Why I wrote The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

Often, when I speak to groups or on talk on the radio, people want to know why I wrote a certain book. I believe that my introduction to The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything), designed to be read by the girl, her mom or grandma, or teacher, or guidance counselor, explains best why I wrote the book. Here is what I say:

“When I was ten, and eleven, I knew so many things. I knew a lot of important stuff that my parents and other grown-ups had forgotten. I promised myself that I would find a way to hold on to my knowledge.

Then I grew up and became a teacher and a psychologist. I got married and had children. At work, as a psychologist, I listen to a lot of people’s problems, children and grown-ups. I always try to help them. One of the things I do is to point out to them what is right with them, rather than what is wrong. Another thing I do is to teach them how to have more fun. I also help them to remember their own wisdom and the truths that they already know in their hearts.

One day I decided to find a way to combine what I already knew as a girl with the knowledge I have as a psychologist. I had to find a fun way to do this that would really help girls and mothers recognize that what we know growing up is just as important as what we learn later.

One day, the ‘girl’ just appeared. She knew what to say and how to say it. She did a much better job of sharing THE TRUTH than I ever could have imagined. So I just let her go for it.

Here is her account of THE TRUTH. I hope you enjoy it. Remember your promises to yourself when you grow up and don’t forget to listen to your kids someday.

I better get out of the way and let the girl begin……”

I would just add, that since the book has been published, most girls relate to THE TRUTH at a deep level of connection. Most have had a crush, or a problem in school, or been afraid of moving to a new town, or upset if parents did not get along. However, some kids have a whole other ‘TRUTH’ that is uniquely theirs. And that is great. Even those few kids that don’t relate to the girl at all, if they take from the book to be true to themselves, and have the courage to grow up strong and resourceful, then my mission as a women, who was a girl,and a psychologist has been successful!

Diary Entry from the Chinese Version of The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

I thought a lot of you might enjoy seeing some of the diary entries that are only being read in China at this point in time. Some of course, may appear in the second book in The Truth Series in the United States. Here is one of them. Let me know what you think.

“My cousin Eddie isn’t in college anymore. My parents were all upset yesterday because they got a call from my Aunt Lil saying that Eddie was thrown out of college. She was crying so hard on the phone that my dad had to keep telling her that it would be alright and just take a deep breath and get a drink of water.
I was eating breakfast and listening at the same time. I heard my father also tell my Aunt that probably he could go back to school but after he was clean. That didn’t make any sense to me.
So I made my mother tell me everything after my father left for work.
She said that Eddie was caught taking drugs. He was swallowing stuff in his room that could have made him very sick and he was giving it to other kids in the dormitory. The Dean of his college made him leave. My aunt is trying to find him help so he won’t do bad stuff anymore. That’s what my dad meant by getting ‘clean’.
I know what drugs are. But I never knew anyone who took any.
I play cards with Eddie when we go to visit once a year. He is five years older than I am, but I still liked playing with him and he never teased me. He was nice to me.
It is sad and scary what happened to him. And that’s the truth.”

Barbara Becker Holstein At the Girl Scout meeting in Ocean Township

Barbara Becker Holstein At the Girl Scout meeting in Ocean Township a couple of weeks ago, the girls and their mom’s really enjoyed dividing up into groups and discussing different topics generated by The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything). I think they most enjoyed issues around moving and also family relationships. Here is what one girl said would most concern her about moving: 1. making new friends, 2. what I would have to leave behind, and 3. getting used to new things. Girlscouts in Ocean City

Why is The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) important reading for Girls and Their Moms?

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

“What a delightful book! The girl made me smile. I could relate to her on many levels- from her first crush to being picked last for sports. She”s not only funny, she”s insightful. Girls at any age could learn from her.”
~Allie Triggs

http://thetruthforgirls.com/440/

cover3The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) is now in all major bookstores in China in an English/Chinese version. Here is the beautiful cover. The title in China is: How an American girl grows up.

http://thetruthforgirls.com/430/

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein discusses The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) with several Girl Scout troops from Ocean Township.

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Discussion with Girl Scouts

Discussion with Girl Scouts

barbara_girl_scoutDr. Barbara Becker Holstein discusses The Truth (I”m a girl, I”m smart and I know everything) with several Girl Scout troops from Ocean Township. It was a lively discussion. We chatted about lots of topics brought up by the girl in the book. Some included moving, parents fighting, growing up, sibling annoyances, friendships. All the girls were very interested in the second book in The Truth Series for Girls, which Dr. Holstein has just finished.

Reflection

Barbara and book club

Barbara and book club

Summer is here, but I am still basking in the memories of the fun time I had at the Brielle School Girls Night Out.  Here is a picture of me with a bunch of the girls who had read The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything).  And here is part of the note I received from The G.I.R.L. Club: “We loved when you talked about your book with the club!  We also enjoyed when you talked about your inspiration and it gave us an eye opening experience to get us to do whatever we want to do in life…”

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein talks about her Book “The Truth (I’m Girl I’m Smart and I Know Everything)” on “A Fresh Start with Sallie Felton”!

http://contacttalkradio.soundwaves2000.com:8080/ctr/salliefelton060309.mp3

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

Lots 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.