There are plenty of books written about adolescents and quite a few written directly to adolescents. So, why write yet another one?
First, I think that books about adolescents are for adults to understand the adolescent process and manage adolescents. While these are certainly intended to help teens indirectly, I think it can also be useful to address adolescents directly. Most of the books already in circulation are addressed to teens who are good readers and sophisticated about their world. Of course, these teens can certainly benefit from the advice dispensed but what about teens who are poor readers and not all that sophisticated? Could those teens be readers, as well? Could they be taught the book in the classroom?
My experience with just those teens was that they were thirsty to hear about their process and eager for help with developing awareness. In addition, they were highly motivated to understand themselves and find empowerment to manage their lives. I Want To Be Me But I Don’t Know Who I Am started as an “identity workshop” offered to preteens and young adolescents in Child Protective Services custody. It was later offered to younger and older teens in the public school system. They seemed to be entranced by the idea of self-awareness and the freedom it offers. Teens I saw in my therapy practice latched on very quickly to the concept of autonomy and empowerment acquired with self-management.
So, it seems that teens of any milieu are highly motivated to work on their own development as they strive to learn the skills needed to manage their lives. I Want To Be Me But I Don’t Know Who I Am is written in a very casual and engaging manner. In addition, for all their bluster and bravado, teens often feel very vulnerable, something like a molting lobster, as Dr. Francoise Dolto, noted French child psychoanalyst, describes the teen experience. To attend to this vulnerability, I Want To Be Me But I Don’t Know Who I Am is written in a gentle and respectful tone.
Lastly, because it is to engage adolescents at any level of sophistication, two editions will be available: one for pre-teens and early teens is written at the 6th grade level and the other one for older adolescents and young adults, is written at the 9th grade level. Because both books are addressed to teens of varied ages, they both invite the reader in the same respectful manner, cover the same material, and make similar demands on the reader. Only the language is slightly different, in order to include all levels of understanding.