Book Reviews

From a homeschooling parent:

I Am Awesome! A Healthy Workbook for Kids is a wholesome and well-rounded introduction to the six areas of maturity which the author, Mary Richards, has chosen to include in her book.  It gives the owner an organized opportunity to research many areas of interest or need, or something they’ve never thought about before.  I can see where it could be an excellent tool in a counseling situation, where the young person can be aided in setting personal goals for growth or possible healing.  Although this workbook would not replace a health curriculum, it could be a supplementary project for tweens and young teen students, both boys and girls.  And, even though not Christian- related in its overall verbiage, it is open-ended enough that any young person can make this book their own by what they choose to write.  -Colleen Busch, 25 years of homeschooling experience

From a psychologist:

As an educator and child and family therapist I am exceptionally pleased to know that I Am Awesome is being offered as a resource for our youth and their families. Through years of teaching and working through these activities with her students, Ms. Richards has compiled page after page of pertinent health and wellness concepts and activities. Plus, her dynamic and engaging teaching style comes through in her writing as she talks directly to her readers.  I Am Awesome is a health and wellness activity workbook that can be used not only by an individual, but also with parent interaction/guidance.  I also see it as a wonderful resource for educators and facilitators working with youth and groups in a multitude of different settings    –Carolynn R. Hamilton, Ph.D. Psychologist

From a science educator:

This book is not only awesome; this is it! Finally we have an effective and enduring resource for in and out of school use. As a life science researcher and educator with a wealth of experience in grades kindergarten through college, I have reviewed abundant health education curricula. Many also purport to “build character,” but they all end up gathering dust on the shelf. This workbook will engage and guide youth in a comprehensive search for identity. While directing her attention to middle school kids, Ms. Richards speaks to all who aspire to lifelong growth  and development.  -Jacqueline B. Rojas, Ph.D. Science Education

From a 5th grade boy:

I like how I can make lists and fill in the pages and come back to it later. I think the breakingbad habits section will help me a lot. This book asks a lot of good questions. This book is awesome! I want to start filling it out now!   -Logan, age 10, grade 5

From Logan’s father who is also a teacher:

As a teacher, we’re told about how important it is to show that our students are learning. This book truly educates the whole child. As a parent, this book helps guide me in all parts of my child’s growth, and provides tools for us to be successful. -Joe, Middle School Language Arts/ Social Studies

From a social worker:

As a social worker I work with at-risk families daily. Educating and providing parents with tools is very important in not only helping with attachment to their children, but also breaking generational cycles of unhealthy behaviors (i.e. abuse, neglect) within the family dynamic. I am Awesome takes a holistic approach in helping our youth and gives us yet another tool as parents, educators, and society in general, in helping to raise & protect the most precious things to us, our children. I am excited to not only use it with my own children but with the families/parents I work with. What a user-friendly and great resource this workbook truly is!   -Shelly Barr, QMHA

From a 6th grade girl:

My favorite subjects in the book are: My Relationships, because it reminded me of where I came from, who loves me, and who surrounds me; Inspirational Thoughts for (My) Personal Maturity–I love how it makes me look into myself, and evaluate my actions; My Skills and Talents—This shows me what I have in my knowledge and how I can teach others.   -Jorja, age 11, grade 6

From Jorja’s mother:

I love the book because it focuses on children’s’ personal achievements and goals, and has them look into themselves as individuals. It also teaches kids life lessons, not academic lessons, but at the same time helps them focus on how to achieve academically! Also, this book helps educate kids about who they are…and how they learn as a person and grow! Great Book!!   -Cindy, Dental Hygienist, and parent of Jorja

From Kirkus Review:

A fun debut workbook to help tweens and teens develop self-esteem, created by former health and physical education instructor Richards.

The author draws on more than 40 years of experience educating middle school children, and her book offers chapters on developing six types of maturity:  personal, emotional, physical, social, intellectual, and ethical.  Each one opens with a three- to four-paragraph definition and description of that chapter’s topic.  Several activities follow that allow children to explore that topic in depth, including quizzes, fill-in-the-blank games, and graphs.  The author also gives readers the opportunity to draw pictures, record personal experiences, and more.  One activity, “Adult Interview,” provides a list of questions for children to ask parents or guardians about their early lives, including, “What would you change about your childhood?”  The fun activity pages are designed so that readers can easily put them down and resume them later without confusion.  After the interactive portion, Richards provides a page of “inspirational thoughts” on the topic, encouraging introspection and introducing children to authors, philosophers, and historical figures (including Samuel Johnson, Maya Angelou, Winston Churchill, Pablo Picasso, and many others) that they may encounter later in their education.  Richards quotes Mother Teresa in the chapter on ethical maturity:  “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put into the doing.”  Finally, each chapter concludes with suggestions for goals that children may set for themselves (such as researching a topic of particular interest, keeping a reading log, or reading aloud to preschool children), strategies for accomplishing them, and graphs to chart their progress.  The book doesn’t contain any large blocks of text, which will appeal to readers of all levels.  The colorful illustrations and graphics enhance the work but seem more appropriate for children at the lower end of the recommended 8-14 age range.  Younger teens may say the workbook is “uncool” but secretly like it;  tweens, however, will adore it, and even adults may benefit from its recommendations.  Richards presents the concepts, which may be new to younger readers, in a clear, easily understood manner without condescension or preaching.  With some explanation by adults, the workbook could even function as a read-aloud for younger children.  In general, it’s an excellent way to encourage reflection in kids of all ages.

A well-crafted resource for youngsters and anyone else interested in personal self-improvement.






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