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Journal Buddies
A Girl's Journal for Sharing and Celebrating Magnificence

by Jill Schoenberg Girma

      Jill Schoenberg Girma's Journal Buddies: A Girl's Journal for Sharing and Celebrating Magnificence is a great tool for a beginner who is just learning to journal. There are thirty, four-page journal entries. Each one has a saying for the day and a focus word to write about. Girma has provided brief instructions for how to approach the writing, with the view of doing an entry every day for thirty days. Her method requires that the writer work with one buddy for the thirty days, a few different buddies, or a different one for each entry. This provides an outside voice for offering positive feedback about the journal writer. This is where the journal writer receives positive strokes and learns about her own magnificence. Therefore, there is space in every entry for the journal writer to write down three positive traits a journal buddy has said about her and for the journal writer to also write down three positive traits about her buddy.

Girma takes this positive journaling experience one step farther by providing a means to reflect on what the journal writer has discovered. There are pages for the journal writer to list her favorite qualities, as well as her buddy's favorite qualities. These are narrowed down further. Then the journal writer discusses what she likes about her buddy and why and what she has learned about herself. This kind of analysis gives the journaling process substance and just isn't an exercise in writing positive words.

I think that Girma's concept is right-on-the-money because it really helps to focus on the good things about oneself. We tend, sometimes, to use journals and diaries as a means to complain about other people or to beat ourselves up when something goes wrong. Focusing on positive traits keeps the journal writer looking at what makes her wonderful and special as a human being. I did feel, however, that it might be difficult to try to find three different traits every day, especially if the journal writer was using only one buddy. I also felt that people would need to know the journal writer well in order to say more things than that she was nice or friendly.

I think Journal Buddies: A Girl's Journal for Sharing and Celebrating Magnifiience is a great tool for schools, confirmation and Sunday school classes, or clubs to use. Coupled with some sort of activity (perhaps one surrounding the focus word for the day), the journaling process might deepen. Both the journal writer and her buddy would discover more about each other. This, of course, would be something teachers and counselors might consider using for group work.

The Book

Blue Sky at Night Publishing
June 2005
Trade paperback
Children's nonfiction, self-help journal / Age Group: 9-12 years
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2005
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!, Relaxation Techniques for Children, Relaxation Techniques for Adults; Co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook, Get Rich on Love, and Sacred Breath (a sound recording of relaxation meditations).
© 2005