Free Spirit Publishing 1.800.735.7323
Struggle to Be Strong 2019

The Struggle to Be Strong

True Stories by Teens About Overcoming Tough Times
Updated Edition


Otis deals with the real-life consequences of online aggression; Artiqua dates a boy of another race despite her family’s opposition. 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 had more than their share of troubles. And all have the resiliency needed to face their troubles, live through them, and move forward with courage, confidence, and hope.

In thirty first-person narratives, teen writers share how they’ve overcome obstacles in their lives. As teens read, they discover they’re not alone in facing life’s difficulties. They learn about seven resiliencies everyone needs to survive and thrive in even the toughest times:
  • insight
  • independence
  • relationships
  • initiative
  • creativity
  • humor
  • morality 
In this updated edition, new stories feature topics such as social media, gender identity, and drug addiction. A “Think About It” section at the end of each story offers questions for personal reflection or discussion. Vivid, articulate, and candid, these stories will motivate readers of all ages to build the skills and strengths they need to triumph over adversity.

Part of Self-Help for Teens®
Read More


Paperback $15.99 84600 Paperback 84600 $15.99

View where you can purchase the eBook.

ISBN: 978-1-63198-460-0
Reading Level: High school–adult
Interest Level: Ages 13 & up
Guided Reading Level: Z+
Trim Size: 6" x 9"
Page Count: 184

Praise for The Struggle to Be Strong

“Enduringly important.”—Midwest Book Review

“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

“This slim but mighty volume is a beacon of hope and good sense for young people and their counselors.”—Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., Zellerbach family professor of psychology and director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Learned Optimism and The Optimistic Child

“When I feel like whining about my hard life, I instead page through The Struggle to Be Strong. After a few paragraphs, I’ve usually gotten some much-needed perspective from Danielle, Jamel, Xavier, or one of the book’s other young writers.”—Ronnie Polaneczky, The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Struggle to Be Strong is wonderful—and so needed, as my experience is that adults are talking about youth resilience with other adults, but not nearly enough with kids themselves. This book is the best: Kids to kids.”—Nan Henderson, M.S.W., president of Resiliency In Action, Inc.

Awards for the previous edition
  • Parent Council® Selection
  • Parent’s Guide Award
  • ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success

    MS.1, MS.2, MS.5, MS.6
    BS.LS.1, BS.LS.2, BS.LS.4, BS.LS.6, 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.SMS.10
    BS.SS.1, BS.SS.2, BS.SS.3, BS.SS.4, BS.SS.5, BS.SS.8, BS.SS.9

Related Resources

Help teens make informed decisions with judgment-free information about addictive behaviors.
Leader’s Guide to The Struggle to Be Strong 2019
Mental Health Middle School and Teens Collection
Dream Up Now: The Teen Journal for Creative Self-Discovery
Speak Up and Get Along!
Fighting Invisible Tigers 2019
When a Friend Dies 2019
How and Why to Get Students Talking (TEST)
Stick Up for Yourself 2019
Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Challenges

Free Spirit’s monthly e-newsletter, Upbeat News, is full of practical tips, free downloads, and special offers. Sign up today!