Review: An advanced, but accurate journal for teens

“Big Life Journal Teen Edition” is an illustrated journal for teens. The book is published by Eidens, Inc., has a retail price of $24.95 for hardcover or $19.95 for PDF and ISBN of 978-0-692-16550-8. The “Big Life Journal Teen Edition” can be purchased online at www.biglifejournal.com.

This journal is recommended for children ages 11 and older.

This colorful book is full of five chapters, each with a theme. Topics support developing a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset, and dreaming and planning their future life.

Teens learn and explore through readings and self-reflection. There are activities throughout.

Chapter lessons include: It all starts here — you will discover the power of your mind and learn about different types of mindset; Exploring you — you will do some fun activities to discover your true interests; Dreaming up your life-this is where you can have your imagination run completely free as you’re dreaming about your future and your ideal life; From dreams to reality- you will discover tools and tips on how to turn your dreams into reality; The key to success — you will learn how to persist through challenges and difficult times in order to reach your goals.

Each chapter starts with a brief explanation of the section’s theme and a colorful, inspirational quotation. The next page explains the theme and is followed by an activity.

In Chapter One, this first activity is a 1-5 scale that helps the teen identify if they have a positive or negative mindset.

Several pages are devoted to going in depth into the topic. Colorful illustrations and easy to read sections are used to apply the theme to their life.

In Chapter One, these pages are used to explain how the brain can be rewired and new neural-pathways can be formed, making a new mindset based on positive or negative self-talk.

A creative activity allows the teen to apply the theme. In Chapter One, this means they create an app. They answer a few short questions about the app and draw a picture of what it looks like on a phone.

A story is shared where a real-life person applied the theme to their life. A quick, self rated activity helps the teen further identify their strengths and weaknesses in that area.

Another topic, supporting the chapter’s theme, is described with a real-life story. For example, in Chapter One, affirmations are described showing how Muhammad Ali used them on his path to success.

A quotation and activities follow, helping the teen utilize this next topic- such as writing their own affirmations and discovering their positivity mantra.

Another topic is introduced that applies to the theme. Again, this topic is explored in colorful animations along with readings and activities.

The chapter is concluded with a creative activity. Chapter One concludes with the teen creating a playlist for their life and drawing the playlist cover.

Each chapter is guided by a theme which builds on previous chapters. Topics are discussed through illustrated text, inspirational quotation and creative activities.

Some topics overlap from those seen in the “Big Life Journal for Kids 2nd Edition” but are applied to the older age group.

Where the kids journal heavily uses the journal buddy, an adult who explores the various topics with the child, the teen edition is meant to be done alone.

Supporting Material

There is less supporting material for the “Big Life Journal Teen Edition” than there is for the “Big Life Journal for Kids 2nd Edition.”

The organization seems to currently be focused on younger children and this journal is the only product specifically targeted at older children. However, there are supporting material “kits,” focused on key topics like challenges of confidence and self-esteem that are marketed for the tween audience.

Review

I like the “Big Life Journal Teen Edition” although I am not as much in love with it as I am the “Big Life Journal for Kids 2nd Edition.”

The kids journal is based on discussion whereas the teen edition is a do-it-yourself format. The teen is expected to be able to critically think at a higher level than most 11 year olds can.

I could see a younger tween/teen becoming frustrated and giving up on the journal if not properly supported by an adult.

This journal is marketed for ages 11 and up. I would move that age higher, closer to 15. Otherwise, this would be a good journal, to use with an adult, for ages 11-14.

Thinking of my 13-year-old daughter, who is mature for her age, she would be able to work through this journal alone. However, she would get more from it if she were older.

As it stands, I would recommend the “Big Life Journal Teen Edition” be used as a stepping stone for 11-14 year olds. The tween could go through the chapters alone, or with an adult, but should follow up with an adult-led discussion.

That being said, it is a realistic follow up to the “Big Life Journal for Kids 2nd Edition.”

Another reason I am more excited about the kids journal than the teens is the extra, free resources offered on the website. The podcast follows the kids edition, section by section. The majority of the blog posts are for parents of kids and only a few are targeted for teens.

I believe “Big Life Journal Teen Edition” would be a good purchase for either a tween to do with an adult (although less handholding is necessary as they work through the book) or an older teen.

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