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Highs!: Over 150 Ways to Feel Really, Really Good...without Alcohol or Other Drugs

Highs!: Over 150 Ways to Feel Really, Really Good...without Alcohol or Other Drugs

by Alex J. Packer, Pamela Espeland (Editor), Jeff Tolbert (Illustrator), Pamela Espeland, Jeff Tolbert (Illustrator)

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
This enjoyable guide for teenagers offers many useful suggestions for finding pleasure naturally instead of through drug use. The author argues that "getting high" is a normal and universal desire, born of humans' need to experience physical satisfaction and alternative states of consciousness. However, he urges teenagers to reject illicit and potentially harmful substances. Instead, he provides a range of alternate options, from aromatherapy, to gardening, to roller coasters, to prayer--running the gamut from internal to external explorations, from cheap to expensive, and from individual to group pursuits. The author's compassionate and realistic view of the modern teenager's stressful life, filled with personal insecurity and public demands, is commendable. In addition, his tone is light, witty, and pleasantly modest. The organization of the book is user-friendly. Each chapter contains useful scientific information, humorous quotations from both famous and ordinary persons, results of surveys regarding teenagers' opinions, and sidebars of associated facts. Step-by-step instructions and related books and web sites are also included. Overall it is a marvelous resource for teens in need of healthy and creative ways to spend their time. 2000, Free Spirit Publishing, Ages 12 up, $14.95. Reviewer: Michele Gable—Children's Literature
People take drugs to experience an altered state of mind. Packer directs kids to ways by which they can reach a similar high naturally, without the use of alcohol or other drugs. He divides his suggestions into three main sections: serenity highs, physical and sensuous highs, and social, spiritual and creative highs. The ideas range from simple and inexpensive suggestions that anyone might try, such as deep breathing, to those that take more resources in terms of time and money, such as ultra-light flying. For each idea, Packer lists references for further information, usually one or two books and a couple of Web sites. Although Packer attempts to be objective and inclusive, his personal experiences shape which ideas receive the most attention. In the sections on serenity highs and spiritual highs, Buddhism is the only religion mentioned by name, ignoring the benefits that other religions might provide in this area. Packer writes in an informal, slightly sarcastic style that will appeal to teens. After describing a "ten power yell," he says, "if your parents ask you about the noise they keep hearing at 7:15 every morning, put on a quizzical expression and say, 'Noise? What noise?'" This practical book could be incorporated into peer counseling or drug education programs. Although it might not appeal without pushing to teens, those who do pick it up are sure to find at least one idea they would like to try. Index. Illus. Biblio. Further Reading. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, FreeSpirit, 251p, $14.95 Oversize pb. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Libby Bergstrom

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

Packer—an educator and psychologist—has written a funny, informative book primarily for teenagers that is chock-full of ideas for reducing stress and having fun. These 150+ "highs" are divided into three sections: "serenity highs" (e.g., progressive relaxation and yoga), "physical/sensuous highs" (everything from roller coasters to facials) and "social/spiritual/creative highs" (from sleeping under the stars to learning about your family history), and there's something here for everyone. Packer heads up a company that provides drug education programs, so the reference to abstinence in the subtitle is understandable ("over 150 ways to feel really, really good. without alcohol and other drugs"), but may be a bit misleading. This is a great handbook for lifting anyone's spirits (teens or young-hearted adults), whether or not substance use is an issue. Other nice features include loads of fascinating facts and tips (you'll not only learn how to enjoy a lightning storm, but pick up interesting trivia about lightning and tips on how to protect yourself), inspirational quotes (by such diverse founts of wisdom as Mother Teresa, Miss Manners, Hank Aaron, and Henry Thoreau) in every margin, and an extensive list of further readings. Last but not least, Jeff Tolbert's cartoons reinforce Packer's humorous tone, and you'll find yourself smiling a lot as you read the book—probably from cover to cover. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2000, Free Spirit, 251p, illus, bibliog, index, 24cm, 99-057189, $14.95. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Gloria Levine; Freelance Education Writer, Potomac, MD, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Packer does for teen life skills what he did for teen etiquette in his irreverent, humorous, and wise How Rude! The Teenagers' Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior and Not Grossing People Out (Free Spirit, 1997). Highs! is crammed cover to cover with advice, but it's much more than a preachy tome on alternatives to drugs. The first three chapters are on stress reduction, breathing exercises, and how to meditate. The author then proceeds to cover everything from high-minded "highs" like Zen koans and fractals to flat out fun "highs" like creating optical illusions. Shaded text boxes and charts provide fascinating additional information, ideas, and points of view. Numerous "Find Out More" sections point readers to additional materials and Web sites. Written with wisdom and wit, the author brings together an amazing collection of things to do to live a better, fuller life. This is one of the best life-skills books on the market, and it should be on every teenager's bookshelf.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.32(w) x 9.29(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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