Read an Excerpt
6 Reasons We Wrote This Book
1. Now that the world is completely wired, there are more choices and opportunities—and information—available to almost everyone. Making lists is a way of organizing information, a skill everyone needs in order to participate in today’s action-packed world.
2. We wanted you to read about the lives of other people in the hope that this will make you sensitive to their experiences—and their cultures. So we’re hoping that when you read this book, you’ll pay special attention to the lists that don’t apply to you. You may not have a fear of public speaking, but some people do. Read the list called “14 Tips if You’re Nervous About Public Speaking” on page 177 to find out what life is like for them. Maybe it will change how you behave during lectures and speeches.
3. Our previous book, The Book of Lists for Kids, which was first published in 1985 and reissued in 1995 and 2002, has been a popular book for kids from 9 to 12. This book addresses the next group up—teens—and covers subjects that are more relevant to the many new experiences that await you.
4. We believe that Truth and Fun are central in our lives. So we’ve included plenty of both.
5. We know that, as a teen, you are busy and stressed. Yet there’s so much you need to remember to cope with it all. This book dispenses with the lectures and tells you only the stuff you need to know.
6. For the money—although it’s hard to believe that we got paid to have this much fun!
9 Reasons to Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is easy. You can use anything from a cheap notebook to a fancy leather volume that comes with a key you wear around your neck for safekeeping. Regardless, you need only follow three rules. Write freely and honestly, and don’t worry if your entry doesn’t make sense. Make it a habit to write something every single day, even if you think nothing happened that day. Finally, make sure it’s kept as private as you want it to be, so you always feel safe saying anything.
1. Your journal won’t talk back to you, criticize, or get bored with anything you say. It doesn’t forget your birthday, lose your phone number, or invite you to the mall and then decide to go to a movie instead. It’s always there for you, and it’s always on your side. Keeping a journal lets you express your feelings without having anyone judge you.
2. Even if your life may not seem very exciting now, you’ll love having a record of it later on, when you’ve forgotten so many details that you now take for granted. Imagine your grandchildren, 50 years from now, reading about what it’s like to go to a movie. (Do you think we’ll have movie theaters in 50 years?) A journal is a living part of history.
3. If you write honestly, you’ll be able to go back and read entries that will help you learn from your mistakes. At troublesome times you can look back and see what went wrong. Do the kids you want to hang out with ignore you? If your journal has entries in which you’ve bad-mouthed these people, maybe you don’t really want them for friends. If everything you write about seems sad and negative, maybe you have an attitude problem you should think about. You can use your journal to solve problems.
4. Your journal will be a record of your best memories, and you will always have access to events that may seem unforgettable now but that do fade with time. It will be fun to look back one day and relive your first date, your graduation, or how it felt to see your pet for the first time.
5. You will learn things about yourself. If you write down everything—your dreams, your problems and their solutions, even gifts you’ve given and received—you will be able to use your journal to see patterns in your behavior. If you always seem to be troubled around school vacations, maybe you need to plan ahead and think about how you really want to spend that time. If you find repeated nasty comments about someone who’s supposed to be your friend, there are probably some issues you need to talk about together. And if all your entries seem general and boring, maybe you’re not paying attention to everything that’s going on around you.
6. Write about your favorite people. Talk about their special qualities and what you learn from them. What’s your grandfather really like? What is it about Aunt Jane that makes you so happy when you know she’s coming to visit? These people may not always be in your life. Your journal entries will keep their memories alive.
7. A shared journal is one that you and a friend write together—you take turns making entries. It can be an exciting way to explore a relationship. It’s easiest to do online in a file you can both call up, bbut if that’s not possible, passing a book back and forth and making copies of the pages from time to time so you both have complete sets also works.
8. A journal allowwwwws you to experiment. Have you ever thought of expressing yourself in poetry? You can try it in your journal, and if you think it’s a complete failure, no one but you ever has to know about it. Try sketching some of your thoughts or even writing them in another language.
9. You can use it to give people messages. If you’re dying for a new computer but are afraid to ask your parents, leave your diary open to the page where you talk about all the great educational benefits of having it. This can also work if you want your little brother to know how you really feel about his geeky behavior. Of course, you can’t guarantee that they won’t also read the stuff about you and you-know-who!
7 Ways to Make Sure Your Private Journal Stays That Way—Private!
1. Disguise your diary as something else. A bright pink leatherbound book with DIARY emblazoned in gold is going to attract attention. A simple notebook like the one you use for school won’t.
2. Don’t make journal entries when other people are around. Write in private so you don’t arouse curiosity.
3. Don’t leave it lying around and then complain when your brother posts your secrets on the Internet. Even if everyone in your family is trustworthy, your journal should remain between you and yourself.
4. If you hide the book, don’t always hide it in the same spot. Switch hiding places from time to time.
5. Get a book that has a lock and wear the key around your neck.
6. Keep your journal on your computer in a specially protected file.
7. Respect the privacy of others, and ask for the same consideration in return.
10 Ways to Stay Safe at Concerts
Going to concerts with friends can be great fun, but dangers abound, and for this reason parents will often hold out on this privilege as long as they can. Maybe they’ll feel more confident if you let them know you’re aware of the following guidelines:
1. Always tell your parents which concert you are going to and who you’ll be with. Make sure you have a ticket with an assigned seat.
2. Go with a friend and stay with your friend the whole time. If one of you has to go to the bathroom, you should both go. If the crowd is dense, hold hands so that you can stay together. Choose a place to meet if you get separated.
3. Get to the concert early enough so that you can find your seat while the place is still well lit. But don’t get there so early that there’s nothing to do for three hours except hang out in the parking lot.
4. If you find yourself in a crowd that begins to surge in one direction, don’t resist it, but as soon as you can, find your way out.
5. If you’re being harassed or followed or if you’ve attracted attention you don’t want, don’t be shy about asking security people for help. If no uniformed personnel are close by, ask a responsible-looking adult to help you.
6. Drink water to keep yourself hydrated. Take a water bottle to the show.
7. If you get hurt, go to the security area and ask them to write a report, even if you think the accident is minor or might have been your fault.
8. Have enough money to pay for a taxi to take you home if your ride fails you. Also take the phone number of a taxi company. Make sure you have change for phone calls or a phone card.
9. Don’t accept drinks or refreshments from people you don’t know.
10. If you’re the only one doing something at a concert (like standing on your seat or singing along), you’re probably being annoying. Stop it—it just attracts the kind of negative attention you don’t need.
10 Tips for Raising Well-Adjusted Parents
1. Encourage their good behavior. On those rare occasions when they do something right, reward them—offer to stay home and babysit while they stay out way past curfew. Remember that if they get the idea they can’t please you, they’ll stop trying all together.
2. Don’t be overly critical. Parents have feelings too. When you correct their behavior, try to add a compliment about something nice they’ve done lately. They respond positively to the words “thank you.”
3. Try to conceal your disgust. If you must be out in public with them, walking 10 feet behind them will only draw more attention to your plight. Instead, walk with them and show the world how bighearted you really are. Only a truly confident person would allow themselves to be seen with losers.
4. Be consistent. If your style is to talk on the phone for four hours each day after school, don’t suddenly decide to do your homework first and use your phone time before you go to bed. This will only confuse them.
5. Don’t try to teach them more than one new thing at a time. They are easily overwhelmed and will shut down if you feed them more information than they can process at once.
6. Keep an eye on them. You never really know what they’re up to, so it’s a good idea to spend time with them now and then just to see what’s on their minds. This is also a good time to reinforce any point you have been trying to make lately.
7. Never let them see you sweat. If you lose your cool, you lose your power. Where parents are concerned, indifference is your greatest weapon. If they’re having temper tantrums and laying down all sorts of ridiculous rules, don’t argue. Don’t show any reaction at all. This drives them nuts. When they’re finished, calmly suggest that it might be better to have this discussion when they’re feeling more rational.
8. Show, don’t tell. Parents can be really stupid, and yes, they need everything spelled out for them. So if you want them to think of you as someone other than a 10-year-old, you have to act grown up around them so they really get the picture. They need to see you completing your schoolwork, doing your chores, and generally acting like you’re in charge of yourself. This is the only way they will “get it.”
9. Make it appear as though they’re not really losing the battle. Make it a win- win situation by giving them a point for every few you win. If they finally caved in and gave you permission to go to the mall, offer to pick up something that they need. Or, once in a while, if they agree to let you stay out past curfew, come home early anyway. Try to give them the impression that being responsible is actually important to you.
10. Never give up. Your parents have a very short attention span, so it’s important to make your point many times. Letting them see you treat your bratty sister lovingly once isn’t going to do the trick; they need to see this behavior many times before they come to understand it. Hang out with them and campaign every chance you get. Talk to them at breakfast, call them from school, show up for dinner. Let them know that the only way they will get rid of you is by giving you what you want.
11 Foods to Eat Before a Test
These foods won’t make you smarter, but studies show they can help keep you alert by fighting the effects of carbohydrates (candy, bread, sugar), which tend to make you more calm or sleepy.
1. Fish 2. Turkey breast 3. Skim milk 4. Low-fat yogurt 5. Lean beef 6. Nuts, especially peanuts 7. Broccoli 8. Apples 9. Pears 10. Peaches 11. Grapes
6 Benefits of Playing Video Games
1. They’re a great introduction to new technologies.
2. You get to practice following directions.
3. Many games provide practice in problem-solving and logic.
4. They help improve fine motor and spatial skills.
5. It’s a good activity to share with people of all ages.
6. They’re more entertaining than television, plus you get to participate.
The Trouble with Video Games
1. An overdependence on video games, always played alone, could foster social isolation.
2. Most video games are sexist, portraying women as weak, helpless, or sexually provocative.
3. Game environments are often based on plots of violence, aggression, and gender bias.
4. The games rarely require independent thought or creativity.
5. Overzealous players can confuse reality and fantasy.
6. They cost a fortune!
12 Tips for Buying a Stereo
Buying a stereo system can be frustrating. There are so many choices, and salespeople are often not as helpful as you would hope. Follow these tips, and you’ll have an easier time choosing the one that’s just right for you.
1. Figure out how much money you can spend. This will help narrow your options. But to determine the difference between a bargain and cheap junk, you’ll have to do some research. Magazines such as Consumer Reports often publish issues on stereo equipment that name which brands are high quality and which cost way more than they are worth.
2. Large discounters generally charge less than small specialty stores, but the service you’ll get at a large store may not be as good as the help you get at a local store.
3. Speakers are the most important part of any system and should be your first consideration. The only way to determine how good speakers are is by listening to them. Although the sound you hear at the store will be different than what you’ll hear at home, you’ll still get a good idea of what to expect.
4. If you have a small room, you won’t need large speakers. They may look great, but the sound will probably overwhelm the neighbors and you’ll never use them to their full capacity.
5. Buy a good set of headphones so you can crank up the sound to ear- splitting volume if going deaf is on your “to do” list.
6. If you are planning on going away to college someday, get a portable system.
7. Most one-piece stereo systems come with a two- to- five-CD changer. Go for the larger capacity if you are generally lazy.
8. Comparison shop. You may be able to save enough in one store to pay for your headphones.
9. Many stores offer sales at various times of the year. You may be able to get a better stereo if you’re willing to wait.
10. Before you leave the store, make sure that the stereo you are buying is not damaged and has not been returned to the store by a former owner. Keep your receipt. When you unpack the stereo, fill out the warranty card and send it to the manufacturer.
11. Pushy salespeople may try to sell you a certain model because the store needs to get rid of it. Don’t let them influence you. Buy the stereo that you want, not what they want you to buy.
12. Ask an older person to accompany you to the store. Stereo salespeople are programmed to take advantage of young people. Put your pride aside.
Copyright © 2002 by Sandra Choron. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.