From the popular New York Times Best-selling authors, former Teacher-of-the-Year Bettie B. Youngs, Ph.D., Ed.D. and her daughter Jennifer, comes this uplifting and motivating series to help you “survive” your feelings — and be the best you can be! In these books you will find inspirational short stories and encouragement BY TEENS FOR TEENS on life, love, friends and, the face in the mirror!

A Word from Bettie and Jennifer

Welcome to this really incredible self-help series of books for young adults, a compilation of uplifting
and motivating stories and encouragement, to help you "survive" your feelings, and be the best you can be! In these books, you’ll find stories by teens like yourself who are trying and doing their best. As you know, managing your schedule is one thing; managing your feelings and emotions is quite another! One reason teens love this series, is because in these books, you’ll find REAL STORIES from REAL TEENS about REAL LIFE, showing how you can use the ups and downs of daily life to make your life better, brighter — and sweeter. 
In a word, be a taste-berry!

A taste berry? That’s right! This incredible little berry (also known as Richardella dulcisica) is a little fruit that when eaten, mysteriously convinces the taste buds that all food—even something as bitter as a lemon—is sweet. This bright little berry has been used around the world for countless years to sweeten bitter foods.


In our Taste Berries for Teens series, we use the taste-berry a metaphor for those teens who help, inspire and encourage each other. When we assist and support others, when we help to ease the burden of a heartache or simply offer a friendly heart, we make that day better, sweeter. Has someone reached out when you were suffering a disappointment, nursing a broken heart, or felt overwhelmed or "down-and-out"? Has someone cheered you on to victory, said “Way to go!” when you’ve been a winner or simply told you how great you look today? If so, that person was acting as your "taste berry."

Just as we can "sweeten" or change how others "see" an experience, we can be our own taste-berry as well. Are there times when you have a million—and—one urgent things to do—and not enough time (or desire)—to accomplish them? Or, things didn’t turn out as you planned—or you had no plans—and everyone else, it seemed, did. Has life thrown you a curveball—and you don’t know what to do about it, nor who to turn to? Or is it one of those days when you’re stressed to the max and you know it’s a matter of time until your "cool turns to ghoul"? Or you’ve just accomplished a huge achievement and want to share it with, well, someone, but who? Yes, on some days, we could all use a taste-berry—and sometimes that taste-berry is the face in the mirror!

Filled with stories, poetry and commentary, these books show how you can use the ups and downs of daily life to make your life brighter, better—and sweeter!

Being a teen means so many new and wonderful experiences ... and trying times as well. There is always something going on, always something happening. Most of the time, "it’s all good"! But sometimes life doles out some real challenges. Sometimes you know how to handle things, and at other times, you haven’t a clue. With so much going on, it can be really helpful to learn how others are going about things, working toward bringing about positive results. And that's what so great about the Taste Berries for Teens books. Here you can learn what challenges others are facing, and what most helps them get through it in a positive way! Not only is reading about your peers interesting, but learning how others are sorting things out can help YOU better understand how to best go about working through your own experiences.

And that’s the goal in this inspirational series: to help you grow capable and confident, so that you can be your very best!

Teen Issues Worth Writing About

We hear from thousands and thousands of teens who write to tell us of their experiences and, in hopes of being published in an upcoming Taste Berries for Teens book. From all this contact, we know that as you are making your way through the many adventures of being a teen, "issues" such as those below are "biggies" (and often subjects teens write about in our books!):

A kid at school has threatened to "kick    my butt." What can I do?

I really would like to have a boy/girlfriend. Nothing I’ve done so    far seems to be working. Is there something I’m doing wrong?

A nasty rumor is circulating around about me. What can I do to    clean up my reputation?

• How do I convince my parents to loosen up the rules?

• My friend has started flirting with my boy/girlfriend. How do I find    out if anything is going on between them?

• What is the secret to being popular?

 I get teased about the way I look (hair, weight, complexion, clothes). What can I do?

 How can I have more friends?

• I’m being pressured to have sex. What’s the "best line" to use to say "no"?

• My good friend is using drugs (or drinking). It’s really messing up my friend’s life, he/she’s starting to be in    trouble all the time. What can I do to help my friend?

 Someone I thought was my friend has started "backstabbing" me. How do I get him/her to stop?

• I feel "down" all the time. Is that normal?

• My boy/girlfriend is always giving me ultimatums. How do I get him/her to back off — without breaking up?

 I know kids who are diagnosed with things with I weird names such as Bi-Polar, Anorexia, Bulimia, Dyslexia, or    A.D.D. Sometimes I feel down and have really weird thoughts. How do I find out if anything is wrong with me    — if one of those "labels" applies to me?

 What can I do to convince my friend to just be my friend?

• Several months ago my grandma (grandpa, friend, classmate,    pet) died. I can't stop thinking about it. I'm sad and cry all the    time. Can I do to make the sadness go away?

• There is a rumor going around at school about me. It feels    creepy to walk down the halls having everyone stare in    my direction. Moving to another state or changing schools is    out of the question. What can I do?

 I started a rumor around school, and everyone knows I did it.    Now no one wants to be my friend. How can I repair things?

• My parents always want to know what’s going on between my friends and me. They even call their parents to    check on things. I get embarrassed and my friends don’t like it. What can I do to make them stop—and to trust    me more?

 My mother/father yells at me all the time. How can I get them to talk to me like a normal person?

 I’m going to be getting a really low grade in a class at school. My parents are going to be really upset. How    can make sure I don’t get put on restriction?

Can you relate to these issues? Most young people can! Yes, some of these issues are a nuisance, others are downright embarrassing, while still others are simply awful to have to go through. Regardless, we must each do our best to be our best in getting to the other side. Having said that, you need to know that though trying times are a part of life, and painful feelings are part of trying times, sometimes it can all start to feel overwhelming. Know that these times will pass, still be sure to talk over such times with a trusted friend, or better yet, your parents, or grandparents, or someone you trust will sincerely listen. If you don’t, then even small things can seem paralyzing. Sometimes the challenges—and the feelings they create—are just too much to handle on your own.

Reaching out for help is a sign of strength: Rather than suffer alone or resort tosomeone you can trust. This is especially true if you are afraid of someone, or often feel really down and depressed.

We would also encourage you to keep a journal.  When you’re going through a tough time—such as a break-up, a family crisis, or even if you can’t pinpoint what’s bothering you but know something isn’t sitting well with you — keeping a running account of what’s going on, and how you feel about it, is really helpful. Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Not only is this an excellent way to "talk to someone" (because you are expressing yourself), but it is also an excellent way to SEE how you are handling things. This can help you decide if you can manage this problem, or issue, on your own, or if you need to turn to a counselor, or your mom or dad or another trusted adult, for help and support in getting to the otherside.

Again, welcome to a series that will show you how to be a real-life "taste-berry" to yourself and others. On the Books page, ou’ll find a photo of each of the books in the series to date. You’ll even find a place to order the book on-line if you choose, or you can get any them from your favorite bookstore!

Would You Like to Be Published in One of Our Books?

We’re always looking for great stories ... so if you have a real life experience you’d like to share with others, and you’d like to have us consider publishing it in one of our upcoming books, you can send it to:

Taste Berry Teen Team
3060 Racetrack View Drive, Suite 100-103
Del Mar, CA 92014