitt
1989

I am totally one of those librarians who loves talking about financial literacy. Teens, particularly, really need help managing the realities of debt, spending, credit, etc. In 1989, I probably would have bought this for a library collection.

Lots of good discussion about fraud and spending. Now a days I bet we would have a hard time understanding some of the vocabulary such as money orders, paper checkbooks, taking advantage of the float between deposits and checks (I was quite the expert in the 1980s), etc.