Inspiring Tweens book cover

You Are Your Own Best Teacher!

Sparking the Curiosity, Imagination and Intellect of Tweens

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About the Author

CLAIRE NADER is a political scientist and author recognized for her work on the impact of science on society. She is an advocate for numerous causes at the local, national and international level. As the first social scientist working at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, she joined pioneering initiatives in energy conservation and the multifaceted connections between science, technology and public policy. While at Oak Ridge she organized a groundbreaking global conference (1967) on Science and Technology in Developing Countries and co-edited the conference proceedings with Professor A.B. Zahlan (Cambridge University Press, 1969). Later she worked to improve corporate and governmental policies affecting communities through a variety of projects and nonprofit institutions. For ten years she chaired the Council for Responsible Genetics in Cambridge, MA. She founded the Winsted Health Center Foundation advocating for locally controlled health care. And for thirty- two years she has administered the Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage in Washington, D.C. Informed civic participation for a renewable democracy is at the core of her missions as a synergistic public citizen. Nader is a graduate of Smith College and holds a Ph.D. in Public Law and Government from Columbia University.

About the Book

You Are Your Own Best Teacher! provides a remarkable variety of teachable antidotes to the punishing forces bearing down on youngsters from harmful marketing, the insidious grip of ‘virtual reality’ and the tyranny of peer groups. Apprehensive parents and burdened teachers will delight in the lessons of this book for Tweens (nine to twelve year olds). It will spark their innate curiosity, imagination and idealism. Tweens, who are whipsawed by relentless distractions, profit-driven manipulations and oncoming addictions, are guided toward elevating their own sense of significance, protection and realizable achievements. Through this process of discovery, they explore wider frames of reference with roles inside and outside the family environment.

Many motivating stories from history to the present make Claire Nader’s gentle nudges toward self-educational experiences exciting. She takes children on a tour of the print dictionary, highlighting concepts such as justice, freedom, peace, wisdom and gratitude. She introduces the young to Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass and Helen Keller to illustrate their profound awareness and discipline. By addressing Tween self-consciousness, the book takes youngsters on new explorations about being “smart” to learn about their own bodies, pressing for physical activity, eating smartly, controlling their time and avoiding hours glued to hypnotic screens. By explaining the importance of learning to unlearn and ask questions such as “what if?” and “why?” she encourages Tweens to teach themselves to distinguish fact from fiction, thinking from believing, respect from disrespect, all of which will prepare them for the realities they will face as they grow older.

This book doesn’t talk down to Tweens. The author shows they are capable of understanding the perils of “click on” contracts and their rights under tort law. Self- teaching to build their confidence is also heartening for parents who feel deeply the loss of parental upbringing to the stupefying seductions of video-driven hucksters. The book offers suggestions to encourage communing more with nature, enriching family discussions, retrieving the wisdom of the ancients, using proverbs and extending the ability of children to concentrate. Teachers understand the benefits of self-education that enhance the vitality of their classrooms.

Nader speaks to Tweens about their futures as active young citizens, skeptical shoppers and life-long learners. Her suggestions will equip Tweens to better handle their turbulent adolescent years and later apply their skills to further the common good and protect posterity.

With a calming sense of humor, Nader’s You Are Your Own Best Teacher! will bring out the best from our inherently eager youngsters. This book showcases refreshing connections between parents and children, and reveals many serious shortcomings of formal education, which can be easily remedied.


Praise for the book

In this unique volume, Claire Nader speaks to the next generation, the leaders who will be. In Indigenous thinking there is a clear mandate to raise leaders, and not coddle the next generation, understanding that we must consider the impact of our decisions on the seven generations ahead—intergenerational responsibility. In times of chaos, Nader illuminates the power of youth, and their creative minds to challenge practices that most adults have accepted as a pre-ordained reality. She reminds her readers that the strongest skill in the face of these times lies with our youth change makers; and their access to imagination and creativity. Great changes are made when these innate gifts are combined with critical thinking and courage. Miigwech..

Claire Nader has issued a clarion call to our society’s youth to harness their imagination and follow their own path forward. You Are Your Own Best Teacher! is a bold, inspiring invitation to children to embrace inner strengths and forge the positive future the world so desperately needs.

If you are a tween or a family member seeking empowering ideas and inspiration in these tough times, Claire Nader’s book is for you. She reminds us of the power of tweens—those who develop questioning minds, character, courage and idealism— to change our world. Think Greta!

You Are Your Own Best Teacher!, Claire Nader’s guide for the young and their families, deserves an honored place in every household. Her voice is one of compassion and experience, her words serve as a knowledgeable antidote for the conflicting swirl of our troubled times.

Claire Nader has written an engaging book about the need for children to allow themselves the freedom to see the world with fresh,wide-open eyes and to ask the candid and irreverent questions that journalists too seldom dare to ask in their interviews with potentates and powers. It lovingly reminds them of their right to speak without self-censorship and to ‘open their own doors and windows’ to see beyond the narrow range of official verities too frequently promoted and rigidified within the nation’s schools.

Should we be surprised that young people, such as Greta Thunberg, Leah Namugerwa, and Jamie Margolin sparked the largest climate demonstrations in history? No, says Claire Nader, who in this engaging, surprising, and wise book, explains why young people are so often moral beacons and effective social actors. Highly recommended to help tweens develop their natural leadership abilities, and for we adults too, to remember who we were at that age.

Claire Nader’s book will surprise and excite ‘tweens’ about the power they have to make a difference in our corporate- dominated world. But adult readers will also be awakened and empowered by this beautifully crafted book. Her wisdom brings a smile to your face and essential insight for these grim times. You Are Your Own Best Teacher! is truly a book for all ages.

Claire Nader’s, You Are Your Own Best Teacher!, is a sage, inspiring, and illuminating book. Written in a conversational style and directed to tweens, the book is an especially valuable tool for parents and teachers who want to help children make smart choices that will equip them to lead satisfying, meaningful lives while growing up and as adult members of their communities.

The book highlights the importance of self-education on how to achieve ‘a life well-lived’ to arguably the most important generation of our times. The narrative style of the work has many sections, each of which provides important lessons. The book is exciting to read and I will recommend it to my ten- year-old grandson to stimulate his own critical thinking and self-education through concentration, imagination, curiosity, and empathy.

Claire Nader has written an inspirational book for young people that empowers this special age group to call on their creativity and moral sensibility to see—and change—the world around them. It is a welcome, loving antidote to the corporate and social-media forces that ‘sell’ young people as a product.

Tweens like to be included in the conversation, spoken to like adults. Nader does not talk down to them. She speaks to them as equals and reminds them of all the great things they can do now and in the future. She inspires them with amazing deeds that have been performed by kids their own age and goes on to open doors for them to be great themselves. This is not just a ‘How to’ book, it leads by example of others who have gone before and covers lots of territory: health, personal hygiene, history— ancestors, becoming an ancestor yourself, laws, justice, nature, animals, to mention a few. I was inspired to look up the famous quote from Margaret Mead which I will now misquote: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed kids can change the world; it’s among the only things that ever have.

This work by Claire Nader is extraordinary. She comments on a myriad of issues in a way that children can understand. More importantly, she illuminates the misleading practices of adults and renders sage advice. She integrates contemporary and historical examples to make her points come alive. All in all, this book is full of wisdom—more than any other I have read in my 76 years on this earth. And it is written with subtle humor and the clever use of examples. I wish I could have read it to my two sons. None of us would fall asleep and all of us would grow wiser.

An important book that will stimulate today’s social media- saturated kids to put down their phones and realize that they can change the world now by harnessing their natural curiosity and imagination, and opening their minds to knowledge that cannot be learned in the classroom