Annie Fox Books...

Middle School Confidential ™

Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

by Annie Fox, M.Ed., Illustrated by Matt Kindt
Free Spirit Publishing


Just the books you need to tackle middle schoolBe Confident in Who You Are... introduces us to Jen, Jack, Michelle, Chris, Mateo and Abby—your average, normal teens who go to Milldale Middle School. Young readers are introduced to body beefs, something we'd all like to change about ourselves; how to deal with teasing; mental movies; losing control and much more. Be Confident in Who You Are will have young readers feeling as though they're hanging out with their friends, talking about some of the issues that affect them most and how to deal with them.

“What I really love about these books is how they blend graphic novel with nonfiction advice. Bottom line is that they’re cool. The books are full of full-color illustrations, quotes from real teens, fun quizzes, and tips and insider tools for staying strong through the rough spots.Young readers will be able to relate to the teens in the book and will feel as though they’re having a conversation with their friends. Entering middle school can be tough, which is why it’s great to have a series like this that middle graders can turn to.” More »

National Children’s Books,
Lori Calabrese, June, 2011


“Never preachy or parental, Fox writes from a place of genuine concern for the younger generation, in a style that is both upbeat and down to earth. Add in Fox’s expertise, and you’ll find books that speak to the heart of everything that matters to the tween population.

Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are (Middle School Confidential™ series) addresses body image, fitting in, advertising’s effect on teens, dealing with teasing and bullying, normalizing thoughts, setting limits, anger, assumptions, fact -vs.- opinion, and self-esteem, amongst other things.

“I particularly love the ‘Mental Movies’ part, where Fox walks tweens through how to “unplug” from negative thinking patterns.

“[This book] is chock-full from cover to cover with such great information. I was so impressed with the sheer number of issues that Fox tackled and even more surprised on how truly user-friendly and digestible the information was.

“[Be Confident in Who You Are] should be on the bookshelves of every middle school counselor and parent of tweens.” More »

Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD
Founder, Kidlutions and Spin-Doctor Parenting
December, 2009


“Regardless how much I (or the school counselor) tried to help and soothe their insecurities, my [middle school] students were rarely satisfied and struggled daily to fit in. In their eyes we were, after all, ‘clueless’ grownups who were out of touch with today’s middle school realities. We can try to relate. We can even pull up painful memories from the past and share our stories. However, while the advice we give can be helpful, kids will appreciate and relate better with ideas and advice from other kids their own age.

“This is exactly what Annie Fox’s easy to read Middle School Confidential series provides. I had the opportunity to read book one of the series, Be Confident in Who You Are, and was hooked from page one.

“The book is both a visual and intellectual treat. Boys and girls learn how to deal with bullies, friendships and self esteem issues while navigating pages written partly in graphic-novel style and designed to look like a magazine. This will certainly attract habitual and reluctant readers alike!” More »

Prisca Rodriguez, Once Upon a Book, October, 2009


“Annie Fox has had her eyes and ears attuned to what is bugging teens and is the Terra of ‘Hey Terra’ an advice column on This first book in the series, Middle School Confidential, uses the letters from her advice column as the genesis for a guide to self awareness and how to find the core of your being. How to defend yourself from hurtful comments, how to understand the effects that people's comments have on you, how to know yourself.

“The book has been written in a style that recognizes the short attention span that teens may have. It picks up easily, and within two or three pages you get the gist of what is being discussed so that even a casual glance at the pages yields useful information. The pointed topics listed in the contents seem to come out of the mouths of the teems themselves, ‘Sometimes I Worry What Other People Think’, ‘Sometimes I Just Lose It.’

“Chapters confront topics in a vibrant mix of styles: there is the story in comic book formant; short introductory paragraphs with straightforward questions; quotes from the letters to Terra (aka Annie Fox) and a very helpful bibliography listing books and websites. Advice is kept short and caring. At no time will the readers feel they are being preached to.

“A helpful book for teens.” More »

Games4Girls, August, 2009


“When their bodies and minds slide into puberty, adolescents need a boost of confidence. They can find it in Annie Fox’s Middle School Confidential, Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are...

“Give this book to any middle school student. Give it to their parents, teachers, and coaches. If you are a middle school teacher, use it in your classroom or let students read it and share what they discovered in an extra-curricular activity.

“This common-sense guide is a great tool for building personal confidence and letting it propel you through the murk of other’s expectations. Be confident at any age. Annie Fox’s Middle School Confidential series can help.” More »

B. Lynn Goodwin,, July, 2009


“After having the opportunity to read and review her book, The Teen Survival Guide to Dating & Relating, I jumped happily at the opportunity to review Annie’s book, Middle School Confidential, Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are.

“Middle schoolers seem to have additional pressures put on them than did we parents at their age. Understanding themselves and being confident in who they are will help them deal with these pressures in a positive manner. Annie’s book is yet another valuable and positive contribution toward this goal.” More »

Nova Ordner, Root and Sprout, May, 2009


“Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle are just your average kids trying to figure our how to get through adolescence. Mateo is picked on because of his height. Abby has weight issues. Michelle has angry outbursts. And they all suffer from the ‘opinionator’—the inner critic that pops up at inopportune times to make them feel bad about themselves and their abilities. As the teens push through the fog that can be middle school, they help each other to gain confidence. The six start to take a stand against negative voices—internal and external—and stop defining themselves by others’ opinions. The book contains quizzes, is chock-full of helpful hints, and lists other resources to help readers increase their self-esteem. Kindt’s cartoons include several great panels that move the teens’ stories forward. The graphic-novel-like design will make this self-help tool stand out and appeal to fans of that format.

School Library Journal, January, 2009


“Most adults still shiver a little when the subject of middle school comes up. It is a time of the most polarizing extremes as we first begin to question everything we have been told and everything we thought we knew on our path toward becoming our true and individual selves. This new book is a welcome guide for kids from ages 11-14 by Annie Fox, an online adviser at The InSite.

“I like the way she makes it clear up front that there is no one way to be and no one right answer by focusing not on one generic kid or on a lot of generalized rules but creating six different characters to illustrate different situations and responses.” More »

Nell Minow, Movie Mom, January 25, 2009


“Middle School can be a bit scary but the book Middle School Confidential, Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are by Annie Fox may help. This books, written in graphic novel form, is not only real and funny but gives tips and tools to help you deal with real life issues.” More »

Wendy, Youth Librarian, Woodbine Public Library, January 16, 2009


“For more than 25 years, Free Spirit Publishing has been providing children (and their parents) with practical information on making the most of childhood and troubleshooting various stages of development. Middle School Confidential, Book 1: Be Confident in Who You Are, is a wonderful addition to the Free Spirit lineup.

“The book is written and illustrated for tweens, and offers quite a bit of information on making it through the tumultuous middle school years. The author, Annie Fox, is an experienced educator and she understands the drama that preteens face on a daily basis. Her book is refreshing because she manages to engage the reader with a warm, friendly voice and never lectures or speaks down to them.

“The book’s graphic novel-style illustrations makes the book fun and easy to get through. It’s one of the few books available for tweens that speaks equally to boys and girls.

“This is Fox’s first in a series of books aimed at the tween market, and this introduction to the Middle School Confidential series focuses on helping middle schoolers maintain or establish confidence in themselves. In addition, Fox helps the reader understand many misunderstood emotions experienced by tweens, including stress, anger, and isolation.

“The book scatters comments by real life tweens throughout. Quizzes, bulleted lists, and graphic illustrations make the important points, without overwhelming the reader. Quizzes include: Am I the Boss of My Anger?; How Do You Relieve Stress?; What I Like About Myself, and Dealing with Teasing.

“Fox even addresses how advertisers attempt to manipulate the tween brain, and she points out ways tweens can improve their own friendship skills.” More »

Jennifer O’Donnell, Tweens


“Let’s face it, life can be cool and it can be stressful. No matter the age. Being deeply involved professionally in girls’ learning and having two sons who managed to navigate middle school, I was wonderfully impressed by Annie’s ability to find common-ground issues and still be able to render gender meaningful advice. She is a wise counselor and delivers advice with straight-forward honesty and with a compassionate understanding of circumstances and personalities. She thinks with, but never speaks down to her readers. The book is playfully designed in a format that fully engages the reader with its mix of cartoon conversations, advice columns, teen-age voices, and resources (be he/she a teen or toppling over the fifty mark). The underlying message? No one’s perfect. But it’s worth a try as we smooth our rough edges. And Middle School Confidential is there to help.
“Well done. We are pleased to recommend that the book be placed on our school bookshelves.”

Meg Milne Moulton, Executive Director,
National Coalition of Girls’ Schools


“They say it takes a whole village to raise a child, but we’ve got to raise the whole child in the village, not just the brain that walks off the bus. Annie Fox’s work is truly a work of genius that helps middle school kids and their families with their emotions.”

Michael Pritchard, PBS Host and Author


“Annie Fox knows kids, and Middle School Confidential is smart and funny and real. The tips and tools will help you deal with real issues: popularity, body image, peer pressure, anger, confusion, stress, loving yourself and gaining confidence. I wish I’d read this when I was in middle school!”

Ericka Lutz, author of
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Friendship for Teens


“Nine out of ten people agree, that Middle School can be the toughest period in a young person’s life. Beyond raging hormones and a body growing in strange and mysterious ways, some of the meanest things in the world can happen in Middle School. The way a young person handles that time can have a significant impact on that person’s worldview for years to come. We feel that it is a key social justice issue for young people to be empowered, confident, brave, and safe and this wonderful book by our friends at Free Spirit can help a young person in that journey. This graphic book (comic book style for those of us who grew up a while ago) should be slipped into every new middle-schoolers backpack or under his or her pillow.” More »

Reach and Teach


Middle School Confidential is exciting, bold and different. I wish I had this book to help me when I was in the throes of school cliques and mean girls. Each character and tip section are extremely real for teens and kids who need someone to relate to. Wonderful Annie Fox!”

Vanessa Van Petten, author of You’re Grounded!: How to Stop Fighting and Make the Teenage Years Easier and creator of


“Annie Fox’s Middle School Confidential is a rare book that speaks directly to teenagers without ever condescending. Annie understands that being a teen is complicated and that advice from other kids your age can make all the difference in the world. Through the six key characters in the book, readers are provided with authentic conundrums around issues of confidence that are common (but seldom simple) for Middle School-aged young people. For many students, this book will be a turning-point in self-reflection and in understanding how peers can influence how you feel. I heartily recommend Middle School Confidential to young people, educators, and even parents!”

—John Carlstroem, Head of Black Pine Circle School


“Annie Fox speaks in a simple, believable, warm way to today’s kids. Because she’s listened to so many teens so well, she understands them and talks in a way they can hear, not just because she’s clear, or because she has obvious insight and wisdom, but because she loves kids. In her latest book, Annie has addressed issues so many kids face – self-consciousness about appearance, friendship, bullying, yearning for acceptance and freedom to do what they want. I give my highest recommendation for teens to get this book, along with anyone who has a teen or works with teens—keep it handy, it rings true.”

—Ann H. McCormick, PhD, founder and CEO, Learning Friends, Inc.


Middle School Confidential … is just wonderful. I love that it deals with the real issues that I have heard middle school students express at the schools I supervise and in the school I was in as a principal. I think the language the students speak is also very true-to-life, and the overall format of the book is extremely well-structured and easy to both read and use. One big ‘plus’ is that this structure allows the user to pick and choose the dilemmas or issues they want to address from throughout the book, rather than feeling obligated to plough on through from beginning to end. I can imagine that both adults and students will find this book to be extremely helpful, pertinent, and user-friendly.”

—Harriet R. MacLean, Ed.D. Executive Officer, Middle Schools Network 2
Oakland Unified School District


“Parents… At last, a practical, useful advice book for middle schoolers on how to be "cool", how to deal with anger, and how to ‘like who you are.’ A copy of this book will help your youth win the battle for self.

And kids… Learn to become a self-advocate. Discover how other teens deal with cutting remarks and bullies, plus turn a critical inner voice into an encouraging one. Share this book with your friends and develop a more supportive school environment.”

—Anabel L. Jensen, Ph.D.
President, Six Seconds EQ Network


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