Human beings love survivor stories. Whether it's Robinson Crusoe or Tom Hanks' Castaway, the popular TV shows Lost and Survivor or the latest true-adventure story, survivors fascinate us, excite us, and inspire us.
The books in this series offer a collection of all kinds of survivors, from teenage cancer survivors to survivors of the Holocaust, survivors of domestic abuse to terrorism survivors.
Young readers will discover that they have much to learn from these real-life stories, because survivors of all sorts share some things in common: the ability to rise above their circumstances,
a creative drive that transforms even the most difficult circumstances into opportunities, and the flexibility to roll with the punches and adapt to challenges.
According to psychologist Andrew Kleiman, the consultant for this series, teenagers often find themselves in "survivor mode": the circumstances of their lives-physically, emotionally, and socially-call on them to face crises that demand character skills similar to those needed to face more extreme life events. These books offer teens opportunities to apply important lessons to their own lives; at the same time, the nonfiction stories will fascinate young adult readers, including reluctant readers, while the stories also expand readers' awareness of historical and cultural events in the world where they live. Color photography adds immediacy to these survivor tales, and helps readers visualize the events and individuals described in the books.
Cancer-even the word is scary. For those who have been diagnosed with cancer, or with other serious diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, or diabetes, and for their families, the world can suddenly be frightening, confusing, and unpredictable. When such a diagnosis is given, however, an entire team of people springs into action; doctors, nurses, social workers, and others all step in to do everything they can to help make sure that person survives, and not simply survives the disease but goes on to become a healthy and thriving individual.
In this book, you will read the stories of courageous young people who have faced cancer and other diseases. They have had to give up things they truly enjoyed. They have had to endure invasive tests, chemotherapy, and surgeries. Their lives have been changed forever, but, on the whole, they feel they have become better people as they have battled to overcome their disease. For all of them, coming so close to death has changed the way they look at life. You can learn from their experiences as well, and even if you never go through anything similar, the things they have learned can help you deal with the issues you face in your own life.
Sharks have always fascinated people. From sea monsters drawn on the margins of old maps to the terrifying mood music of Jaws, people have often thought of sharks as unpredictable, man-eating beasts. And when a shark attacks a swimmer or surfer, leaving them dead or maimed, this fear is reinforced. But is this really an accurate view of sharks? Sure, they are dangerous creatures, but they are not evil and the more you know about them, the less you need to fear them.
You can read here about how sharks have been perceived throughout history, about famous shark attacks, and about survivors of shark attacks, like surfer Bethany Hamilton. By learning about different kinds of sharks and their habits, you will come to respect them as a vital part of the ocean's ecosystem. By reading about the best ways to avoid being attacked by a shark, you will see how to be safe from them without living in fear. And by understanding the kinds of things that help a person survive a traumatic event like a shark attack, you can learn how to better thrive in your own life.
Our gender is part of who we are. Being male or female-or how male or female a person acts-should not make life more dangerous. And yet it does. Traditionally, women have been known as the weaker sex, and while this is not literally true, women often face dangers men do not. In some parts of the world, such as the Congo, rape is used as a weapon, an intimidation tactic to control the population. In some areas, a woman can be killed for bringing shame on her family, for crimes as minor as removing a veil or talking to a man. In the name of tradition-or of beauty-women's bodies have been bound or altered, with corsets, foot bindings, female genital mutilation, or high-heeled shoes. Women have also generally held lower paying jobs-and are paid less for the same jobs-and they have done the majority of housework and child raising, whether or not they work outside the home as well.
Gender crimes do not stop at women. Sexual orientation can also put people at risk for discrimination and attacks. Transgender people are especially at risk, as some people feel threatened by those they cannot fit into a neat gender category.
From those who have struggled with gender prejudices, discrimination, and outright attacks, we can become aware of the kinds of things people all around us deal with. Perhaps you are dealing with some of these things yourself, but even if you are not, those who have overcome gender dangers have much to teach us.
Whatever the reasons behind a war, there are always going to be people who are caught in the middle, people whose lives are changed forever. Whether the soldiers who fight in the war or the civilians who must try to survive the conflict that rages around them, war can be devastating.
Wars have been going on for as long as anyone can remember, and no part of the world has been exempt. Today, there are thousands of survivors of recent wars living in the world today. They come from Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States, and from across the rest of the world. Many carry the physical and emotional scars from their experiences. Some have lost their homes. All have had their view of the world changed. So how did they survive? And how do they continue to cope with their experiences and their losses?
The people in this book have gone through terrible things. Some have seen their families killed in front of them, others have killed both soldiers and civilians. What have they learned from the things they have gone through? The things they have discovered about themselves and about the world can show you things about your own life, even if you never experience anything similar.
The world is a beautiful place, but sometimes nature can turn deadly. Disasters can strike without warning. Tornadoes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes are only a few of the natural disasters unleashed by the earth. In ancient times, people often thought of the earth as a mother who nourished her children and provided for them. In return, people respected and cared for the earth. Today, this is rarely people's viewpoint.
Natural disasters have always been a part of life on earth, but as the world's population has increased and people have become increasingly industrialized, their effects have become more devastating. Surviving a natural disaster is often a matter of chance, but what happens next is a matter of choice. Will you choose to live your life in fear, terrified of where and when the next blow will fall? Or will you learn from your experience, gaining a perspective about what is truly important in life?
Here, you can read about people who did experience natural disasters, and hear what they have to say about how their lives have changed as a result. And even if you never experience the fury of nature's wrath, the truths these survivors have learned are still relevant in whatever "natural disasters" you are experiencing in your own life.
The Holocaust was one of the darkest times in recent Western history. Filled with prejudices and hatred, the Nazis tried to exterminate all those they thought of as lesser than themselves. The Jews bore the brunt of the Nazis' hatred, but other groups were targeted as well: Roma, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the physically and mentally disabled, black people, along with anyone who disagreed with the Nazis' political ideas. Approximately ten million were killed-starved, beaten, shot, and gassed.
Those who survived the Holocaust spent years trying to work through what had happened to them. They had experienced brutality and dehumanization at the hands of other human beings, including their own neighbors and former friends. They had seen their parents, children, sisters, and brothers pulled away from them and sent to their deaths, or even killed in front of them.
How does a person survive such a thing? How do they make themselves keep going in the face of such hatred? And, having lived, how do they deal with their pain? Can anything good come out of such an experience? Here you will read the stories of some of those who did survive the Holocaust. The things that helped them survive and the ways they have coped in the years since will speak to your own life and the situations you face every day.
School is supposed to be a safe place where students and their friends can study and learn about the world around them. But what about when it isn't safe? School shootings like those in Columbine and Virginia Tech have made many fearful about what might happen at school. For others, bullying has made school a nightmare place they dread going to every day.
What have those who survived situations like these done with their experiences? How have they used their pain to grow into stronger people, to reach out to others in need, to change the world a little bit? Trying to make something good out of their traumatic experience is part of the healing process for many survivors.
Here, you can read about survivors of school shootings and how they have responded to their situation. You can read about some of the many people who dealt with cruel bullying during their time at school, but who overcame this and went on to find success in their lives. These survivors have a message for each of you, a message of hope that's important whether or not you ever experience the kinds of things they have gone through.
Life is full of trouble and difficulties, but it is also full of beauty and joy. Every day you face your own set of problems. Every day, you deal with these issues, struggling through them, working to survive and become a stronger and better person.
People who have survived difficult or terrible things have much to teach us. Facing cancer, natural disasters, domestic abuse, and violence, these survivors' lives have been changed forever. As they dealt with their experiences, they discovered things about their own lives and their view of the world changed. What possible good could come out of such things? What could we learn from those who have survived these things?
The skills these survivors have learned from their experiences can give you the tools to deal with the struggles and difficulties you face in your own life. The things they have gone through are often terrible, but they have chosen to learn from them and grow through them, finding hope and something positive in the middle of pain and disaster.
Terrorism has become one of the most pressing concerns of our day. For over a century, some radical groups have used terrorist attacks to draw attention to their causes, using violence to get their voices heard. Although the purpose of these groups is to grab the attention of a government and force it to consider their demands for change, the people caught in the middle of a terrorist attack usually know or care little about the political reasons behind the violence.
In some parts of the world, terrorist attacks, such as bombings, are almost a way of life. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans became very concerned about terrorism as well. For those whose lives have been forever changed by terrorism-someone who has survived a suicide bombing in Israel or Palestine or someone who lived through the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, for example-the political reasons for the attack are secondary to the effects on their lives. Even if you never experience a terrorist attack, the stories of those who have and how they have coped afterward can teach you things about your own life and the things that you face everyday.
What does it mean to be a survivor? To be the one who lives when someone else has died? Going on after the death of a friend or family member is something everyone will likely have to face at some point in their life. Sometimes the survivor feels guilty: Why did I live when they did not? When a person is one of the few survivors of a large disaster, this feeling can be amplified. Sometimes there is anger, anger at any person or group who can be blamed for the death, including anger at oneself or even at the person who has died.
Whenever a person is close to death, they have to work through many emotions. As many find a way to go on, they struggle to somehow make the death or deaths meaningful. Sometimes this means honoring the person who has died with one's own life. Sometimes it means working to change the situations or circumstances that led to the tragedy. Healing is a process, and survivors all work through their emotions in their own way and at their own pace.
This book includes the stories of a few of these survivors. Whether they lost friends and family when a mountain of coal waste collapsed and buried an elementary school, or whether they had a sibling die in an accident or of natural causes, these survivors experienced similar emotions and learned to look at life in new ways. Their experiences can speak to you in your own life, whether or not you are dealing with losses like theirs.
What is racism? How does it feel to have people make assumptions or judgments about you because of your race? Most of you have probably experienced racism to some extent. Even when the assumption is about something positive-black people are all great singers, Asians are really smart-it doesn't feel good to be judged by what you are rather than by who you are. Often, people have to deal with prejudices that are far more negative than these. Sometimes these racial ideas are spoken outright, and sometimes they are much more subtle. Many people have racial prejudices they do not even realize they have, but the attitudes still come out when they deal with people of different races.
The people in this book have all faced racism. They have been looked down on because of their race, shouldered out of the way by those who believed they were somehow less intelligent or less worthy of human rights. But these people have survived. Many of them still struggle against racial prejudices, refusing to let the beliefs of others determine how they will live their lives. Their stories will speak to you as well. Whatever the prejudices you face in your own life, whether because of race or because of another reason, you will be challenged by these survivors and by their stories.
Home is supposed to be a safe place. A place where you can go to relax and to get away from the troubles of the outside world. But for too many, home is not a safe place at all. In fact, for some it is a place where the most terrifying things in their lives happen, and yet they are trapped there, because it is home.
Domestic violence is a huge problem, and it comes in different forms. From child abuse to domestic partner abuse to elder abuse, they all involve abuses by someone who should be one of the kindest and most loving people in a person's life. Abuse can be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or financial, each type leaving its own scars on those who have experienced it.
Those who have lived through domestic violence, who have survived and struggled to move beyond their past experiences, have much to tell us about their experiences. From them, we can learn how to recognize the signs of abuse and what to do when abuse is happening. As we read their stories, we can see, too, what these survivors have learned from their experiences and what they want to say to you.
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