Jessica Speer’s middle-grade book, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships grew out of her friendship program that strengthens social awareness and helps kids learn to navigate common struggles. She has a master’s degree in social sciences and explores social-emotional topics in ways that connect with pre-teens and teens.

Cover of the book BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends) A Girls Guide to Happy Friendship by Jessica Speer
Book Cover: BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girl’s Guide to Happy Friendships, written by Jessica Speer and illustrated by Elowyn Dickerson

Book Summary: Let’s face it, friendships can be challenging. BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girls Guide to Happy Friendships tackles friendship struggles head-on, leaving readers (ages 8-12) informed and empowered as they navigate the tricky world of friendship.

Through fun activities, quizzes, and real stories, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends) helps girls decipher healthy vs. unhealthy relationship skills and how to navigate struggles. But more importantly, this book gives girls a new perspective on friendship and the role they play in creating positive change.

BFF or NRF Book Reviews-

“With the recent emphasis on social-emotional learning, this guide discusses friendship in an accessible way.”

School Library Journal

“BFF or NRF is definitely the book that I wish I had when I was in elementary and middle school! A generation ago, girls were not educated about friendships and bullying. Now, as a mother of a teen girl, I know from personal experience that navigating these tween years can be tricky. Here is a great solution and guide! Jessica Speer combines colorful illustrations and fun fonts with useful quizzes, checklists, relatable anecdotes, and quotes from girls to make this workbook engaging, useful, and a perfect toolbox for these tumultuous years. I encourage every mom to get a copy and hand it to their tween daughter as soon as humanly possible.”

Cynthia C. Muchnick, M.A., Co-Author of The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness and Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World, The Everything Guide to Study Skills and many other education-related titles

“BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends): A Girl’s Guide to Happy Friendships takes a thoughtful and joyful approach that appeals to young teens and tweens but also to parents, grandparents, educators, and others interested in the well-being of young people. The advice in this delightful book is practical but also fun, written in a conversational style, and is a great resource to have around the house. It contains real-life situations, vignettes, scenarios, advice from other kids, practicing techniques, and fun quizzes to help readers remember the most important lessons. In other words, this isn’t another preachy tell-you-what-to-do book. It’s a friendly, interactive guidebook that shares how young people can learn about friendship and connection.”

Libby Kiszner, Columnist, Educator, and Author of Dear Libby – Will You Answer My Questions About Friendship? and other books

“My favorite part of the book was the author’s discussion of nine common sense truths about friends and friendships.  I’ll share the basic truths here so you can fall in love with them like I did…” 

Reading for Sanity Reviews

“BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends): A Girl’s Guide to Happy Friendships by Jessica Speer is an interactive and fun tool to help elementary and middle school girls connect and find true friendships that will grow into lifelong bonds while avoiding toxic and damaging relationships. This wonderful book discusses all aspects of friendship and empowers readers to evaluate their relationships, and will help to create good habits for the future.  A must-read for any pre-teen girl!”

Kimberlee Gard, Children’s Author

Releasing August 2022!

Middle School: Safety Goggles Advised

Book Cover: Middle School - Safety Goggles Advised
Final Book Cover to be Revealed in 2021

Book Summary: Take a large group of kids in puberty, send them to a new school, and add a generous dose of tests, homework, and hormones, not to mention diverse personalities, bland food, and unpleasant odors. That’s middle school, and it can be a little . . . weird.

Yes, there are cool things about middle school, like more independence, new friends, and new activities. But there’s baffling stuff too, like harsh judgment, the whole “popularity” thing, and, of course, drama. With insights from hundreds of students, this guidebook explores the halls of middle school, especially the odd behaviors that lurk in the shadows. Slip on your lab coats, because we’re going to explore these behaviors one by one to understand what’s really going on. With fun illustrations and choose-your-own-adventure-style scenarios, Middle School: Safety Goggles Advised will help you deal with the drama and define who you are and how to navigate life when things get, well, weird.

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