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iPad graphic novel teaches kids self-esteem

If you're the parent of a middle-schooler, this might be the best $4 you can spend. It covers everything from bullying to body image to peer pressure.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Be Confident in Who You Are helps middle-school kids deal with difficult issues, like peer pressure and body image.
Be Confident in Who You Are helps middle-school kids deal with difficult issues, like peer pressure and body image. Screenshot by Rick Broida

I had a hard time in middle school. Other kids picked on me, girls ignored me, and many of the friends I'd had in elementary school abandoned me.

Perhaps reading "Be Confident in Who You Are: A Middle School Confidential Graphic Novel" would have helped--if only it had been available back then.

Based on the actual graphic novel of the same name, Be Confident in Who You Are for iPad reads like a nicely illustrated comic book and addresses a number of important tween/teen issues: bullying, body image, problems with friends, peer pressure, and so on.

The app's eight chapters span some 45 pages, many of which play sound effects (clapping, laughter, etc.) when you double-tap to zoom in on a particular panel. I found the sounds superfluous, adding little to the experience, but the target audience might enjoy them a bit more.

Speaking of which, I think most kids ages 11 to 14 would benefit from this book's lessons--corny as they might be in their presentation.

That was my take. My 11-year-old daughter, who starts middle school in the fall, didn't find them corny at all. She gave the app an enthusiastic "pretty cool!"

Indeed, although you may find the stories a bit contrived and the book's title rather lame, your tween/teen may just see it as a comic book--and find valuable solutions within.

The paperback edition sells for $9.99, making the iPad version a bargain at $3.99. However, the former also includes quizzes, tips, empowerment guides, and the like--all of which are inexplicably absent in the app.