This year has been a precarious one. For teens, who even under “normal” circumstances experience a wide range of sometimes-overwhelming, often-fluctuating, intense emotions, it is imperative they have a safe space to express themselves. In Dream Up Now, authors Rayne Lacko and Lesley Holmes encourage teens to explore their inherent creativity with guided activities for drawing, listening to music, and putting pen to paper as they process emotions, discover more about themselves, and pursue what they want out of life.

To give you a peek into the activities laid out in the book, in this issue of Upbeat News, we share an excerpt that features one set of emotions: anxiety and passion. Read that here.

For more resources that encourage self-awareness and self-discovery, read on for information on related books. Also check out the downloadable How Am I Feeling Today? poster, which encourages students to talk through their emotions with themselves rather than bottling it inside.
New Release Spotlight: Dream Up Now
For teens, Dream Up Now offers a safe space for creative self-expression of all emotions, both positive and negative. Every emotion is valid in this journal, and teens are encouraged to move from dark (negative) to light (positive) emotions. For example:

  • From tired to fired up
  • From confused to confident
  • From jealous to appreciative
  • From loss to peace

Using simple journal prompts and art project ideas, with plenty of room for writing and reflection, Dream Up Now is a powerful tool for navigating emotions and self-reflection. A digital leadership guide includes information to help teens advocate for school music programs, find their passion, and start a club in their school. Learn more.
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Related Resources
Check out more related resources here. Reminder: your CARES Act funding can be spent on Free Spirit’s mental health and social emotional learning resources. Shop now before the deadline.
This friendly counting book invites young children to learn about coping with emotions.
Straightforward advice on stress management, anxiety reduction, and digital well-being.
Develop and strengthen essential SEL skills in tweens with this practical, hands-on resource.
Tips & Tools from the Free Spirit Blog
Students come to the (virtual) classroom with many stressors that can and do affect their learning potential. In this post, James Butler, M.Ed., author of Mindful Classrooms, shares how educators can support their students through practicing mindfulness. Read now.
Sitting in front of the screen is tough for everyone, but especially for young children. These activities can be used in the classroom or adapted for distance learning to get kids moving and help them develop self-awareness and learn SEL skills. Read now.
Recent Review
Violet the Snowgirl kept me captivated until the last page! This short story allows children to see that it is normal to have a variety of feelings, and it models how to deal with their range of emotions. I love that this story is creative in showing how to deal with loss through an age-appropriate event other than a death or divorce.” —Kristin Dunker, director, Vermilion Association for Special Education

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The How Am I Feeling Today? poster helps students—and even adults—talk through their feelings. We can’t change a feeling, but talking it over is better than locking it inside. Download the 8.5 x 11 poster here.
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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt, from Quotes & Quotables In a Jar®