Dear Librarians: A Letter from Devorah Heitner, Author of Growing Up in Public

By Rachel Tran | February 6 2024 | NewsFrom the Author

Dear Librarians,

Parents and caregivers are eager for research-based support on raising kids and teens in the digital age. There are a lot of gloom and doom books out there that basically tell us that “smartphones have destroyed a generation.” 

My book, Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World, offers a different perspective. The Chicago Tribune and New York Times both addressed the ways this book differs from the commonly heard gloom and doom on the topic of teens and tech. As the starred Library Journal review notes, ” The book addresses neurodiversity, mental health, and sex and gender identity. It also offers readers sound ideas for supporting BIPOC kids and promoting antiracism. Sexting and sexual harassment are also tackled here.” My research process included interviews with hundreds of teens, tweens, parents and educators as well as researchers.

Libraries like the Radnor Library in PA and Charlotte Library in VT, and Vernon Area Library in Illinois and the West Bank library in Texas have offered community reads using my discussion guide. I also was thrilled to speak at the YALSA symposium to youth-facing librarians about the milestones of coming of age in a digital world.

I’ve also zoomed into libraries like Albany Library in Albany CA to offer longer author talks. The discussion guide and having library staff conduct the discussion with the free discussion guide is the best fit for most libraries as it is pro-bono. In some cases, the library and local school district have worked together to bring me to their communities in person as well. I’m planning an event like this right now for the Fall, 2024 in Maine.

best, Devorah

PS:  if you organize a community read and market it to your community via email, press and social media, and the timing works for me to pop in, pro-bono via zoom for 15 minutes of Q and A with the author, I’m happy to do that as my schedule allows!

Every generation experiences childhood anew, tackling challenges that the prior generation never faced. But the world of technology and social media being navigated by today’s adolescents and teens is a challenge of an entirely different kind. Heitner has written an excellent book that helps today’s parents support their children in making sense of the complex world in a manner that is caring, healthy and clear-eyed. As I wrote in the headline above: it’s a must-read for Gen X parents of Gen Z kids. Our whole school did a Parents’ Night Book Club on this one book alone and it was well worth it!

Growing Up in Public
Coming of Age in a Digital World
The definitive book on helping kids navigate growing up in a world where nearly every moment of their lives can be shared and compared