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You Are...

How to identify strengths and develop them for better self-esteem, life and future?

You are… is a comprehensive set of learning material for identifying and developing one’s own strengths as well as those of peers and groups. It is based on the books of Finnish writer Jenni Pääskysaari, author of Girl, You Are... (Otava Publishing Company Ltd., 2015) and Boy, you are... (Otava Publishing Company Ltd., 2016). The material can be used as a tool for phenomenon-based learning under the theme of well-being.

Finland 100


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100






March 2017
I learned that I am braver than I thought. The exercises in the book made me feel self-confident.

About the innovation

What is it all about?

Identifying your strengths is not only an important factor in the development of self-knowledge, but also one of the key factors for self-acceptance, therefore becoming more balanced with oneself and others.

By practising to identify their own and others' strengths, a child or a young person learns to encounter diversity and understand people around them. Skills to identify and develop strengths help children and young people not only to cope, but also to embrace who they are in the midst of expectations and even unpredictable changes.

Girl, You Are ... (2015) and Boy, You Are ... (2016) focus on improving children’s strengths. The main message of the books is to encourage children and young people, to support self-awareness, gender sensitivity, equality and everyone's freedom to be exactly who they want to be.

The books have succeeded addressing an unspoken need that speaks to both children and adults alike. Many children and young people who have read the books have experienced that they have helped , for instance, in a difficult life situation or in becoming a bit more courageous and merciful to themselves. The books are thought to say all the things that every growing young person should hear.

The You Are… learning material was made based on the books and the feedback they received. The You Are... book includes exercises for students that are easy to take in, fun and impactful and which help teachers identify strengths and discover themes around self-knowledge in depth. The material is suitable for both classrooms and other groups of children and adolescents.

The aim of the exercises is to become a mentally healthy, more courageous, more open and confident individual, and a group where one’s own, peers’ and the whole group’s strengths are identified, maintained and developed in everyday life.

The Girl, You Are... and Boy, You Are... books are already in use by many teachers and other professionals in the field of child and youth work. They serve as tools for everyday encounters with children and young people. The books were on the best-selling list of Finnish children's and youth books for a long time.

The steps provide you with instructions for acquiring the material and how to use it.

Students’ experiences from the You Are… material:

“I learned new things about myself."
"I learned that I am braver than I thought. The tasks made me feel confident. "
"I learned to be happy with myself."
"It was really nice and memorable. You got to think about different things. "
"I learned that people see a lot of good things in others."
"I learned a few words."
"I learned that everything or almost everything can be affected."
"Everyone has good attributes."

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


You Are… provides quality content and exercises that are easily integrated into teaching and which are in line with the reformed curriculum.


Students learn to recognize their own, peers’ and group strengths, which improves self-knowledge and team spirit.


Materials are available in Finnish from Otava Education learning materials. Interested parties can contact the innovation contact person for materials in other languages.

Implementation steps

Ordering the learning material
Order the material and get acquainted with the books beforehand.

The books are available in Finnish from Otava Education Material. If you are interested in ordering them in English, contact the innovation contact person.


  • Girl You Are… RRP €19,40 
  • Boy You Are… RRP €20,20 
  • You Are… exercise book RRP €5,40 
Choosing a theme
Choose a subject or theme for your group to explore, based on the books and exercise books.

The themes of the exercise book are:

  • I work
  • I dream 
  • I admire
  • I develop
  • I live 
Plan your schedule
Plan your schedule and use of time.

Consider whether you want to explore the theme you choose more systematically and in-depth or if you only need an icebreaker for handling a certain theme.

Sometimes an incident in the class may cause the need for discussion, and even a short exercise might help. On the other hand, you can provide time to discuss the topics with students regularly, for example, a lesson per month.

Exploring the material
Explore the material with your students.

Hand out the You Are… exercise books. Also provide the students an opportunity to examine the Girl, You Are… and Boy, You Are… books.

Let the students choose for themselves, which book they want to examine. The content of the books is essentially the same, but some of the texts are slightly different and different people have been interviewed for the books. Despite the titles, anyone can read both books.

Exploring the books doesn’t require much time, but you can also use as many lessons as you want for going through them. You can also let students decide which themes are discussed together.

Doing the exercises
Do individual, pair, and group exercises in a positive atmosphere without forcing anyone.

An individual exercise example

Choose a title that interests you from one of the two books.. Read the text and do the related exercises in the "You are ..." exercise book.

A pair or group exercise example

Together, think about and write what the following words mean:

  • persistent

  • creative
  • energetic
  • empathic
  • brave

Also think about how you could become more

  • persistent
  • creative
  • energetic
  • empathic
  • brave
Feedback discussion
Finally, it is important to have a feedback discussion together.

During the feedback discussion, it is good to go through the following things:

  • What did you learn?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What did you learn about your pair?
  • What do you learn about your group?
  • Were the goals set for the exercises accomplished?
  • How did it feel to do the exercises?
  • Which exercise was easy?
  • Which exercise was difficult?
  • Why did exercises seem easy or difficult?

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