A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles: Dealing with Fights, Being Left Out & the Whole Popularity Thing, by Patti Kelley Criswell

A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles: Dealing with Fights, Being Left Out & the Whole Popularity Thing. By Patti Kelley Criswell.  Illustrated by Angela Martini.  American Girl Publishing, Inc., 2003.  87 pages. $9.95

Content:  Sometimes friends can be mean.  Sometimes friends can be supportive and kind.  What kind of friend are you?  What kind of friends do you have?  Do your friends make you feel good about yourself?  Bad about yourself?  Friendships are complicated and sometimes challenging, but some friendships are worth it.  Some probably are not.  The Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles gives readers insight into identifying friendship problems and tools for resolving those problems.  From toxic and fading friendships to bullying and arguing, this book provides information about how to think about these difficult situations and how to determine what course of action feels most appropriate.  Sprinkled throughout are stories from girls who have been there; quizzes for readers, like do you speak up? and could you be a bully?; as well as tips and advice.  A great read for tween and young teen girls and those who love them.

Review: This is an important book.  With the internet providing even more avenues for people to express unfriendly feelings, A Smart Girl’s Guide, from 2003, is even more relevant today.  This books strives to be inclusive of girls who are both victims and victimizers and everyone in between.  The book includes illustrations of multicultural girls in varying states of friendship.  There are also places in the book where readers are invited to write their own thoughts about a particular topic.  With concrete tips, encouragement, and validation of many of the emotions that might arise, a girl could use this book to come up with her own resolution to a difficult friendship situation.  This book, or one like it, would be a great required reading and discussion topic for all 5th or 6th grade girls.

Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Reading/Interest Level: 9 -14 years

Available in: Paperback

ISBN: 978-1584857112

Similar Books: Stand Up for Yourself and your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way, A Smart Girl’s Guide to the Internet: How to Connect with friends, find what you need, and stay safe online, A Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle School

Subjects: friendship, bullying, problem solving, conflict, social interactions

Series Information: There are other Smart Girl’s Guides, all by American Girl Publishing, Inc.  In addition to those mentioned in the “Similar Books” above, there is a book about each of the following: manners, sticky situations, money, boys, staying home alone, parents’ divorce, parties, style, and knowing what to say

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3 Comments on “A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles: Dealing with Fights, Being Left Out & the Whole Popularity Thing, by Patti Kelley Criswell”

  1. theveryhungrybookworm says:

    As a teacher of high school freshmen, I feel like I should recommend this book to my female students! I always thought that high school was tough because I blew everything out of proportion. Now, from the adult perspective, I see that high school is just… tough.

    • I really think it has great, solid advice, I believe even many adults would benefit from it. However, I wonder if it would feel too tweeny or “young” for high schoolers, even freshmen. If any of them read it let me know what they think. If I find something similar for an older age group, I’ll let you know. Thanks for the feedback!


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