Finding books for teens that promote moral learning can be tough: You want good literature that teaches a lesson in good behavior and has socially acceptable language, but your teen wants something that is enjoyable to read and will keep his interest. The good news is you can find books in your public library and in bookstores that do fit this description. Some are old, some are new.
"King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Stories," by Thomas Malory, focuses on chivalrous behavior. "Little Women," "Little Men" and "Jo's Boys" are classic literature by Louisa May Alcott who had her finger on teen issues that are, in many cases, as relevant now as then. Although Mark Twain had a mischievous wit, he had a good eye for social issues. "Life on the Mississippi" showcases his dry humor. "A Swiss Family Robinson," by Johann David Wyss, will appeal to both boys and girls who enjoy the out-of-doors and independence.
Good Series Books
Young teens might enjoy vintage series such as Tom Swift, or early Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, or even Dr. Doolittle. Students who love science fiction and good puns will enjoy Isaac Asimov's robot stories. "The Chronicles of Narnia" is a series that teens can start reading in their late elementary years and grow into as the characters in the series grow up. Gene Stratton-Porter's Limberlost books, "Freckles," "Girl of the Limberlost," and "Freckles Comes Home," by Jeannette Stratton Porter, give a vivid picture of moral behavior in spite of the odds, and against a backdrop of natural beauty.
Biographies about people who have led courageous lives or made a significant contribution can be fascinating reads for teens. "Diary of a Young Girl," by Anne Frank, is the edited account of a girl growing up in hiding during World War II. "The Peabody Sisters of Salem," by Louise Hall Tharp, tells the story of three young women who lived in the same town as such literary figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. "Jane Adams: Spirit in Action," by Louise W. Knight, is about one of the first social workers, the woman who created Hull House. "Profiles in Courage," by John F. Kennedy, is a series of short accounts of acts of courage.
Feel-Good and Self-Help
"Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul," by Jack Canfield, is part of the feel-good series of books that tell heart-warming, gentle stories. "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens," written by Sean Covey, son of the author of the original "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens," by Richard Carlson, can give teens some tools for getting past those daily annoyances that interfere with living a moral life.