Think for Yourself: A Kid’s Guide to Solving Life’s Dilemmas and Other Sticky Problems, by Cynthia MacGregor

Think for Yourself: A Kid’s Guide to Solving Life’s Dilemmas and Other Sticky Problems. By Cynthia MacGregor.  Illustrated by Paula Becker.  Lobster Press, 2008.  142 pages. $14.95

Content: Ethical dilemmas start when we’re young.  What to write in a thank you note to the aunt who sent you a sweater you hate?  What to say to a friend who wants to copy your math test?  What to do when you suspect a classmate might try to hurt himself?  These and many more dilemmas are included in Think for Yourself.  The introduction to this book begins with a step-by-step process for analyzing problems.  Then four chapters analyze dilemmas with friends, family, grown-up, and “everyday dilemmas.”  Each dilemma is presented in narrative form.  Then the following three questions are asked and answered by the author: Why is this a dilemma?  If you think of a solution, but it isn’t a good one, what is the problem with that solution? Is there a way around the problem?  The overall themes of the book include solving dilemmas while being truthful, without lying, without hurting anyone’s feelings, and while remaining true to oneself.  Over 50 realistic dilemmas are presented in this instructive and informative book, which a young person could easily use to figure out a solution to her/his own problem.

Review: This book is a great idea.  There are so many problems which tweens have to struggle with, it is a great option to have a book to consult and gain ideas and confidence from.  There are a few issues I have with the book.  Firstly, even though the title is, “Think for yourself,” there is a lot of advice and reference to what the right thing to do it.  I agree with the author in most cases, but it seems a little more instructive than the title implies.  Also, there were dilemmas for which the author recommended ways to skirt the truth in order to avoid hurting people’s feelings.  I agree that hurting people’s feelings is not ideal and avoiding hurting people’s feelings is a good thing to do, but basically she was advising readers to tell “white lies,” she says, “…technically you’re not lying,” and that made me uncomfortable.  I would have hoped for a better approach.  Otherwise, the book provides solid, sound information and could really help a confused, torn tween or teen.

Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Reading/Interest Level: 8-14 years

Available in: Paperback

ISBN: 978-1897073902

Similar Books: What Do You Stand For? For Kids: A Guide to Building Character; Speak Up and Get Along!: Learn the Mighty Might, Thought Chop, and More Tools to Make Friends, Stop Teasing, and Feel Good About Yourself; 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

Subjects: problem solving, ethics, ethical dilemmas, friendship, families, honesty

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