I think it is interesting to share with you some of the girl’s entries into her diary that are not in the American version of The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything). Two of her entries are about an anxiety dream she has a several weeks before she starts the seventh grade in a new school, in a new town. Read on to find out what the dream was like, how her mother helped her handle the dream and what she learned about her parent.

Only three more weeks until we go back to school. I had a nightmare last night that I couldn’t find my new classrooms and I ended up back in the hallway that has the first, second and third grade classrooms. My heart was pounding in the dream and I was sweating. I kept running up and down the hallway but I couldn’t find any older kids, only babies, six, seven and eight. I knew I would be the last one to get to my new homeroom and I would look like a fool on the first day of school. No one comes in late on the first day!

Then I finally saw the hallway that goes to the seventh and eighth grade classrooms. But when I tried to reach it, it was like I could hardly move. I just couldn’t get there. I felt myself pulling on my body to move but nothing happened.

Then I woke up. I went in to my mother and father’s room and lay down on the floor with a blanket from my bed. They didn’t even know I was there. I just couldn’t be alone after that dream. I hate dreams like that and that’s the truth.


My mother said I had an anxiety dream and a lot of people do before they have to do something new. I’m glad she told me that. I hope I don’t have anymore anxiety dreams.

She told me a lot of other stuff today. I guess cause I’m getting older. My mother really knows a lot. She should have been a doctor or a teacher. She never went to college but wants me to go.

She told me that she had a choice of being a secretary or working in my Uncle Dan’s clothing store when she finished high school. She chose to become a secretary because my Grandfather said he would pay for her to go to secretarial school.

I asked her if she wanted to go to college. She said that she never thought about it because none of the girls in her family had ever gone to college.

She told me that once her brother said to her, “Edith, you are dumb but beautiful. Don’t worry. That’s ok. It is better than being dumb and not pretty.”

My mother promised herself when I was born that I would get more education than she had. She told me that she has been putting ten dollars a week away since I was born for my college education.

I hope I can really make her proud of me. I know that I’m smart. I hope that I’m pretty. I’m still scared and that really is the truth.

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.”


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.

A RECIPE for a Happy Child must include some very special Ingredients

You wouldn’t back a special wedding cake without a recipe.  So way think you can bring up a child and have her flourish without a good recipe that really works?  As a psychologist, I can say the surest RECIPE that I have found is passed on the Seven Gateways to Happiness.  Here are some of the special INGREDIENTS that you will need as you help you daughter walk through the Gateways of Happiness.

The first ingredient is:

1: Lots of reinforcement for the kid’s talents, interests and potential. Without reinforcement from you, probably the most important adult in her life, she cannot validate her talents, strengths, interests and potential just on her own.  Kids are developed enough emotionally or intellectually to sort through all of their feelings and reactions to their own experiences.  They need the parent, grandparent, and/or teacher to help them in this sorting.  The girl may enjoy a ten week course in playing the flute.  But recognizing whether she loves the flute enough to now take expensive lessons maybe be something you have to help her with.  Maybe she like variety and to try a lot of new things.  That is just as valid an interest as a willingness and need to focus on one thing and master it.

I’ll be back with the SECOND INGREDIENT in RAISING A HAPPY CHILD  soon.

Another Book Club is Reading The Truth

I’m so excited. I just sent a batch of The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) down south to a group of girls in a self-esteem group run by Amy Stachler. The girls go to various schools but the club is Club G2G and all the girls are participating in Relay for Life (cancer walk). I think that is wonderful! Amy already wrote to me that the girls were really excited with the book. I wonder how they will react as they read the book. Will they identify with the girl and her feelings? Do they ever feel that a teacher or a parent is not really listening to them? Do they promise themselves about how they will be when they grow up? Do they have crushes? How do they feel the girl handled her crush with Paul? I can’t wait to hear from them. This is so exciting.

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


Review of The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) by a ten year old girl.

A Kid”s Review

“I thought the book and discussion really went deep into a girl”s life; boys, crushes and dealing with yourself. I learned that people should express what they feel inside and always be truthful.” 5th Grader (posted on Amazon)

The Truth is resiliency is important. Dr. Sandra Prince-Embury Discusses resiliency with Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, author of The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

Dr. Sandra Prince Embury, nationally know expert on resiliency had this to say to Dr. Holstein:33a

The definition of resiliency is the qualities in the child, teenager or adult that allow them to face adversities and social pressures in a way that they can recover from, ride through, maintain functioning, and in some cases, grow, and function even better.  And what I consider the underpinnings of resiliency are basically core aspects of development. 

 The reason that I’m focusing on that right now, especially in children and adolescents, is that in society, we have had to face a lot of adversity, perhaps more adversity than in the past, and there is more of a focus on preparing our youth for adversity.  Of course, women are a special group in that there are special forces on girls and women that need to be dealt with.


But basically, it’s about surviving and dealing with adversity and maintaining your functioning and growing, even in the face of adversity.

One reason I wrote The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) is to show girls how resilient they naturally are.  To learn to recognize their coping powers and their abilities to overcome obstacles and have fun in the process, by identifying with the girl in the book.  As she says on page 19: “I know a million ways to have fun.  I better know they because I feel so rotten when I’m picked last for kickball…”