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The Struggle to Be Strong

True Stories by Teens About Overcoming Tough Times


Jamel loses his friends to marijuana; Artiqua dates a boy of another race despite her family’s opposition. Youniqiue was abandoned by her mother; Charlene is raising her brothers and sisters because their mother is addicted to drugs; Craig is gay and worried about coming out.

All of these teens have more than their share of troubles. And all have the resiliency needed to face them, live through them, and move forward with courage, confidence, and hope.

In thirty first-person accounts, teens tell how they overcame major life obstacles. Many aren’t the everyday teen issues most kids encounter, which makes their stories especially compelling—and their successes especially inspiring.

As teens read, they discover they’re not alone in facing life’s difficulties. They learn about seven resiliencies—insight, independence, relationships, initiative, creativity, humor, and morality—that everyone needs to survive and thrive in even the toughest times. Vivid, articulate, and candid, this book will motivate readers of all ages to build the skills and strengths they need to triumph over adversity.

Ideal for teens, educators, counselors, and youth workers.

Part of Self-Help for Teens®
Free Spirit is the leading publisher of learning tools that support teens’ social-emotional health.
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Paperback $14.99 20790W Paperback 20790W $14.99

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ISBN: 978-1-57542-079-0
Reading Level: High school–adult
Interest Level: Ages 13 & up
Guided Reading Level: Z+
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Page Count: 192

Praise for Struggle to Be Strong
“Engaging, empowering testimony to today’s teens struggling to make something of themselves.”—Voice of Youth Advocates

“Easy to read and often inspiring.”—School Library Journal

“An important resource.”—Youthworker

  • Parent Council® Selection
  • Parent’s Guide Award
  • Common Core State Standards


  • ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success

    MS.1, MS.5, MS.6
    BS.LS.1, BS.LS.2, BS.LS.3, BS.LS.4, BS.LS.9
    BS.SMS.1, BS.SMS.2, BS.SMS.4, BS.SMS.5, BS.SMS.6, BS.SMS.7, BS.SMS.8, BS.SMS.9
    BS.SS.1, BS.SS.2, BS.SS.3, BS.SS.4, BS.SS.5, BS.SS.6, BS.SS.7, BS.SS.8, BS.SS.9

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How and Why to Get Students Talking (TEST)
Stick Up for Yourself 2019
Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Challenges

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