Vicious: True Stories by Teens About Bullying
Rage: True Stories by Teens About Anger
Pressure: True Stories by Teens About Stress
The Real Teen Voices series offers a window into the lives of inner-city teens. In these books — Vicious, Pressure, and Rage — teen writers open up to tell personal stories that tackle difficult, real-life issues related to bullying, stress, and anger. The essays were written by teens in an intensive writing program at Youth Communication, a nonprofit organization in New York City that helps marginalized youth develop their full potential through reading and writing.
The essays in Vicious: True Stories by Teens About Bullying address every type of bullying: physical, verbal, relational, and cyber. These writers experience cruelty and hurt—Kiara and her friends are terrorized by a cyberbully, Jeremiyah is attacked for being gay, and Elie fights back so hard against bullying he becomes a bully himself—but their essays reveal resilience. Also included, a therapist offers tips on what adults can do to help stop bullying.
“Gay on the Block” by Jeremiyah Spears
Harassed for being gay, Jeremiyah finds ways to maintain his self-worth
“A Place to Belong” by Lavell Pride
Lavell finds a supportive LGBTQ program that gives her the strength and courage to be herself
The teen writers in Rage: True Stories by Teens About Anger have plenty of reasons to be angry: parental abuse, street violence, peer pressure, and more. Their stories express rage honestly, but also show examples of anger management for teens. Read stories like “Ready to Fight” from Joseph, who was physically and sexually abused, but whose rage subsides when he finds a foster mom who respects him, and Shateek, who learns to channel his anger into success on the wrestling mat. He writes, “When my grandmother died and I was taken from my family, I felt like I was the only person in the world; I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I got in to a lot of trouble in school because I wasn’t able to control my anger . . . Wrestling taught me how to control my anger on and off the mat, and I was happy I could fight without getting in trouble for it.”
“Taming My Anger” by Tray T.
Being gay in foster care has taken Tray’s struggles to a whole new level, but with the help of staff members at his group home, Tray finds less destructive ways to deal with his emotions.
In Pressure: True Stories by Teens About Stress, stress hits teens from all angles—at school, at home, and in their relationships. The essayists describe how stress has affected them and how they persevere through it, for example, Ashunte writes poetry to cope with the mental strain of being abused, and Ngan-Fong teaches herself to enjoy the moment, instead of pushing herself so hard to succeed that she never feels happy. The book includes tips and techniques for stress relief.
“Tears of a Clown” by Eugene Han
Eugene’s carefree persona masks the pain of a childhood burdened by adult responsibilities, including an incarcerated mother and coming to terms with his sexuality.
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