From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul


Dear Teenager,

Finally, a book for you. REALLY. This book is filled with stories that will make you laugh and make you cry. It will act as a best friend, there for you when you need it, always ready to tell you a story that will indeed make you feel better. When you are lonely it will keep you company, and when you are thinking of your future it will tell you, “YES, you can do it, whatever you set your mind to.” There are stories in here about dreams realized and loves lost; about overcoming shyness and surviving a suicide. There are stories of triumph and stories so sad that you will definitely cry. And each one speaks to you, not at you.

How to Read This Book

Read this book however you want to, from beginning to end or jumping around. If there is a particular subject that concerns you or that you have a special interest in, go there first. Latina Johnson, a high school student, wrote to us after reading the chapter on relationships:

I loved reading “Losing the ‘Us.’ ” It described everything I was going through with this boy. I definitely still have feelings for him, though.

Stephanie Chitaca wrote:

I have to say that “A Famous Father” was my favorite one. It made me realize just how meaningless our (my father’s and mine) arguments are. My father’s well-being is very important to me.

Diana Verdigan had a special connection to the story “Tigress”:

I felt the same when I had to leave my cat. No rage, no denial, no hysteria, just acceptance of the inevitable, and it cost me a lot, too. It is possible that the boy won’t have any more pets.

This is a book you never finish. It is our hope that you read it over and over, referring to it when you have a problem, or turning to it for some inspiration or guidance.

Kara Salsburg, a teenager, wrote to us about the other Chicken Soup books, “I read them over and over again. Chicken Soup for the Soul has been my most enjoyable reading experience.”

“I enjoy reading [the stories in Chicken Soup],” wrote Shannon Richard, age 14, “and I find I have a new sense of life after reading them.”

Share These Stories

We had a panel of readers grade these stories. One of them told us that by the end, she had friends come over every day after school, and they took turns reading to each other from the book.

You will find as you read this book that you just can’t keep some of these stories to yourself. You will want to share them with a friend. We have had countless reports of teenagers reading stories to each other on the phone, or staying up late with a friend “reading just one more.”

A.J. Langer, who played Rayanne on My So-Called Life, told us that she took the book with her on a camping trip, and she and her friends sat around the campfire reading to each other their favorite stories. They were so inspired (and creative) that they then wrote their own stories, which they read to each other the following night.

Teens have also told us that these stories are good at saying things that they have trouble expressing. One teen (who prefers not to be named) said:

“Please Listen” was exactly what my friend Karen needed to hear. She is my best friend, but she never listens to me, so I wrote it out and gave it to her. I just said that it was one of my favorites. I think she got the message ‘cause she started listening to me more.

This Is Your Book

It was very important to us that this book be about what you are really about. We went to great lengths to ensure that it dealt with the issues that concern you, and that it addressed those issues in an open-minded and caring way. If we felt a story was preachy or too corny we took it out.

After the students at John F. Kennedy High School helped grade the stories, we received literally hundreds of letters. It thrilled us to see that we had accomplished our goal.

This book is definitely a book I would get, not only for myself, but for my friends as well.

—Jason Martinson

If ever I would buy a book, this is the book I would buy.

—Regina Funtanilla

What I liked best were the poems. They really had a lot of meaning.

—Richard Nino

I really appreciate that you care what we [high school students] think.

—Edward Zubyk

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