Time To De-Stress and Take Charge | New Titles

New books provide students with techniques to manage stress and to take charge of their lives.
Summer offers many of us the opportunity to slow down, de-stress, and address whatever we may have been neglecting during the school year—including family and friends. But come August or September it's fast forward again, navigating new schedules, new classes, and new expectations. The selection of books below will provide students with suggestions and techniques to manage stress and to take charge of their lives throughout  the year. ALLEN, David, Mike Williams & Mark Wallace. Getting Things Done for Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World. 304p. diag. glossary. illus. index. Penguin. Jul. 2018. pap. $16. ISBN 9780143131939. Gr 9 Up—The YA adaptation of Allen's 2001 self-help book offers high school students step-by-step directions on how to organize personal and academic projects to achieve their goals. Divided into three sections, the book explains how to categorize information in five steps, describes different levels of focus necessary to evaluate situations, and outlines a planning map to tackle projects. Enough white space is left on each page so readers won't feel overwhelmed with too much text. Although the graphics are silly (the amygdala portion of the brain that controls the fight or flight response is depicted as a cartoon monkey nicknamed Myggy), the simple charts effectively illustrate Allen's methodology for visual learners. The examples used, which include filling out college applications and preparing for sports tryouts, reflect teenage experiences. The "Questions for Thought or Discussion" at the end of each chapter encourage active learning, and the book contains only a few sections for writing. Since it's a self-help book, not a workbook, librarians shouldn't worry that teens will scribble in it. The author's advice will inspire readers, but he doesn't talk down to them. He acknowledges that the toughest challenge today's youth face is blocking out the constant digital connectivity that prevents them from concentrating on important tasks. The activities and checklists here will help teens increase productivity and decrease stress. VERDICT Highly recommended for overwhelmed teens who want to streamline their to-do lists.—Amy Duffy, Chicago Public Library ANDRUS, Aubre with Karen Bluth. Project You: More Than 50 Ways To Calm Down, De-Stress, and Feel Great. illus. by Veronica Collignon. 160p. photos. websites. Switch Pr. Sept. 2017. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781630790912. Gr 8 Up–The authors have designed a self-help book for students interested in ways to combat the everyday stresses of school, family, and friends. The authors suggest that reading the book cover to cover is not necessary; teens can just pick whatever soothing activity appeals to them most. The projects include meditating, creating a nature journal, doing yoga, drinking tea, getting some sun, starting a gratitude journal, smiling, volunteering, and writing thank you notes. Each idea is presented with an explanation of why that activity reduces stress. An inspiring quotation is provided at the end of each short chapter. The book is filled with photographs and drawings of teenage girls and completed projects. Various fonts, colors, and geometric designs are used throughout, making the book visually attractive. VERDICT Suited for a variety of different personality types, this guide to relaxing is great for independent and group use.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Avondale, LA CHOPRA, Mallika. Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement, and More. illus. by Brenna Vaughan. 128p. bibliog. ­Running Pr. Aug. 2018. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780762491582. Gr 3–8–A comprehensive and approachable guide to managing stress and understanding one's body and mind through meditation. Directed at middle graders, the book presents specific practices and meditations to calm breath and slow down thoughts. The introduction endorses an accessible, flexible approach at meditation for beginners, with an emphasis on doing what is most comfortable. The book is divided into six different sections and presents a refreshingly wide variety of actions, from sleeping and breathing exercises to being aware of the taste of food to reflecting on gratefulness. Each meditation is described in simple, easy-to-follow steps, along with the time needed and ideal location to complete the exercise ("a dark room," "a quiet place"). While this book is written for young people, counselors and caregivers seeking meditation activities will also find this guide useful. Color illustrations of children engaged in mindful activities are sprinkled throughout and instruct readers on how to position themselves. VERDICT A solid addition to collections in need of meditation and mindfulness titles for tweens.—Kathryn Justus, Renbrook School, West Hartford, CT GATES, Mariam. This Moment Is Your Life (and So Is This One): A Fun and Easy Guide to Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga. illus. by Libby VanderPloeg. 248p. further reading. notes. websites. Dial. May 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399186622. Gr 7 Up–Gates offers an extensive guide focusing on mindfulness, meditation, and yoga as weapons to combat the daily stress young people may endure. The author does a thorough job of explaining the physical and mental toll stress can take. In addition, she recommends and describes certain exercises that help one cope with such anxiety. Each component encourages participation in either physical exercises, mental journaling, or, at times, listening to relaxing music. The variety of subjects can be accessed by looking for a specific topic. However, readers may notice some repeated information if read from beginning to end. Overall, Gates’s attention to detail has a way of making stress seem manageable. In addition, readers who enjoyed the format of Karen Rayne’s GIRL: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You will appreciate this title. VERDICT For general purchase for middle and high school collections.—Jeni Tahaney, Summit High School, Manfield, TX KAY, Katty & Claire Shipman with JillEllyn Riley. The Condience Code For Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self. illus. by Nan Lawson. 320p. further reading. notes. websites. HarperCollins/Harper. Apr. 2018. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780062796981. Gr 5–8–A book for self-effacing readers who have ever doubted their capabilities. Filled with playful illustrations, comic panels, and confidence-boosting stories, this how-to title is accessible and comprehensive. The book is broken down into three main sections: "Risk More," "Think Less," and "Be Yourself." Each segment addresses why girls, specifically, can feel unsure of themselves, how they can break out of habits that hold them back, take healthy risks, and build confidence. This is not one big pep talk. Readers will enjoy discovering more about their brains and how to handle real-life situations, from fall-outs with friends to bombing a big test, with different strategies for confidently tackling each issue. Kay, Shipman, and Riley touch on ways race, gender, culture, personal experiences, and more impact ideas about girlhood. However, not every entry is successful. A scenario where a girl named Farrah, who wears a hijab, "tries to show them [her classmates] that she is really just like they are" fails to unpack the dynamics of the situation and places the onus of healing on the person who is being marginalized rather than the students exhibiting prejudiced behavior. That said, there is much within these pages for tweens to take on big challenges with the inner resources they need. VERDICT Consider for middle school collections where guides and self-improvement titles are popular.—Ashley Fetterolf, Indian Creek Upper School, Crownsville, MD

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