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Exploring the Unique Genius of Every 21st Century Adolescent

by Molly Dahl illustrated by Grace Aramanda

Pub Date: July 11th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-9964809-3-2
Publisher: YOUTH Positive

A debut interactive workbook for teenagers provides an introduction to positive psychology and various applications.

The challenges teens face are particularly unusual and wide-ranging—from new responsibilities and changing bodies to uncertainty about their futures and ever shifting relationships with parents, peers, and authority figures. These are piled on the pressures of schoolwork that many students have difficulty seeing as important. The philosophy of YOUTH Positive is one of self-understanding and personal management during these turbulent years, introducing ideas of mindfulness and practices like meditation as simple-to-comprehend concepts with easy-to–re-create techniques. In addition, there are more common but just as important tips like eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Each section of the workbook presents pointed questions to promote self-discovery, encouraging adolescent readers to answer through writings or drawings. Negative thoughts and their impacts on relationships and achievements are framed not merely in the context of success and failure, but also what was learned and how these lessons can be applied for self-betterment. Questions about what activities and interests foster the individual’s creativity and passion are especially explored as they concern decisions about a young person’s future and the dreams that should be pursued. Dahl’s book is upbeat and engaging, utilizing her 15-plus years of teaching experience in both public and private schools to offer solutions to everyday teen trials through the ideals of positive psychology. Bright colors, photographs, and charts, coupled with debut illustrator Aramanda’s charming and inclusive images, will likely resonate more with younger teens, but the overall effect is still far less stodgy than a typical textbook. The work is well-cited, with a thorough bibliography and index and two useful appendices. The index makes the manual’s meditation and breathing exercises easier to locate while the appendices supply advice and words of thanks to parents and teachers. In academic settings where the focus is solely on grades and test scores, it is easy to see how a philosophy of self-knowledge and positivity would be both appealing and helpful during those tumultuous teen years.

Colorful and upbeat graphics, probing questions, and thoughtful exercises come together to promote understanding and happiness in teens.