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Book Review: Kid Confident #3 Stress in Middle School

Title: Kid Confident #3 How to Handle Stress for the Middle School Success

Author: Silvi Guerra, PsyD

Illustrator: DeAndra Hodge

Spec Spot

What's It about?

Stress and anxiety are very real aspects of our lives, and the lives of our kids. Unfortunately, there is no guidebook to get us through it all...until now. Well, kind of. Kid Confident #3 How to Handle Stress for Middle School Success focuses on helping middle schools identify, understand and cope with stress of school and life in general through the format of a video game. Each chapter focuses one set of skills, recognizing the signs, symptoms and feelings that come with that particular struggle before offering case studies of sorts (about a paragraph long) used to practice the skills and test understanding. Then they discuss ways to handle said challenge, sometimes with visuals and other resources to check out if desired before reviewing the content of the chapter and leveling up.

Other thoughts:

I was drawn to this book as a woman who has been in therapy on and off since high school who has struggled with anxiety, depression and undiagnosed (until recently) ADHD and mother of three of which one or more struggles with their own anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, eczema in about three different combinations of one or more of these struggles. Needless to say, in my house we are always working at filling our tool boxes with as many tools to help us through the day effectively. So, obviously I knew I had to check this out as soon as I hear it existed.

Once I got my hands on this book and had a chance to flip through it, I was so excited about the format of the book. I thought that the idea of presenting it like a video game with levels instead of chapters, level ups at the end of each level, quests instead of tasks or "homework" to do in order to learn more about you and how your mind works and even "playable characters" with their own personalities to serve as our subjects for our paragraph or so long scenarios which allow the reader to see the skills learned in action and practice what they've learned. It helped to make the experience fun and less imposing and over whelming somehow.

Once I dove in and started reading, while I still really liked to format, I found that my absolute favorite thing was how Dr. Guerra explained why things actually work, which is something I didn't get with many of my therapists. It breaks down so that instead of just knowing to breath, why those deep breaths actually help rather then just completing a seemingly arbitrary action during a time of distress. (and no. It's not just to stay alive.) I can not tell you how much I appreciated that.

Truthfully, even though I'm a little older then the intended age, I learned some stuff from this book, too, and I got confirmation that I've been doing the right things myself and suggesting the recommended strategies to my daughters. I spent the majority of the book thinking that it's a book that I need to share with my daughter together, complete with completing the quests in hopes that she can successfully apply some of these methods do her school life which is such a struggle for her. When I mentioned this book to her therapist, he even agreed that I should, so guess what we're doing this summer!

In the end, in case you couldn't tell, I think this is a great book for all ages. While it is written for the intended audience of middle schoolers, these strategies are not age specific, they're great for any age, it's just written in a way to be understood to the younger audience and help them find their way through the stress of their lives rather then written for adults to understand. I truly believe that, even if they don't struggle with anxiety like we do in this house, every teacher should read this book and everyone from about 4th grade to 10th grade should, at the very least have access to it. Of course, it's no surprise that I also think parents should read it. Everyone feels stress and anxiety, it's not just something that those with diagnoses experience, which also means that everyone should have the tools to effectively cope with said stress and anxiety. After all, we all now it doesn't get easier as we grow up.


I give this book a


out of

10 experience points

But that's just what I thought. What did you think of this book? Did you hate it? Did you love it? Let us know in the comments.

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