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Nicola Morgan is an international speaker and award-winning author for and about teenagers. She has written nearly 100 books, including novels such as Fleshmarket (currently being adapted for the London stage) and Mondays are Red, but in the last twelve years she has become increasingly well known for her passionate factual work on adolescence, with Blame My Brain - The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed and The Teenage Guide to Stress being seminal titles for teenagers and the adults who work with and care about them. A former teacher and dyslexia specialist, Nicola now writes and speaks around the world on a range of subjects relating to adolescence and wellbeing, as well as the reading brain, reading for pleasure and the effects of life online. Her positive, respectful and empathetic attitude towards young people naturally led her to write Positively Teenage.
This is a book that was inspired by the issues teens were facing as a result of the lockdowns and lack of contact with peers and school. Nicola Morgan, known for her no-nonsense very approachable way with incredibly difficult and important subjects for teenagers set herself the task of writing this very readable guide to growing their own resilience. The pandemic was not a situation any one person could control – but this book sets out lots of strategies for dealing with whatever the world throws at you – be it pandemic, personal crisis, or just navigating that difficult time we call teenage! The book is arranged into five specific areas that will work in different combinations for individuals. Not every reader will need every section, but there is definitely something in here for everyone. Reading this book will give everyone a set of tools – whether to build your personal network, or in coping strategies or other areas with an approach that uses character studies, simple activities, as well as giving lots of space and time for reflection on what has been read. Knowing Nicola is an expert on the teenage brain and mental health you know the subject is well researched and based on the latest scientific research. The topic I had not encountered before in any other book was the idea of ‘heartsong’ and knowing what your heartsong is. Heartsong is defined by Nicola as a feeling of joy, of satisfaction, of fulfilment, of happiness – different from well-being – a positive emotion just for the individual. It’s the ‘I’m glad I did that’ of life. I’m glad I read this – and I know just the right person who will value this, too. Meanwhile, every school with teenagers in it should have this book available in multiple copies for their students – so many will get benefit from it.
With the award winning success of previous titles such as Blame My Brain, The Teenage Guides to Stress, Friends, and Life Online and Positively Teenage, Nicola Morgan has well established credentials with teachers, parents, librarians and young people for calm, authoritative, well researched guidance and this new title may be her most important yet. We live in the age of the image and young people are constantly exposed both to images of perfection and to critical responses to their own images. Anybody of any age can suffer from negative body image and Nicola admits that writing this book helped her, just as reading it will help many adults I am sure. But adolescence is when humans are most vulnerable and exposed to a “perfect storm” of changes to bodies, feelings, environment and expectations and so they are the ones that need this guidance most. Nicola has also produced some extensive teaching notes to accompany the book on her website www.nicolamorgan.com. The book is divided into two sections: All in the Mind and Making Your Body Brilliant. Body image is created by your mind and the first section explains how this works, how negative patterns can develop and tackles topics like gender, sexuality, body dysmorphic disorder, social media and cultural differences. Every chapter includes Body Boost suggestions- techniques to help you think more positively as well as a fantastic summary and lists of resources to find out more and including fiction reading suggestions (Nicola is a tremendous advocate for what she terms Readaxation) The next section is full of practical ways to keep your brilliant body healthy, strong and looking its best to enable you to achieve your dreams. Full of quotes and engaging human stories and told in a completely non-patronising manner, this is an essential purchase for classrooms and school libraries.
With comforting clarity, this thorough guide provides vital insight into all aspects of friendship, and also offers support and solutions for navigating one’s way through worries and difficulties. While there are many excellent books aimed at guiding young people through their teenage years, this book’s focus on friendship makes it uniquely invaluable. It places much emphasis on understanding emotions, personality types and behaviours, both one’s own, and those of others. I particularly loved how friendship is framed in the context of being a fundamental human characteristic – “humans are, by nature, social animals”, “we have created lots of ways of supporting each other, through various sorts of friendships.” The book comprehensively covers how to make good friends, toxic friendships, dealing with social media and bullying, developing empathy, and managing stress and anxiety. The personality quizzes are perfect for nurturing self-awareness, inviting readers to explore, for example, if they might be too anxious, how empathetic they are, whether they’re more introvert or extrovert. Both enlightening and practical, this is a must-read for 12+ year olds, and an essential addition to school libraries.
Teenagers and their parents will find much to fascinate them in this updated edition of Nicola Morgan’s skilful, non-scientists explanation of the complex and specific science that makes teenagehood such a specific period of growing up. New research has revealed even more about the workings of the brain and it appears that teenagers are wired somewhat differently. That’s especially true when it comes to sleep – as all parents of teens know well! It is also true in regard to the taking of risks and to the taking of stimulants. Tests and quizzes and lots of illustrations support the scientific but jargon free text.
The vulnerability of adolescents who want to belong is sharply captured in this scary story of Matildaâ€™s terrifying encounter with a dangerous cult. Working on a fruit farm, Matilda feels sheâ€™s found a way of life that allows her to escape from the protection of her parents and their expectations. But thereâ€™s something very sinister that Matilda overlooks before itâ€™s almost too late for her to pull out.