Dating dancing dreams and dilemmas

Jaclyn Moriarty discovered, aged six, how her secret rage at the injustices of life had been transformed into a book called encouraged her to take risks and celebrate her teenage mistakes; and Julia Lawrinson’s entertaining account of her obsessive identification with Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Most of these writers were already familiar to me, but I’d never heard of Catherine Johnson and now I feel a pressing need to read some of her children’s books, in which she says she “made sure to put children like me [that is, mixed-race kids] right in there, riding horses, wearing those amazing frocks, and mostly having adventures, just like everyone else.” There was plenty of book nostalgia for me to wallow in (Dr Seuss!

At school, Jason is bullied for being clever, sensitive and worst of all, a stammerer.

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Read extracts from her real secret teenage diaries and the stories she wrote as a teenager, to build up a fascinating picture of a real teenager and her inner life.

Covering issues as diverse as the songs she dance A wonderfully written and engaging memoir of Jacqueline Wilson's life as a teenager - her problems with her family, first love, her school life and her friends.

My Secret Diary Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Sharratt 9781486248995.

He spends a great deal of time and energy hiding his true self, engaging in stupid and self-destructive stunts in (mostly futile) attempts to show how “hard” he is.

Other favourite pieces were those which had something in common with my own experiences.