Why should teens read novels like Sherlock Holmes?

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Answered by: Elizabeth, An Expert in the Read and Study Books Category
Novels such as those featuring the infamous character, Sherlock Holmes, have widespread appeal. This is evident in the multiple television and film adaptations of the series originally made famous in the late nineteenth century by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle penned four novels and fifty-six short stories which featured Holmes. The character first appeared in 1887 and is still part of our culture today. These novels and stories may appeal to teens as Holmes's wit, powers of analysis, and perception render him something of a superhero. He usually comes to the rescue, battles evil, and fights for the ethical good. His friendship with Dr. Watson and sometimes-romance with Irene Adler may also be appealing to many readers. Teens have a lot to gain from reading such a series. For example, Sherlock Holmes is known for his use of inductive reasoning, which requires examples to support a specific hypothesis. All of these examples must add up or connect to an ultimate conclusion. This form of reasoning is intimately connected to critical thinking, a skill encouraged by most high schools and virtually all colleges. Therefore, Holmesian novels would demonstrate this valuable skill effectively. Doyle's work is entertaining and idealizes knowledge and problem-solving. There are also many adaptations of Doyle's famous character, including Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes series, which imagines a character who is Sherlock's sister and solves cases much like he does. The Nancy Drew series may even appeal to younger teens as the detective genre as a whole has been widely influenced by Doyle's original Sherlock. There are many individual novels that are either based on Holmes or feature a character very similar to him in juvenile, young adult, and adult works. Some of these novels are in a series, which may be particularly appealing to teens. These young adult-oriented series are very similar to the original stories, although they feature more modern commentary and style, which may appeal to more teens. Overall, the original Sherlock Holmes works and the new adaptations can engage teens in plots with much action, humorous dialogue, and moral engagement. Exposing teens to a classic character such as Sherlock Holmes via reading will also expose them to classic and/or contemporary literature in a way that is accessible, fun, and enlightening. Sherlock Holmes is certainly a character with which most young adults are familiar, thus reading about him would allow teens to connect with this nineteenth-century, longstanding character.

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