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Unhappy teens in need of a lecture on thinking positively and being more in touch with one’s emotions need look no further.

Mangan presents in as many chapters a 20-point strategy that ranges from “Have a Positive Attitude” and “Cut Your Problems Into Pieces” to “Practice Being Patient” and “Appreciate the Value of Your Hard Work.” She blends private exercises like visualizing forgiveness with comments on selective attention, “problematic procrastination” and other bad habits, reframing situations to put them in different lights, “changing shoes” to understand others better and subjecting feelings to rational analysis. Though the author has a graduate degree and years of practice in clinical psychology, she offers generalities and generic situations rather than specific cases from her experience, and the book is devoid of references to further resources or even an index. Superficial advice (“If you are unsafe or are around kids that you know are bullies, just walk away”) combines with techniques that are unlikely to interest readers (“Make a song verse out of your list of helpful thoughts”). The author also makes questionable claims about the mind-body connection (“When you smile, your body sends a signal to your brain that you are happy”) and fails to make a case for regarding side forays into food habits and environmental concerns as relevant to her topic. Obvious issues and common-sense advice, unpersuasively presented. (Self-help. 12-15)


Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4338-1040-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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Offers interesting information on a lesser-known hero.

A true story of true allyship.

This straightforward historical retelling follows the life of Evelyn Hooker, a straight White woman born in Nebraska in 1907, her studies and career in psychology, and the impact of her work to depathologize homosexuality. Some detours explain antisemitism and Hitler’s Germany (Hooker was staying with a Jewish family in Berlin at the time), the cultural context of tuberculosis, and advances in feminism predominantly benefitting White women. Hooker’s pioneering research at UCLA was pivotal in the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The story is often interrupted by a variety of poetic forms, ranging from found poems to limericks to a sonnet, which distract more than they engage. A helpful note at the beginning of this book reminds readers that, “Language is fluid, and the terminology used to describe sexual orientation has evolved over time to be more specific and respectful,” but given the era and the events described, the work uses “labels like ‘homosexual’ and ‘homosexuality’ in a historical context, and refers mostly to ‘gay people’ or ‘gay men,’ rather than the diverse array of identities we appreciate today.” On the whole, this offers helpful material for young researchers and audiences curious about LGBTQ+ history. Spot art and floral page decorations appear throughout.

Offers interesting information on a lesser-known hero. (timeline, discussion questions, ally guide, suggested reading, other resources, endnotes) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3047-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A bland offering next to the many more compelling guides available.

General advice for doing good on personal and local levels.

Following on her Simple Acts: The Busy Family’s Guide to Giving Back (2019), Silverstein proposes a limited program of “intentional acts of kindness and service, sprinkled throughout your busy everyday life,” geared to privileged teens. Along with an emphasis on collection drives to address a broad range of social needs, the author tallies fundraising ideas from bake sales to dance marathons without substantive practical tips on setting them up and perfunctorily recognizes that, yes, some young people don’t have much free time because financial necessity means they actually have to work, while promoting the value of community service as a way of raising social consciousness and doing good. She suggests turning birthdays and other celebrations into fundraisers (or…collection drives), argues that readers can “blast positive messages that can silence the perpetrator” of cyberbullying and online hate, and promotes head-shaving in support of children in chemo as a “Stretch Idea.” The text largely assumes that readers will benevolently give to others (advising that readers can establish a school diversity and inclusion board and “use this platform to give any marginalized individuals or groups a safe place to share experiences”), setting up an us-vs.-them framework (“We need to remember that we will all be in need of help one day”). Black-and-white spot art shows racially diverse human figures.

A bland offering next to the many more compelling guides available. (resources, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63198-626-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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