INTRODUCTION

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

Introduction

At a certain time, between the ages of nine and twelve, experiences seem to be extra hard. It’s like being half into dolls and half into makeup. For girls, every little thing you say seems to make us cry—most of all, comments about clothes, boys and weight. The boys I know try to hide their feelings, but they seem to have most of the same problems. I am eleven years old, and I have nearly all of these troubles. When I try to be grown-up, people tell me I’m too young. When I do something wrong, people tell me to grow up. I don’t understand. I guess we’re always going to be too big for some things, and too young for others. That’s just how the world is. Relax, it’s just your preteen years.

Michelle Richard

The preteen years are the true age of personal empowerment—old enough to move, shake and change the world and too young to be caught up in the belief that it can’t be done.

At the same time, the onset of puberty creates mood swings, hormone surges and a growing interest in the opposite gender. While you are facing these physical and emotional changes, events like divorce, changing friendships, permanent loss due to the death of a loved one, and moving or having a close friend move can be extra difficult during these already challenging years.

In addition to all of these issues, you are also filled with questions—questions about your place in the world, your beliefs, who you are and how you fit in to the greater scheme of things, as this poem written by Megan Brown, age twelve, addresses:

Sometimes I wonder if we all see the same colors.
Or if someone is colorblind and they just don’t know it!

What’s beyond our universe?
I wonder if there are other worlds.

Is there a heaven? I know there is, but . . . really is there?

I wonder if when we sleep,
Our dreams are actual places we are going to.

I think we may be living in someone’s dream right now.
I think that mirrors lie.

What are we?

Since the publication of Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul in 1998, we have received thousands of letters from kids all over the world who read and loved our book. You shared with us the joys and sorrows of your lives, how our book had touched you in some way, and an overwhelming amount of gratitude to us for creating a book where you could turn for support.

For the most part, you referred to yourselves as preteens:

I’m twelve years old, and in my opinion, it’s one of the toughest times in anyone’s life. We are just at the age when we’re no longer kids, but not yet teenagers. We want to have rights and responsibilities, and yet we’re not ready to accept the roles of adults. At times, we want to be grown-up. But, at others, we want to be a two-year-old again, without any worries other than when we’re going to have to take a nap! Some may consider thirteen to be the age of a teenager, but I personally think we’re still preteens until about the age of fourteen. So for all those preteens out there, who are going through the same mood swings, feelings and thoughts, who are struggling to push into the role of a teenager— enjoy every millisecond of your life, and don’t grow up too fast. And remember, you’re NOT alone.

Aubrey Nighswander, twelve

And requests such as this came in:

  I am a young reader of your books. I really like them. But I have noticed that you do not have Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul. I am eleven years old and the kid’s version seems too young for me, while the teenager’s book is too old for me. I would really like to see a book for kids ten to twelve on the bookshelves. I’m sure other kids my age who have read your books feel the same way I do.

Kristi Lafree, eleven

Even though this sequel to Kid’s Soul was intended for readers between the age of nine and thirteen, we now realize that you simply think of yourselves as not really kids, but not yet teenagers. As a result, A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul was renamed Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul.

Some issues that were addressed in Kid’s Soul are looked at from another angle in Preteen Soul, plus stories that touch on other issues such as the growing need to resolve the threat of violence, both on our school campuses and our world in general.

Within our book, we have included many different hotline numbers and Websites to give you information and support about issues that may trouble you and to help you begin the healing process that you might desperately need.

May the stories, introductions and quotes from our contributing and celebrity authors who took the time and effort to inspire you be blessings to you.

Should you feel alone and have no one to confide in, may there be stories that comfort you and show you that you are not alone.

If a friend turns away and betrays you, may you see that you are deserving of a friend who is loyal and kind, and may you find that friend.

Should your grandparent, parent or friend depart this world for good, may you find a way to always celebrate their lives and hold on to the best that they gave.

If someone teases or criticizes you, may you truly believe they are the ones who have the problem, not you.

May at least one story inspire you to connect with the creativity and determination that you will need to make your dreams come true.

You are unique and wonderfully created to contribute to and be a celebrated part of this world. Grab it and run with it. Make this world a better place than it was when you came into it. Laugh often. Love and be loved. Enjoy your preteen years. They go by in a flash.

Above all, be blessed.

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