Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Life Lists for Teens (Book)

Life Lists for Teens (Book) Release date: 2003. Author: Pamela Espeland. Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing. ISBN: 1575421259.

Plot summary: This book of life lists covers a variety of topics for teens, beginning with explaining why lists are useful and how to use the book. The lists are divided into chapters: health and wellness, getting along, staying safe, school and learning, going online, planning ahead, saving the world, focus on you and just for fun. The lists include a variety of information, from humor to school success to crisis hotlines. Many resources for teens are included in the lists. For example, the list entitled “14 Do’s and Don’ts for Helping a Friend Who Might Have an Eating Disorder” includes five different websites for teens to refer to when trying to learn more about eating disorders. The list called “7 Ways to Connect With Others Who Care” provides links to organizations dedicated to making a different in the world like UNICEF. Some of the lists are also simply for amusement like “The 8 Clown Commandments” and “18 Tips for Analyzing Your Handwriting.”

Critical evaluation: This book of life lists, though quite long, is full of useful, interesting and potentially life-saving information that will be beneficial for teens. The division of the lists into sections is helpful in navigating the plethora of information, as is the index. Each chapter has a mix of facts that range from amusing to serious. The first chapter about health and wellness has some lists that are not quite as important, such as “12 Serious Reasons to Laugh,” to some that are very important, like “8 Ways to Never Start Smoking,” “24 Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder” and “If You Live with Someone who Drinks too Much or Uses Drugs.” The chapter on staying safe also has resources about suicide and teen pregnancy. The benefit of having all of this information contained in one book is that it allows teens to have a go-to resource about things they may be experiencing in their lives but aren’t sure how to tackle on their own. If a teen suspects a friend has an eating disorder but isn’t sure whether they want to tell their parent about it, reading the list of warning signs could be a good way for the teen to realize that maybe they do need to get parents involved. Life Lists for Teens acts as an embarrassment buffer, allowing teens to come to their own conclusions about important topics without necessarily having to ask their parents. For any serious topics, the book also stresses the importance of getting help as soon as possible. Overall, Life Lists for Teens is a very useful and navigable book for young adults.

Reader's annotation: Need help with life? This book of lists covers everything from eating right to goal setting to convincing your parents to let you have a party.   

About the author: Pamela Espeland is the author, coauthor, ghostwriter and editor of over forty books for all ages. Her novels have been translated into nine different languages and have sold over 1.4 million copies worldwide. Some of Espeland’s titles include See You Later, Procrastinator! (2008), Life Lists for Teens (2003), Succeed Every Day: Daily Readings for Teens (2001), and Dude, That’s Rude! (Get Some Manners) (2007). Espeland is the owner of Pamela Espeland Associates, Inc. which performs a variety of literary tasks, including targeted publications for various companies, music reviews, and direct mail catalogs. Espeland lives in Minnesota with her husband and two cats. (

Genre: Non-fiction

Curriculum ties:
Life management

Booktalking ideas:
Discussion of life lists (why they’re important)
Discussion of specific issues in lists (eating disorders, suicide, depression, safe sex, drugs and alcohol, etc.)

Reading level/Interest Age:
Grade 8 and up.

Challenge issues:
Includes lists related to sexuality

Challenge counterpoints:Recommended for grade 8 and up.
Recommend parent look through lists before child.
Recommend parent discuss items on lists with child in terms of family policies and beliefs.

Reasons for inclusion:
Positive review from School Library Journal and KLIATT.  
Receiver of National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval.

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