Yellow highlighter circling the words Looking for some guidance on how to parent tweens and teens? Check out these excellent books that feature concrete, practical techniques.

How to Talk so Teens Will Listen and Listen so Teens Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

You may be familiar with the book How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, by the same authors, which focuses mostly on effectively communicating with and disciplining pre-adolescents. This title refines some of the techniques introduced in the original volume and introduces a few new techniques designed specifically for teenagers. The book is not only incredibly practical; it’s also utterly readable.

Middle School Matters, by Phyllis L. Fagel

Written by a former journalist with a decade of experience as a middle school counselor, this book answers questions ranging from how to talk to your child about the birds and the bees to how to help them develop sustainable study skills. While the book mentions little about gender, racial identity, or sexuality, it does contain a plethora of answers to commonly asked questions across identities.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum

This book covers the basics of racial identity development, as well as suggestions for supporting learners of all ages as they develop. Although it was not explicitly written about teens, adolescence is a time when many young people start to explore their racial identity, rendering the information Tatum provides incredibly relevant.

Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World, by Uju Asika

Written a popular Nigerian-English blogger, this incredibly accessible, utterly practical book provides a huge amount of concrete examples of how to parent anti-racist children. Asika’s conversational tone makes this especially fun to read.

The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey

Although not explicitly about teens, Lahey’s concrete ways to move away from perfectionism and towards embracing and learning from mistakes are useful for learners of all ages – including adults.

Grit, by Angela Duckworth

Although not technically a parenting book, Duckworth frequently draws on young people as examples in this book about how to develop resilience throughout one’s lifetime.

The Opposite of Spoiled, by Ron Lieber

An essential book about teaching generosity and financial literacy to children from toddlerhood through the teenage years.

The Gender Creative Child, by Diane Ehrensaft

A primer on gender identity and on supporting children who identify both within and outside the gender binary. A thoroughly researched resource for parents of children of all ages, but is especially relevant to identity development that typically occurs during adolescence.


Mathangi Subramanian, Ed.D., believes stories have the power to change the world. Her middle grades book, Dear Mrs. Naidu, won the South Asia Book Award, and her picture book A Butterfly Smile was inducted into the Nobel Museum by Laureate Dr. Esther Duflo. Her novel A People’s History of Heaven was longlisted for the PEN/Faulkner award, a finalist for the LAMBDA literary award, and named a Skipping Stones Honors Book. A former public school teacher, senior policy analyst at the New York City Council, and Fulbright Scholar, she currently consults for Sesame Workshop. She holds a doctorate in education from Columbia Teachers College.