From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens


During my preteen years I had a wonderful best friend. She and I had been friends since we were toddlers and we spent hours on the phone every day after school. She was the most popular girl in our whole grade but she was really nice — a NICE popular girl, not a MEAN popular girl.

Everyone copied whatever my friend did. I remember in sixth grade I bought a pair of shoes, in black. My friend loved them and bought them for herself, but in navy blue. By the next week, all the girls in our class were wearing those same shoes, but in navy blue! I remember being disappointed that I had started the trend but that all the girls had bought the shoes in blue instead of black because that was the color my friend chose.

Four decades later, that seems pretty silly and unimportant, but since I still remember it, I guess it was pretty important to my eleven-year-old self. I reconnected with my old friend a few years ago — she had moved 2,000 miles away but I was able to find her through the Internet — and I told her that story and also commented on the fact that she had been the most popular girl in our grade for years. If there was a boy we all had crushes on, that boy would end up liking her; if she bought milk in the cafeteria, the other girls would buy milk too...

Guess what? My friend was shocked. She had no idea that she had been popular and that all the girls had copied everything she did and that the cutest boys liked her. She had actually been just as insecure as all the rest of us! That was a real eye opener for me and I thought that I would pass it along to you.

I think it is safe to say that almost every single preteen kid is insecure about something, whether it is looks, or sports ability, or schoolwork, or friends, or clothing, or just knowing what is cool. Being a preteen can be tough. Your bodies are starting to change and sometimes that is embarrassing and even scary. Your schoolwork is getting harder. Your parents are giving you more responsibilities. Your friends are changing too, and sometimes you end up joining a new group of friends, or switching best friends. Boys and girls start to notice each other and that can be scary and fun and embarrassing at the same time.

The preteen years can be an awkward time but they are lots of fun and exciting too. That’s why we have made you this book. Think of it as a guidebook for your preteen years. You’ll read stories written by older kids and adults who vividly recall their preteen years — the good and the bad times — and these people share their experiences with you so that you know that you are not alone. Millions of other boys and girls feel the same way as you do, and they are going through the same changes as you too!

We hope you will view this book as a portable support group for preteens, like another friend you can turn to. You might want to encourage your parents to read it also — it will help them to remember their own preteen years and better understand what is going on in your life these days!

Enjoy the book! Our editor Madeline Clapps and I loved making it for you, and we hope you will love reading it.

~Amy Newmark

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