You Can Choose Your Own Life

Valerie Kaur



with Barbara Kerr and Barry Sommer


This Global Read was held on July 13th, 2022 at 4pm Pacific Time.

Click here to watch the recording!




Middle-school kids face new and difficult challenges at a time when they are experimenting with independence from parents and teachers. They may find themselves confronting new decisions: Should I go to a party where I know there will be drugs or alcohol? Should I talk to someone about my problems at home? Do I want to audition for the school play? In recent years, these challenges have increased with the growth of technology and social media: What do I do about someone bullying me on social media? Should I limit the time I spend gaming online?

How can we help our kids make good decisions to resolve the issues they face?

You Can Choose Your Own LifeStories for Decision Making introduces students to a model for sound, emotionally intelligent decision-making. Five realistic scenarios engage young readers in making decisions and immediately learning the consequences of whatever choices they have made. Placing themselves in the shoes of other kids their age, readers make a series of decisions (each one with consequences and another decision point), eventually leading to short-term and long-term predictions based on their pattern of decisions.
Five interactive stories are included in You Can Choose Your Own Life:
  • Who’s in Charge? (managing embarrassment and anger)
  • Drinking at the School Dance (managing peer pressure and substance abuse)
  • All in the Family (coping with domestic violence)
  • Are We Ready for This? (responding to a crush)
  • Cyberbullying is Still Bullying (dealing with cyberbullying)
You Can Choose Your Own Life: Stories for Decision Making can be enjoyed by students individually or as part of a facilitated learning situation with a teacher or guide. An instructor’s manual, included at the back of the book, provides suggestions for discussion topics as well as a model for responsible decision-making--an important component of current social and emotional learning (SEL) programs.
Barbara Kerr, Ph.D., and Barry Sommer have written a wonderful book for middle schoolers, their teachers, and their counselors. You Can Choose Your Own Life, Stories for Decision Making, first published by Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. is being released in its second edition.
BarbaraBarbara Kerr, Ph.D. is the owner of Emotional Intelligence Insights. She has published a workbook based on the course, Emotional Intelligence for a Compassionate World: Workbook for Enhancing Emotional Intelligence Skills. In addition to earning her doctorate in English, Barbara has completed a post-graduate training course as a Master Certified Executive Coach. She taught and was a tenured professor at College of the Sequoias, and later served as a consultant to colleges and universities in Washington State. She is the author of an adult novel, Letters to My Husband’s Analyst; a non-fiction book on reading.
barry sommer
Barry Sommer is an educational psychologist, marriage, family and child therapist, and consultant in private practice in Visalia, California. Barry is the director of special education for the Pixley Union School District and has served as the prevention consultant to Visalia Unified School District and as facilitator of the Tulare County Delinquency Prevention Council and the City of Visalia Self-esteem Task Force. Training and consultation to schools, business, and health organizations balance his professional time.

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