About This Book


Almost everyone hated middle school. It's a very tough time for adolescents. This "support group in a book" is specifically geared to younger teens — the ones still worrying about puberty, cliques, discovering the opposite sex, and figuring out who they are. Meant for middle school students ages eleven to fourteen, stories cover regrets and lessons learned, love and "like," popularity, friendship, tough issues such as divorce, illness, and death, failure and rising above it, embarrassing moments, bullying, and finding something you're passionate about. The stories provide emotional support, humor, and inspiration for the young teens making their way through the tumultuous middle school years.

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Five tips to get through middle school

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Madeline Clapps and Valerie Howlett

Middle school can be overwhelming. Friends change, classmates become judgmental, family relationships get complicated and doing what is right is not always easy. The contributors to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School share their stories and advice to make middle school easier. Here are five tips for surviving middle school.

1. Support your friends, even when they change. Carol Wong and her best friend did everything together in middle school, until eighth grade. Her friend, who had always cared more about getting good grades than anyone else, started caring about popularity, alcohol and skipping class. Their friendship faded when Carol’s friend rejected her for calling her out on how she had changed, and her friend’s parents made her switch schools. When she started high school, Carol’s friend wrote her a note thanking her for being a great friend. "Even though you won’t be in the same school as me from now on, at least everything is starting to go right again for you," Carol said. "That’s the best thing that can happen."

2. Make friends who like you for who you are. Jennifer Perkin became the bullies’ favorite target on her first day of middle school. Their teasing and name calling made her so miserable her grades dropped. No one was brave enough to be her friend. Jennifer started writing stories, because writing distracted her from her loneliness. One day the boy who sat next to her in class, Ricky, read one of her stories and they started talking. Jennifer ate lunch with Ricky and his friends, who liked the same books she did. "We talked about the bullies," Jennifer remembers. "We all bonded together over how hurt we were by them. We could joke around and be ourselves and not try to fit in."

3. Stand up to bullies. Helen Stein and her brother, Todd, sometimes got along. One morning before school, Todd made fun of a pimple on Helen’s nose. When some kids on the bus took Todd’s lunch, Helen found the courage to tell the bullies to give it back. As much as he annoyed her, he was still her brother. As she and Todd walked into school together, Todd said, "Hey Helen? Did you know that you look really pretty today?"

4. Spend quality time with your parents. Adam Patla’s dad had been his soccer and basketball coach since kindergarten. As Adam grew up, he and his dad got in more and more arguments on the field and on the court. Finally, in eighth grade, Adam’s dad quit coaching. At the awards ceremony at the end of the year, Adam did not know what his dad would say about him. His dad had prepared a speech, but ending up simply saying, "I am so proud of you." Adam explains, "Throughout those nine years, even though I said I hated him and didn’t want him to coach… I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I felt like I had finally lived up to his expectations, but I know all along that I had, in everything I had done."

5. Learn to make good choices, even when the decision is tough. It was a Christmas tradition for Theresa and her sisters to take a picture with Santa at the mall. But in seventh grade, Theresa felt too old for their childhood routine. The picture meant a lot to her little sisters, so Theresa participated. Her mom knew Theresa felt embarrassed, and let her decided whether or not to show off the picture at the Christmas party. Again, Theresa decided that she wanted to make her little sisters happy. "Maybe learning to make good decisions is the real meaning of being a big-cheese seventh grader, even though sometimes decisions are hard," Theresa writes. "And sometimes the right decision isn’t always the one you want to make or even the one that’s most comfortable, it’s just the one that’s right."

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