Tag Archives: Teenagers

The Teenage Guide to Friends – Nicola Morgan



Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406369779
Imprint: Walker
July 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99

Nicola Morgan is a recognised expert on the teenage psyche and has already written successful and well received books. Now she turns her hand to dealing with the issue of friends and friendship.

Her engaging and conversational style will certainly appeal to the teenage readers for which this is intended but I can see it being an important resource for adults and teachers in those times of addressing this topic through the medium of personal development classes (whatever these are called in your school).

Divided into sections on; making friends, peer pressure, toxic friendships, social media, conflicts and personality types, there are quizzes and interactive exercises which would be perfect for either the individual or as discussion starters in classes and groups.

Being a teen has never been particularly easy and arguably it can be even more difficult in our contemporary society where pressures and stresses abound but a guide such as this can go a long way to helping young people examine and reflect upon their feelings and needs.

I highly recommend this for addition to your collection – perhaps several copies would be useful! – and certainly direct your staff towards it for use with those sometimes awkward or even hostile situations which can arise when friendship groups are forming.


Pretty Girls Don’t Eat – Winnie Salamon



Ford St Publishing

Jul 2017


AUD$17.95, NZD$22.99


“Body image is one of the top concerns for young people in Australia right now,” Dr Vivienne Lewis, associate professor and clinical psychologist at the University of Canberra told The Huffington Post Australia. November 2016


Eating disorders are estimated to affect approximately 9% of the Australian population.


Eating disorders are common in young people, especially in female adolescents and young women, although males can also be affected (1). In their lifetime, about 0.3% of adolescents aged 13 to 18 years have anorexia nervosa (same % for males and females), 0.9% have bulimia nervosa (males 0.5%; females 0.9%), and 1.6% have a binge-eating disorder (males 0.8%; females 2.3%) (2).


With statistics like the above Pretty Girls Don’t Eat is a very timely book which will empower young people to approach their own body image more positively and illustrates the potential dangers of eating disorders.

That being said it is in no way ‘preachy’. Winnie Salamon has written a beautiful warm and engaging narrative that will have a great appeal because of its inherent readability.

Sixteen year old Winter is a highly talented fashion designer and sewer. She is also very smart and very funny. She is also deeply disturbed by her size. Living in a dysfunctional family with a mother obsessed with her own body it is no wonder that Winter has taken on board the feeling of guilt and shame she carries around. While her two best friends – slender and stunning Eurasian Melody and geeky and gay George – both fervently assure her she is gorgeous and support her in all she does, when Winter meets Oliver she is convinced she needs to be thinner to hold his interest. And so begins a real rollercoaster of terrible weight loss ultimately fuelled by laxatives.  Winter is adamant that she needs to be skinny to achieve her dream of working in the fashion industry and to be attractive and risks everything to be so. Fortunately, her new job with a beautiful and fat – yes, fat – independent designer goes a long way to help her begin to question her own weight loss methods. But it is not until the laxative abuse lands her in hospital and she begins to work with Rosie, a sympathetic counsellor that she really starts to heal.

Fifteen years ago I too lost a lot of weight – though not by Winter’s drastic methods – and it is exhilarating to feel that you are no longer the fattest person in the room. Yet no matter that I had lost around 25 kgs all up I still saw a fat person when I looked in the mirror so I can totally relate to Winter’s mindset.  These days I really don’t care but then I don’t have the pressures by which Winter and other young girls, particularly, are continually bombarded. We have a long way to go in this journey to convince our young people to embrace themselves for who they are and not what they look like but there are moves to do so. The link here will demonstrate an initiative that is just one way in this serious issue is being addressed. Other programs such as that supported through KidsMatter are also in place.

Well written narratives such as this one should be heavily promoted in our school libraries so that we can create positive and helpful discussions around this issue.

I highly recommend this to you for your libraries and will definitely be promoting it to my readers.


Tell it to the Moon- Siobhan Curham



Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406366150

1 Aug 2017

RRP $16.99


Readers of The Moonlight Dreamers will be delighted to receive this second book in the series – I know I was!


The four girls who formed the Moonlight Dreamers club because none of them felt like they fitted in anywhere else are back and we follow their progress through another year of their teens as they continue to face challenges and support each other.


Amber who lives with her two dads, dresses in vintage men’s clothes and is the Oscar Wilde devotee, is troubled by her feelings of lack of self-awareness. She founded the club because she felt so alone in her ‘unique-ness’ and the bullying from the OMG girls at school. The fellow dreamers helped her to realise that she’s not entirely alone but her writer’s block and the rejection from her surrogate birth mother have plummeted her into an identity crisis.


Sky’s dad needs to earn more money from his yoga teaching and can no longer afford to home school his daughter, so she is going to secondary school for the first time ever. The regimentation, the pressure, the bullying and the overload of pointless homework weighs down on her. It’s only through her poetry and meeting fellow poet Leon that she begins to see a way to ‘be free’ and help other students.


Rose has spent a week in New York with her famous father and his surfer-chick new girlfriend which wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been but created ructions back home with her super-model mother when she came out to them first. She’s been holding back on revealing her sexuality but now comes to terms with it especially when her mother starts to realise how much she has neglected her daughter in favour of her diminishing career. Her dreams of becoming the best patissier in the world are beginning to take shape but her crush on her boss is completely taking over.


Maali, the sweetest and kindest girl, faces a crisis of faith in her beloved Lakshimi and her Hindi belief when her father becomes seriously ill and the family is plunged into turmoil.


This, like the first, is beautifully written and the issues of sexuality, bullying, racism, trust and anxiety are handled sensitively and without coming across as heavy-handed.


The girls’ example of creating their own version of the ‘circle of women’ is one that many teens could well take on as inspiration as they embrace each other’s problems and give each other the loving support each needs.


Depending on the ethos of your library due to the issues and a little bit of swearing this would be a superb addition to your collection.


Highly recommended for girls from around 13 upwards.

Engaging Adolescents- Michael Hawton



Exisle Publishing

May 2017

ISBN  9781925335408

RRP $29.99

You know those shows on TV about history’s worst jobs? I reckon parenting teenagers should be heavily featured!

Yes, I’ve raised three girls – only with moderate success, doing the best I could, with what I had and lots of tantrums/screaming matches/exhausting emotions – and now, raising a granddaughter about to become a teen. (Luckily a much more placid child than her mum was!).

Michael Hawton has used his many years of experience as a psychologist, clinical expert for NSW Children’s Court and teacher of behaviour management to provide parents with a handbook for negotiating tempestuous times with teens.

This is no heavy textbook filled with psych-babble and jargon but rather a practical easy-to-read, simple guideline for navigating the storms – or indeed averting them.

Each chapter is summed up with some essential points (say what you’re going to say, say it and then say it again) so that the reader (who may be slumped in exhaustion) can set these ideas into their long term memory.  There are opportunities throughout to practise new skills and techniques and the whole is well developed with a family case study exploring three all too common issues.

My teacher head could easily relate to ideas presented but non-teachers will find it just as relatable I have no doubt.

I think that most of us would agree that our teens (and parents) are facing such a shift in societal thinking and attitudes that providing our kids with strong values and respectful relationships is arguably the most difficult it has ever been.

This is a highly recommended read and addition to your shelves – be they library for parents, your own personal or professional reading. I will certainly be sharing it with staff and parents at my own school as well as friends who are about to embark on the rollercoaster of teen-dom with their kids.

Stay posted for a Q&A with Michael on this blog – I look forward to picking his brain! In the meantime you can watch him here on Today Show Extra.