The Courage To Be Yourself: True Stories by Teens About Cliques, Conflicts, and Overcoming Peer Pressure

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9781442954212: The Courage To Be Yourself: True Stories by Teens About Cliques, Conflicts, and Overcoming Peer Pressure

Dwan listens to rock music, uses big words, and can't dance very well. So her friends - even her own family - accuse her of not being black enough. Rana, an Arab American, became a target of hate after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Nadishia is harassed because she doesn't wear the latest designer clothes, Jennifer because she's overweight. Yen gets teased for being Chinese, Jeremiah for being gay, Jamel because he won't smoke marijuana. In 26 first-person stories, real teens write about their lives and how hard it is to be themselves - especially when they're bullied, picked on, pressured, excluded, and disrespected. They ask tough questions, like ''Why does everyone have such a problem with me?'' and ''Should I change myself to fit in?'' Maybe you've asked yourself these questions. Reading this book is like talking with teens who've been where you are, gone through what you're going through, and know what it's all about. These stories don't have easy answers. They don't all have happy endings. There are no magic solutions to the problems these writers face - or the problems you may face. But the message is clear: You can't control how others see you, but you can control how you see you. Conflict can make you stronger. And you can survive almost anything when you have the courage to be yourself.

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About the Author:

Al Desetta is an editor at Youth Communication, a nonprofit organization in New York City that teaches writing, journalism, and leadership skills to inner-city teens. Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR) is a national organization that teaches young people creative and productive ways to resolve conflict.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 8 Up–It's a challenge to remain true to one's self in a world that encourages conformity to a narrowly prescribed norm. It is especially difficult when the individual is a teen. Here, Desetta presents 26 short essays from young people who have faced this challenge head-on and found ways to survive if not happily, at least tolerably. From a gay teen who is harassed by peers to overweight and unfashionable girls who are ridiculed because of their physical appearance; from an African-American teen who isn't black enough to an Arab American who is a target of hate after September 11, the selections cover the spectrum of being different or other. What the essays have in common is the willingness on the part of the contributors to accept that they cannot control how others view them but only how they perceive themselves. These young people demonstrate that by having the courage to be themselves, they are equipped to live without compromising their ideals. Though not all the stories have happy endings, readers who are struggling with similar issues will be comforted and perhaps inspired by the honesty and poignancy of these narratives.–Elaine Baran Black, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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