As a positive psychologist, a school psychologist and a former teacher, I began to think, how could I write a book that will spark just everyone? If you are a kid, a tween or a teen, you will feel understood and connected to this fictional girl.  After all, she is like you.  She thinks about many of the things you think about and she makes promises about what she will be like when she grows up, just like you do. 

If you are a woman, it will make you want to dance with yourself and with your inner 10 year old and make her energies a part of yourself again. 


If you are a mom, you will see your child in a much more profound light.  You will want to help her hold on to her wisdom, wit, sense of competency and self-esteem 


If you are a grandparent you will want your child and her child to read the book so that they will both have a chance to develop to their fullest and to stay communicating through all the tough years ahead. 


If you are a teacher you will want girls to read the book so they will feel strong and resilient and see that they can hold on to the best of themselves! 


So the character came alive.  I felt a fictional diary was the way to go.  The girl, as many fictional characters do, helped me write the book.  She shared her frustrations and her competencies, and she even managed to solve a little around how she could hold on to the best of herself as she grew up.  How she solved the mystery is so endearing, but I can’t give it away because I want you to read the book.


Fun at Girl’s Night Out at Brielle School and the Girls Club in Manasquan School.


The picture is of me, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein at the Girl’s Club that meets in the Manasquan School.  Soon I’ll have a picture of me at the Girl’s Club Girl’s Night Out at the Brielle School, which is located just a few miles away.  Both visits were such a treat for me.  In Manasquan I got to chat with the girls at the fifth grade level and again another day at the sixth grade level.  All were reading The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything).  At the Brielle School, the kids were sixth graders and they had finished reading the book.  I learned so much from the girls.  I’m very happy to report that the diary format appealed to all the girls and that they felt that the girl in the book really thinks in her head like a fifth or sixth grader.  All were interested in a second book in the series.  So many of the girls wanted to know how I started to write and was the girl from real life.  I explained that I myself started keeping a diary in the fourth grade and that certainly helped me practice writing.  (Even if the spelling was awful).  I also shared that some of the events that happened to the girl happened to me or clients of mine, or friends.  She was really a merger of all of us.  As she should be to share universal truths.  One compliment I received was that the book stayed true to the very end in tone and quality, rather than rushing to a conclusion that felt artificial or lacking.

Help Find Sunny the Cat a Home

 Please Help “Sunny” with information, prayers and maybe a small miracle that it turns out you should be Sunny”s owner. A stray somewhat feral cat came to our back porch in the early autumn.  His body was practically a skeleton.  I started to feed him.  He blossomed.  He gave up growling as he ate.  He let me pick him up.  He wanted to sleep on the bed!

Long story short,  I got him neutered and all his shots.  But he is not a good match for us.  He seems to need to be an only cat, at least until some of the left over wild is out of him.  He doesn”t like my 16 year old female and makes that very clear by attempting to attack her.  This is very hard on her as she has a heart condition. He is more comfortable with our 16 year old male-they ignore each other.  However, I think he would do best as the only cat in a household. He is now very loving and wants to sit on laps and be petted.
He recently bit my leg as I was getting ready to feed him.  This must have been because I put him last while I fed and gave medicine to the two older cats.  He needs to be first and I think only.
He is a beautiful short haired gray-taupe striped Tabby.  He has incredible love to give but in the right setting.  I should add my mom is very ill and I have to go back to Massachusetts all the time.  So I am under a lot of strain and time restraints.  Can you please help in any way?  I live in OceanTownship in MonmouthCounty, New Jersey.  
I would be happy to provide a good donation in money or in supplying cat food for a number of months to the right real “parent” for Sunny. 
In my next newsletter I”ll send a picture.  Feel free to write to me at one of the following e mail accounts:  or call 732-571-1200 anytime. 

Why as a positive psychologist I chose to write fiction: The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

11aLots of time people ask me why I started to write fiction as a positive psychologist. It is a good question. I started writing fiction because I wish to communicate information about how to grow up safe and strong to kids and their parents in a way that they can HEAR me. Lots of time we have great information to share, but nobody takes it in. Why? Sometimes it is too dry, sometimes the timing is off, sometimes it is the speaker”s manner. So to avoid all of those potential set-backs I have chosen fiction. The information is not dry! It is exciting and yet familiar to all of us. All of us were 10, 11 and 12 once. I don”t use my voice, but the voice of a girl who we fall in love with from the first page when she talks about her crush. And I know the timing is right, as every year their are millions of kids getting a year older who have universal concerns about their feelings, their friendships, crushes, bullying, home life, etc.

Let”s take a look at The Truth (I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything):
Feeling safe to communicate feelings and thoughts, no matter how personal and/or negative, rather than acting them out, is very important in child and adolescent development.

vThe Truth helps move girls, tweens, teens and their families closer to honest communicating. Every page brings to light feelings and thoughts so universal in nature that almost any page can be used to stimulate family members moving toward a more honest and open place with each other.

v The Truth gives a platform for kids to work through negative feelings about conflict and gives parents a new way of seeing conflict from the vantage point of how it affects their kids.

vThe Truth helps to prevent “mean girls” from developing by showing tweens how to express feelings using words, rather than anger or violence.

v The Truth helps girls see that they are not alone, by being able to so easily identify with the “girl” who is sharing her most personal feelings and thoughts with them directly, via diary form. If Mom also reads The Truth and shares more of her thoughts and feelings while also listening to her daughter”s “real” voice, than a family correction will be made and indeed, the girl will be less alone

vThe Truth also helps kids come to terms with growing up in a less than perfect world. The “girl” is able to do this using many skills that the reader can emulate, such as finding ways to hold on to the best of herself, even as she comes to terms with a world and a set of parents that are less than perfect.

THE TRUTH (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) comes to the Manasquan School Girl's Book Clubs

Being with the 5th and 6th grade girls was such fun.  They had such great ideas for the second book in The Truth Series and so many real issues to discuss.  Bullying is a real issue, as is being ignored or put down by a teacher.  Both of these issues were included in the first book.  I will make certain they reappear again in the second book.  These are topics that need to be discussed.  Another topic that all the girls seem to want in the next book is another crush.  This time, they suggested it could be a bit more real, rather than mostly in the girl”s head.  That makes sense to me, as the girl will be a year older.  One girl suggested that she is at a school dance and she sees her best friend kissing the boy she likes.  The other girl is so ashamed or embarrassed when the girl confronts her that at first she tries to lie and claims that she wasn”t at the dance.  Of course the truth comes out and the girls have to deal with all the emotions sparked by the kiss.

Another topic discussed was best friends in general.  Perhaps the girl could find a new best friend who was originally a bully, but now they get along.

Such great ideas!  I am so happy that I have such wise girls to advise me, the psychologist!

Dr. Holstein Talks to Kids from Stanton High School in Stanton, Iowa about The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

Yesterday was such a treat for me as a psychologist and an author. I talked via conference phone to Tonya, Lake and Emily at the Stanton High School. They are all students of Mrs. Whigham and they read my The Truth! All enjoyed the book. Some reactions and points made: Mrs. Whignam said that it was important for the girls to see that there are ways to cope with one’s problems outside of just leaning on other people. This is so important as girls often think they need a boyfriend or even a best friend to be able to cope. Reading about how the girl coped with a crush that led to frustration and other issues such as moving were very helpful. The kids commented that it was cool that ‘she’, the girl, figured out a way to remember the best of herself as she grew up. (That involves a mystery in The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything), so I can’t give it away.

The girls felt sorry for the girl and saw her mom as ‘rude’ in that she didn’t always listen to her. We discussed how important it is for adults to listen to kids!

As far as the next book, they wanted to know the title in the series. I told them but also that it is a secret. So…..I’m afraid I can’t tell you yet. But they loved it and want to see the girl continue with the ‘drama’ of growing up as they put it. They discussed how they see their lives as involving conflicts between friends -good friends one minute and enemies the next. Also issues with parents, school, crushes, problems and they want to see the ‘girl’ go through those things also. We talked about her having some weight issues in the next book and all agreed that is a good subject to have her deal with.

It was great to ‘be’ with these girls in Iowa. I hope they will write to me on the blog and stay in touch. They were great!

Listen to My Interview on Book Bites

Book Bites for Kids interviews me!

Description: Host Suzanne Lieurance talks with Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein about her book, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

Listen to the Interview Here

Download the Mp3


The Girl in The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) goes to Washington for Inauguration in Secret Diary Entry

Dear Diary,

I can’t believe I am actually in Washington. When my dad told us that he had a friend who invited us to stay with them for the inauguration 36aand that it wouldn’t cost too much to go and that we could go I thought I was in a dream!  No one else in my class is going. We were all going to watch in on TV together in the auditorium. Now, I don’t have to be with everyone else.

I’m here in Washington. The drive was awful though. It took at least 10 hours and my brother was soooo bad. He was crying and fussing and hungry and had to go to the bathroom.

But I was so excited I could just not think about the racket he was making. I was busy imagining if I was one of the girls that was goint to move into the White House. I designed in my head a lot of my clothes that I would wear as we were driving to D.C. Most of my clothes would be pink or have some pink on them, ’cause that is my favorite color.  And my hair would be real long, much longer than it is now. Like half way down my back. And my room would be all pink with ballet dancers in a border on the walls. Oh, I loved imagining living in the White House.

I’ll be back, Diary. I have to stop now. We just pulled up to my father’s friend’s apartment building. I can see the Washington Monument from here, just a little bit.

We have to go to sleep now so we can get up really early. Daddy said like 4:00 AM. I would never do that for any other reason, unless I got sick and hand to throw up at 4:00 in the morning. But to see the Inauguration I’ll do it! I’m so excited. I’m really having my very first adventure in my whole life and that’s the truth.

The Book Connection blog named The Truth as a favorite book for 2008!

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Staying True to the Promises We Make In Childhood

One of the themes in The Truth (I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything) is staying true to our childhood promises. Here is what one reviewer had to say:

28a“This book is worth reading if you’ve found yourself wondering if you always wanted to be such a career woman or a stay at home mom. It provides a unique perspective most of us have long forgotten about. I found myself often wondering if I stayed true to the promises I made to myself growing up and if I have so far become the woman I wanted to be.

I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the second book and am wondering what adventures and truths will find as she grows into a teenager.”

I can tell you that there are a lot of adventures and truths and secrets already in the second book. Yes, it is almost finished. So stay posted! We will watch the girl grow up and it will be quite a ride! Dr. Barbara

This review appears on on my author”s page.