Fearless

Authored by Liam Hackett
Illustrated by Mike Perry
Published by Hachette

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Fearless or Fear Less, is a friendly self-help book for teenagers, written by Liam Hackett, founder and CEO of  the anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label

The book is written out of personal experience. Liam talks about being bullied at school and the moral strength he derived from his grandma’s advise ‘you have to fake confidence until you make it.’ Seven chapters deal with common adolescent fears. Fear of: Being Yourself, Being Judged, Not Fitting In, Your Emotions, Expressing Yourself, Being a Failure and Not Being Good Enough.

The chapters include some introductory science. For example, the chapter about the fear of being judged sets out to explain unconscious bias before relating the ideas to everyday examples. An Ask Liam section takes the form of an Agony Uncle column, and there are some top tips to train your unconscious bias to be kinder. Expert voices provide a range of perspectives.

Mike Perry’s psychedelic illustrations are bright and upbeat, and the design is ultra-cool.  It is a great pity that the illustrator doesn’t get a cover credit because the illustration is integral to the overall look and feel of the book.

The pop-culture references will make the book date quickly, but they are also what gives it currency and appeal and therefore, unavoidable. While older teenagers will likely know much of what is covered in this book, it will serve as a useful reminder, and younger teenagers will find plenty of handy information to support them, if they are having a difficult time, particularly regarding self-esteem and identity issues.

You can listen to Liam talk this book and the work of Ditch the Label, the young people’s charity that he founded In the Reading Corner podcast here.