Inspired by Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves, edited by E. Kristen Anderson and Miranda Kenneally, I decided to write my own “Dear Teen Me” letter. Read, enjoy, and then post your own “Dear Teen Me” letter.
You once found hope from a character in a television show who said, “Life gets better after high school.” I don’t remember that show now, but you should hold onto that line. You don’t think any guy will ever like you, but one day will be married to man whose sole goal in life is to make you happy. You hate being a B student, as if somehow being second best makes you stupid, but one day will have a Masters in Education. You don’t have a lot of friends, and you won’t in years to come, but the ones you have will be true ones who will stick with you in your darkest moments. You feel alone partly because the rest of your classmates have moms while you are growing up motherless, but will come to have a step-mom and in-laws who deeply care about you. You feel isolated from your father, and often feel that you can’t turn to him, but you will become closer than you can imagine, communicating daily through email and weekly through phone calls and letters. As you can see, life will get better for you after high school.
You will continue to face sorrows. Life will never be all rainbows. You need to be okay with the rain. In your twenties, your neighbors will give you a dog who will become your best friend. You will get him when he’s ten and he will only live another three years. It will take you months to move forward after his death, but you will and even develop a passion for rescue animals. You and your husband will have two of them. Beauty can rise from sorrow. Just before your thirties, your grandparents on your mom’s side will die. They’ll never know that you’ll eventually find love. You’ll always miss them but, you’ll determine that no matter where you live, you’ll always make time for family. Sorrow doesn’t need to diminish you. It can change your life for the better. If you let it.
You will continue to struggle. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. No one gets it right the first time. And sometimes the best things only come to those who wait. You’ll be thirty before the man of your dreams comes along and forty before he finally proposes to you. Yes, I know you’re doing the math and thinking that’s a terribly long time, but I promise you that he will be worth the wait. You’re also going to flounder in your twenties with trying to find the right career. You’ll eventually dabble with graphic design and then spend seven years in web design. Job cutbacks will require you to start all over again, which will lead you to teaching. You’ll never regret your design years, but you’re also going to love being in the education field.
Here’s where I need to encourage you: Have more faith in yourself. After college, you’ll have a chance to make good on your dream to become a published writer. You’ll win a writing contest, have three articles published, and even receive a personal rejection on a story. Okay, rejection sounds bad, but it will be good that the editor will take time to explain his reasons. That will mean he sees promise in your fiction. If only I could encourage you to see more promise in yourself, perhaps you wouldn’t lose a decade of writing to frustration and insecurity. From age twenty-five to thirty-five, you won’t even keep a journal. Thankfully you will not allow yourself to give up on obtaining your Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). You will cry a lot during all that math prep, and will fight a lot with your boyfriend as he attempts to tutor you. If you were to give up, your teaching career would end before it started. Some days you’ll be strong; other days you’ll be weak. Those fluctuating emotions are all part of being human, not a reflection on your brain or personality. It’s okay to feel sad and to reach out to others for help. We’re all in this together.
You need to accept yourself for who you are, because that’s how life will get better for you after high school. You’ll learn to turn to God, even when you have doubts. You’ll start to admit your struggles to your family, knowing that they’re not going to reject you. You’ll figure out how to apologize to friends, which will help you keep them. And you’ll decide that sometimes a bad day is only temporary, meaning it’ll pass and tomorrow there will be a rainbow. And in the meantime, doesn’t the rain look pretty on the flowers? In other words, life can be good. If you work at it.
Américas Award for Children’s & Young Adult Literature
CLASP founded the Américas Award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. It was established by in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.
The Christy Awards are awarded each year to recognize novels of excellence written from a Christian worldview.
Coretta Scott King Award
The Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples. It is given to African American authors and illustrator.
children and young adult blogger literacy awards
Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award
The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award was initiated in 2000 to recognize authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that appropriately portray individuals with deve
Hans Christian Anderson Award
The Hans Christian Andersen Awards is given to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. The award is the highest international recognition an author can receive.
Kate Greenaway Medal
The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs.
Middle East Book Award
The Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
Honors fantasy books for younger readers, in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia
Newbery Medal Award
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
Pura Belpré Award
The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. It is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino experience.
Red House Book Award
The Red House Children’s Book Award is a series of literary prizes for works of children’s literature published during the previous year in England.
Sydney Taylor Award
The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.