A fun debut workbook to help tweens and teens develop self-esteem, created by former health and physical education instructor Richards.
The author draws on more than 40 years of experience educating middle school children, and her book offers chapters on developing six types of maturity: personal, emotional, physical, social, intellectual, and ethical. Each one opens with a three- to four-paragraph definition and description of that chapter’s topic. Several activities follow that allow children to explore that topic in depth, including quizzes, fill-in-the-blank games, and graphs. The author also gives readers the opportunity to draw pictures, record personal experiences, and more. One activity, “Adult Interview,” provides a list of questions for children to ask parents or guardians about their early lives, including, “What would you change about your childhood?” The fun activity pages are designed so that readers can easily put them down and resume them later without confusion. After this interactive portion, Richards provides a page of “inspirational thoughts” on the topic, encouraging introspection and introducing children to authors, philosophers, and historical figures (including Samuel Johnson, Maya Angelou, Winston Churchill, Pablo Picasso, and many others) that they may encounter later in their education. Richards quotes Mother Teresa in the chapter on ethical maturity: “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing.” Finally, each chapter concludes with suggestions for goals that children may set for themselves (such as researching a topic of particular interest, keeping a reading log, or reading aloud to preschool children), strategies for accomplishing them, and graphs to chart their progress. The book doesn’t contain any large blocks of text, which will appeal to readers of all levels. The colorful illustrations and graphics enhance the work but seem more appropriate for children at the lower end of the recommended 8-14 age range. Younger teens may say the workbook is “uncool” but secretly like it; tweens, however, will adore it, and even adults may benefit from its recommendations. Richards presents the concepts, which may be new to younger readers, in a clear, easily understood manner without condescension or preaching. With some explanation by adults, the workbook could even function as a read-aloud for younger children. In general, it’s an excellent way to encourage reflection in kids of all ages.
A well-crafted resource for youngsters and anyone else interested in personal self-improvement.