We all know what a huge NPR nerd I am. Garrison Keillor. Car Talk. Fresh Air. Morning Edition. I’ve been a faithful listener for years. So how stoked was I when NPR’s The Roundtable interviewed me about Keep Holding On? Stoked out of my mind, that’s how. You can listen to the interview here.
In 7th grade, I already knew that the upcoming years would be the worst of my life. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a teacher. My purpose in life is to reach out to teens and help them feel less alone. I did that for ten years as a high school science teacher. And I continue to reach out to even more teens now as an author.
When I was being bullied in junior high and high school, I didn’t have the courage to speak up. Noelle in Keep Holding On has the courage I never did to take a stand and be DONE. My wish is that more teens will take charge of their life. There are so many things we don’t have control over, but there are a lot of things we can control. My main goal in writing Keep Holding On was to motivate teen readers to start creating a better life right now.
As adults, we have a responsibility to protect our kids. School should be a place where all kids feel safe. Yet it’s really hard for kids to reach out to others who are being bullied. The fear is that if they try to help someone being bullied, the bullying will then be turned on them. That is unacceptable. Why is reaching out to kids who need help something we’re afraid of? It should be cool for kids to help other kids. It should be cool to let your freak flag fly. School should be a place where we can all be who we are.
My hope is that Keep Holding On will inspire teens to speak up, take a stand, and make their world a better place.