REVIEW: The Secret Me Book by Rachel Kempster and Meg Leder

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The Secret Me by Rachel Kempster and Meg Leder Book Cover


Sourcebooks (2012)
Teen Nonfiction

Summary:  You know those all those secret thoughts you keep hidden away deep inside? Well it’s time to let them out. The Secret Me Book is a fun and insightful journal written by people who have actually been in your shoes, people who get it.

I wrote in a lot of journals when I was younger but could never find the right one for me. Blank ones just stared at me and I couldn’t think what to write, unless I was really upset or depressed. I tried journaling on the computer because I prefer to type than write but I would have to hide what I was writing every time someone walked by since the computer was out in the open and I had to password protect it so no one would stumble on it.

I wish I had the Secret Me book when I was a teen. It has prompts to get you started and blank space for when you want to write lots. There are no lines so you can write however you want.

From page ix:

“This is your book, which means you can do whatever you want with it:

  • Share it, or keep it totally secret.
  • Go in order, or skip around to your heart’s content.
  • Respond to the prompts as they are, edit away, or cross ‘em out and write down your own.
  • Use markers or pencils or crayons or paint or invisible ink.
  • Write in print or cursive. Write in straight lines or upside down. […]
  • Enjoy the cover and face it out on your bookshelf. Or cover the whole thing with a brown grocery bag […] and redesign it so it’s yours.”

I love that the book gives you permission to do what you want. That’s the way a journal should be.

The book is all in teal and white and some pages have illustrations on them. Some areas are separated by teal boxes or boxes with borders. Some of the questions are simple and some are more complex so you can choose which to work on based on how you are feeling or how much time you have to write.

Here are just some of the many prompts and writing ideas:

  • What do you see when you shut your eyes? Write it here.
  • Use this page to chronicle your closest friends over time, from toddler-hood to present day. Who are the constants? Who have you lost touch with? What do your friends at different times reflect about you?
  • [drawing of a box] Fill the rusty little box below with drawings and words that encapsulate your childhood.
  • Status updates are like mini-diary entries – short bursts of information about what you’re doing/feeling/thinking in the moment. Write a status update for: [lists times in the future like 1 hour from now or 5 years from now. Then lists a bunch in the past]
  • Do you have a secret you’ve never told another living soul? Write it out here. Then tear out the page and bury it or throw it into the sea or set it ablaze in a campfire.
  • If you ruled the world, what three things would you demand?

The book also has other features such as quotes from real kids, secret surveys (answers from real kids on a question) and even instructions on making a t-shirt scarf.

Also check out The Happy Book.

This post is Copyright 2001-2012 SMS Book Reviews. Do not reproduce anything without permission.
About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.