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Book Suggestions

Weird! Book Series: Three Stories, Three Points of View

Weird! Book Series is a great way to address bullying in elementary schools.


A counselor friend of mine recommended the Weird! book series by Erin Frankel to me and I am so glad she did. I could go on and on and on about this series but the testimony really comes from my students.


Each month I do a book giveaway for great behavior. After reading aloud the second book in the series, one of my boys asked me if I could please buy the books for the next giveaway. Even though he only has a one in nine hundred chance of winning, he was so into them that the odds didn’t matter! And he’s not the only one. Even my most hesitant and challenging students are totally into these books.


Why? I have my theories.

First, the illustrations by Paula Heaphy are youthful yet mature.

Second, the topic is totally relevant to every student.

Third, they are so well written. Author Erin Frankel, who is also an educator, makes these books so relatable. 

Lastly, the series makes you want more. The books are easy to read, catchy, and intriguing. Like a great movie, you can’t wait for the sequel and feel sadness when the trilogy ends.

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Book Suggestions

Listening with my Heart: Book Review and Positive Self Talk Activity

Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Gabi Garcia, author of Listening to My Body, just published another book that is a great addition to any counselor’s shelf! I recently had the opportunity to do a book review of her newest title. It is truly a wonderful book for exploring self-compassion and positive self talk with elementary school students!


Book Review

Listening with my Heart is a heart-warming story about Esperanza, a girl who is great at showing kindness to others but sometimes isn’t so kind to herself. She is quick to take in a lonely cat and befriend a new student, but she has critical self talk for herself when she misses a big goal or makes a mistake at school. Esperanza learns that it while it’s important to be kind to others, it’s equally important to be kind to herself!


The author expertly manages to describe physiological experiences associated with emotions and provide concrete ways to show kindness to others while maintaining a focus on self-compassion. The examples she uses of experiences in sports, academics, and theater are relatable to a multitude of students.


This is a great text to use with students who demonstrate perfectionist behaviors and negative self talk. If you have students who need to learn to cut themselves some slack and understand that mistakes are a normal part of life, this text will be a great addition to your counseling bookshelf!


Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Positive Self Talk Activity

Gabi Garcia includes several activities to do with your students after reading Listening with my Heart, and you’ll find one additional activity below.


To give students a chance to explore positive self talk, download this free activity. Students create pockets with a happy heart and a sad heart. Then, students practice listening with their hearts. They will read statements and pay attention to how their hearts feel as they read the words. Their hearts will help them to decide if the statement is something that would be kind to say to a friend or not kind and sort the statements into the appropriate pockets. Explain that statements that aren’t kind enough to say to a friend are not kind enough to say to ourselves! Like Garcia’s book teaches: we should treat ourselves like friends!


From this activity, students can begin to identify negative self talk patterns they currently have. The positive self talk statements included will help students begin to combat the negative pattern. Blank rectangles are also included for students to create their own positive self talk statements as they begin to treat themselves like friends!


Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk

Discussion Questions

  • Review the statements that are too unkind to say to a friend. How many of these statements have you said to yourself?
  • What feelings do you have when you say these things to yourself?
  • How can viewing yourself as a friend change the way you talk to and about yourself?
  • What is one way you will show yourself compassion today?
  • Name 3 reasons you deserve self-compassion.

You can grab Gabi Garcia’s book, Listening with my Heart, on Amazon. For more great titles for your counseling bookshelf, check out these Confident Counselors’ favorite titles!

Book review of Gabi Garcia's book, Listening with my Heart and free printable activity to analyze statements for negative or positive self talk



Bibliotherapy, Book Suggestions

10 Free Bullying Prevention Resources

10 free resources for bullying prevention lessons. Teach students about bullying awareness with these free videos, websites, books, and more.

October is Bullying Prevention Month, which means many counselors will be searching for resources to help bring awareness to bullying. It can be a challenge to find bullying resources that are not only helpful but also FREE! Listed below are 10 free bullying prevention resources that can be used for classroom lessons and school-wide programming in elementary and middle schools.

Free Bullying Prevention Resources for Lower Elementary

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Book Suggestions, Bullying

12 Books to Help Kids Overcome Test Anxiety

Do you know a child that underperforms on tests no matter how much they study and prepare? Do they struggle to concentrate during exams because they are preoccupied with thoughts of failing?  Do they find it difficult to recall information that previously came to them with ease? If this sounds like a child you know, they might be experiencing test anxiety. Although it’s normal for kids to feel some degree of anxiety about taking a test, when that anxiety impedes their ability to perform, test anxiety is the likely culprit. Read More »

Bibliotherapy, Book Suggestions, Test Anxiety

Bibliotherapy and Diversity

Bibliotherapy and Diversity

Finding the Words: Bibliotherapy & Diversity

How does one “teach” others to be respectable citizens who appreciate and even celebrate the unique qualities of others?  Is it possible to teach that in a lesson?  Most would argue that being a model of such behavior is a crucial first step.  The way we educators talk about and react to others will have the greatest impact on our youth.  They are watching us.  They can spot a fake.  They will know if we practice what we preach.  So, before we even begin trying to teach cultural competency, we have to live it.  But, we can do better than live it.  We can CELEBRATE it.

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Book Suggestions, Diversity

Bully Nation

The B-Word

by Laurie P. Mendoza, MA, CAGS

I’d like to recommend a book that has changed the way I look at the issue of bullying and aggression at my school.  Turn on the news, listen to discussions among parents and school staff, or think of how often kids say to you, “He’s bullying me!”  It seems that we’re in the middle of a bullying epidemic, doesn’t it?

It may seem that way, but we’re not.


Bully Nation by Susan Eva Porter

In her book Bully Nation, Susan Eva Porter totally dismantles the widely-accepted notion that kids are under siege from bullies 24/7.  While she provides a number of good reasons why we have that impression, one is so obvious that I can’t believe it never occurred to me: the definition of bullying has expanded hugely in the last ten years or so.

Bullying used to be defined as some form of coercion—forcing someone, usually smaller, to do something they didn’t want to do—often via physical force. It was pretty clear, and most people could agree if something constituted bullying or not.  But in the last decade behaviors that used to be considered just plain mean or even routine kid stuff are now being called bullying. Read More »

Book Suggestions, Bullying

Ultimate School Counselor Supply List


Time to stock your counseling office (or classroom or closet) with some tried and true school counseling supplies. Most of these suggestions are typical supplies that we’ve repurposed to use in counseling activities. What games, books, crafts, or prizes do you use?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. 

School Counseling Supplies: Toys and Games

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Back to School, Book Suggestions, Craftivities