December 14, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Doing and Feeling Good: Social Science | Series Made Simple Spring 2013

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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities,” says Albus Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. What the wise wizard (and his creator) understands is that children face difficult decisions every day. While the particulars may differ among generations and locales, the essential issues remain the same: our actions have consequences and the easy choices are not always the right ones. These series aim to provide readers with the tools to make smart decisions for themselves, their communities, and their world. Special focus is placed on current topics, including bullying, the environment, and technology literacy.

Preschool-Grade 4

BARRACLOUGH, Sue. Be an Eco Hero at Home. ISBN 978-1-59771-379-5. LC 2011049897.
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Be an Eco Hero at School. ISBN 978-1-59771-381-8. LC 2011049894.
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Be an Eco Hero on the Move. ISBN 978-1-59771-380-1. LC 2011049896.
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Be an Eco Hero Outdoors. ISBN 978-1-59771-382-5. LC 2011049895.
ea vol: 30p. (Be an Eco Hero Series). glossary. illus. index. photos. websites. Sea-to-Sea. 2013. PLB $25.65.
Gr 2-3
–This brightly colored, approachable series teaches introductory ecology and conservation principles based in familiar settings. Spreads cover subtopics in a few simple sentences, allowing young readers to easily grasp new vocabulary words (which are set apart in bold text) and ideas. The many large color photos complement the text and side boxes list practical ways for kids to make an impact (e.g., “Turn off lights in empty rooms”). Superhero cartoon characters provide redundant tips and unnecessary encouragements, but may be appealing to reluctant readers. Final spreads suggest activities, such as asking an adult to help write letters to local authorities and planting trees, to reinforce learning. End materials include lists of reliable websites for further research and glossaries with thorough definitions but no pronunciation guides. While too short for reports, this series is engaging enough to be read and enjoyed independently.

FERGUSON, Addy. Are You a Bully? ISBN 978-1-4488-9666-0; ISBN 978-1-4488-9905-0. LC 2012022940.
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Bullying with Words: Teasing, Name-Calling, and Rumors. ISBN 978-1-4488-9670-7; ISBN 978-1-4488-9909-8.
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Group Bullying: Exclusion and Ganging Up. ISBN 978-1-4488-9669-1; ISBN 978-1-4488-9908-1.
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Online Bullying. ISBN 978-1-4488-9668-4; ISBN 978-1-4488-9907-4. LC 2012025151.
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What to Do if You Are Bullied. ISBN 978-1-4488-9665-3; ISBN 978-1-4488-9904-3. LC 2012018696.
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What You Can Do to Stop Bullying. ISBN 978-1-4488-9667-7; ISBN 978-1-4488-9906-7. LC 2012024146.
ea vol: 24p. (Stand Up: Bullying Prevention Series). glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen/PowerKids Pr. 2013. PLB $22.60; ebook $22.60.
Gr 2-3
–While these books confront different aspects of bullying, much of the information is repeated across the set. Most volumes emphasize that bystanders are part of the problem, encourage readers to team up with their friends to stop bad behavior, mention creating bully-free schools, and end with a page discussing respect and/or summarizing key points. The information and advice are solid; all the titles suggest telling an adult. What You Can Do lets readers know that if someone seems disinclined to help them they shouldn’t give up. However, students will have to slog through many pages to get to information about the titular topic. Though bullies may not pick up Are You a Bully? voluntarily, students assigned to read it will find sympathetic advice on gaining the trust of those whom they hurt, as well as self-forgiveness. Captioned color photos illustrate the pages. Elementary schools and public libraries should pick and choose individual volumes as needed.

HEAD, Honor. Family and Friends. ISBN 978-1-59771-397-9. LC 2011052698.
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Healthy Eating. ISBN 978-1-59771-394-8. LC 2011052695.
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Internet Safety. ISBN 978-1-59771-398-6. LC 2011052699.
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Keeping Clean. ISBN 978-1-59771-395-5. LC 2011052696.
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Keeping Fit. ISBN 978-1-59771-396-2. LC 2011052697.
ea vol: 30p. (Let’s Read and Talk About… Series). glossary. index. photos. Sea-to-Sea. 2013. PLB $28.50.
Gr 3-4
Each spread in this appealing series raises and answers one broad question about social and physical health and a handful of related queries, providing information that is succinct yet satisfying. “Talk About” text boxes offer age-appropriate conversation starters, which are especially valuable for parents and classroom teachers dealing with tough subjects such as bullying and divorce. Sporadic “Take Action” text boxes encourage readers to employ their new knowledge–e.g., change compromised online passwords or have a bread-tasting session. Each volume also has a page dedicated to questions stemming from the book as a whole. The texts are  supported by robust glossaries, labeled diagrams, and captioned color photographs of multicultural children. Family is notable for its inclusion of nontraditional families (including same-sex and foster) as well as its breadth of topics covered.

KAWA, Katie. I Feel Happy. ISBN 978-1-4339-8107-4; ISBN 978-1-4339-8110-4. LC 2012020648.
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I Feel Lonely. ISBN 978-1-4339-8111-1; ISBN 978-1-4339-8114-2. LC 2012019214.
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I Feel Mad. ISBN 978-1-4339-8115-9; ISBN 978-1-4339-8118-0. LC 2012019213.
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I Feel Sad. ISBN 978-1-4339-8119-7; ISBN 978-1-4339-8122-7. LC 2012019212.
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I Feel Scared. ISBN 978-1-4339-8123-4; ISBN 978-1-4339-8126-5. LC 2012019211.
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I Feel Worried. ISBN 978-1-4339-8127-2; ISBN 978-1-4339-8130-2. LC 2012019209.
ea vol: 24p. (How Do I Feel? Series). glossary. illus. index. Gareth Stevens. 2013. PLB $22.60; ebook $22.60.
PreS-Gr 1
–Each volume in this mediocre set introduces a basic emotion through a story about a common childhood event. For example, a boy feels sad when he has to move and a girl feels lonely when her friends are not at the park. The table of contents refers to chapter headings that do not exist in the text. On each spread, the verso contains simple sentences that are appropriate in structure and vocabulary for emerging readers, and the recto show an unattractive cartoon illustration. Vocabulary words are occasionally defined in context; the picture glossaries, which do not have verbal definitions, frequently include items young readers would already know and omit the more difficult words. Given that this series will only be marginally helpful with the Common Core State Standards, Todd Parr’s The Feelings Book (Little, Brown, 2000) is just as good and more enjoyable.

RAATMA, Lucia. Cyberbullying. ISBN 978-0-531-25522-3; ISBN 978-0-531-23922-3. LC 2012036048.
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Good Manners. ISBN 978-0-531-25523-0; ISBN 978-0-531-23923-0. LC 2012036003.
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Making Smart Choices. ISBN 978-0-531-25524-7; ISBN 978-0-531-23924-7. LC 2012036005.
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Stop Bullying. ISBN 978-0-531-25521-6; ISBN 978-0-531-23921-6. LC 2012036006.
ea vol: 48p. (A True Book: Guides to Life Series). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Children’s Press. 2013. PLB $29.00; pap. $6.95.
Gr 3-4
–This subset falls short. Choppy sentences in long paragraphs are accompanied by large, color photographs. “The Big Truth!” sections in the center of each volume have full-spread photos with text boxes containing facts and/or advice (e.g., “Having fun? Great! But don’t chew with your mouth open.”) Each volume has an absurdly short and arbitrary time line: for example, the one in Manners starts with Emily Post’s etiquette guide as one of four important events named, but the politeness professional herself is never mentioned in the text. It also includes the launch of Facebook (mentioned once in the text as a place where gossip may be spread), but gives no additional information as to its relevance. Simplistic true-or-false questions are answered on the “True Statistics” page, which gives no sources for its figures. While two volumes are devoted to bullying, Smart Choices crams in many topics, including nutrition, exercise, drugs, alcohol, stress, etc. All of the topics addressed in here are better covered in extant series.

RISSMAN, Rebecca. Should Bella Go to Bed?: Staying Healthy. ISBN 978-1-4329-7255-4; ISBN 978-1-4329-7256-1.
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Should Billy Brush His Teeth?: Taking Care of Yourself. ISBN 978-1-4329-7239-4; ISBN 978-1-4329-7245-5.
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Should Charlotte Share?: Being a Good Friend. ISBN 978-1-4329-7238-7; ISBN 978-1-4329-7244-8.
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Should Henry Wear a Helmet?: Staying Safe. ISBN 978-1-4329-7241-7; ISBN 978-1-4329-7247-9.
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Should Theo Say Thank You?: Being Respectful. ISBN 978-1-4329-7240-0; ISBN 978-1-4329-7246-2.
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Should Wendy Walk the Dog?: Taking Care of Your Pets. ISBN 978-1-4329-7237-0; ISBN 978-1-4329-7243-1.
ea vol: 24p. (What Would You Do? Series). glossary. index. photos. Heinemann. 2013. PLB $21.50; pap. $5.99.
PreS-Gr 1
–Six children of diverse backgrounds face choices about health, safety, and personal responsibility. Each volume starts by explaining that choices have consequences and reminding readers to ask themselves if their decisions will have good or bad effects. Four scenarios follow, each using a few simple, repetitive sentences to describe the characters’ options, accompanied by large color photos that mirror the text. Each scenario ends with a “What Would YOU Have Done?” section that describes the consequences of each choice and encourages readers think for themselves. These sections have smaller type, significantly more complex vocabulary, and longer sentences than the others, but the accompanying photos help convey the main ideas. Additional materials include a picture glossary with definitions and a note for parents and teachers suggesting pre- and post-reading activities. These short, relatable books will be at home in any public or elementary library.

THOMAS, Isabel. Dealing with Feeling Angry. ISBN 978-1-4329-7103-8; ISBN 978-1-4329-7112-0. LC 2012008275.
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Dealing with Feeling Caring. ISBN 978-1-4329-7104-5; ISBN 978-1-4329-7113-7. LC 2012008276.
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Dealing with Feeling Happy. ISBN 978-1-4329-7105-2; ISBN 978-1-4329-7114-4. LC 2012008277.
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Dealing with Feeling Jealous. ISBN 978-1-4329-7106-9; ISBN 978-1-4329-7115-1. LC 2012008278.
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Dealing with Feeling Proud. ISBN 978-1-4329-7107-6; ISBN 978-1-4329-7116-8. LC 2012008394.
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Dealing with Feeling Sad. illus. ISBN 978-1-4329-7108-3; ISBN 978-1-4329-7117-5. LC 2012008395.
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Dealing with Feeling Shy. ISBN 978-1-4329-7109-0; ISBN 978-1-4329-7118-2. LC 2012008396.
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Dealing with Feeling Worried. ISBN 978-1-4329-7110-6; ISBN 978-1-4329-7119-9. LC 2012008397.
ea vol: illus. by Clare Elsom. 24p. (Dealing with Feeling… Series). further reading. glossary. index. websites. Heinemann. 2013. PLB $22.65; pap. $6.49.
Gr 1-2
–This community-minded series aims to help readers identify common emotions they or others might have. Students are assured that it’s normal and acceptable to feel negative feelings, but they must be expressed in ways that are not hurtful to others. Jealous, Proud, Sad, and Shy are notable for their nuanced treatment of complex affects. The multicultural casts of expressive cartoon characters are depicted in numerous situations. Each volume contains a “Toolbox” activity that advises readers to write down ways to maintain good feelings and dispel bad ones. This series’ greatest weaknesses are an overly stylized font and the vague glossary definition of “feeling.” Nevertheless, its content is Common Core State Standards ready and will instill self-awareness in children, meriting inclusion in elementary school libraries.

Grades 5 & Up

ALLEN, Kathy. Cell Phone Safety. ISBN 978-1-4296-9945-7; ISBN 978-1-62065-796-6. LC 2012020252.
SCHRIER
, Allyson Valentine. Gaming Safely. ISBN 978-1-4296-9946-4; ISBN 978-1-62065-800-0. LC 2012029268.
SCHWARTZ
, Heather E. Cyberbullying. ISBN 978-1-4296-9944-0; ISBN 978-1-62065-798-0. LC 2012020253.
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Safe Social Networking. ISBN 978-1-4296-9943-3; ISBN 978-1-62065-802-4. LC 2012026027.
ea vol: 32p. (Fact Finders: Tech Safety Smarts Series). further reading. glossary. illus. index. photos. websites. Capstone. 2013. PLB $26.65; pap. $7.95.
Gr 4-6
–While each volume in this series focuses on a different area, similar message are found in all of them: think before you send, follow the rules, keep private information safe, don’t be a bully, and don’t be afraid to ask an adult for help. Beyond these basics, important topics covered include monitoring one’s online presence; the role of real money in virtual games; the risk of using social networking apps on a cell phone; and the key to a solid username and password. Each title also includes a reminder to unplug and enjoy real life. Bold charts and graphics and large color photos and images add a magazinelike twist to the textbook format. “In the News” text boxes relate anecdotes and facts while “Talk About It” boxes offer up scenarios to prompt critical thinking and excellent home or school conversations. Vocabulary words are in bold and defined at the bottoms of the pages on which they appear as well as in glossaries with pronunciation guides. Must-have titles for reports and self-education alike.

GOGERLY, Liz. A Teen Guide to Eco-Fashion. ISBN 978-1-4329-7045-1; ISBN 978-1-4329-7050-5. LC 2012009954.
GREEN
, Jen. A Teen Guide to Eco-Gardening, Food, and Cooking. ISBN 978-1-4329-7046-8; ISBN 978-1-4329-7051-2. LC 2012009955.
MORRIS
, Neil. A Teen Guide to Eco-Leisure. ISBN 978-1-4329-7047-5; ISBN 978-1-4329-7052-9. LC 2012009965.
SENKER
, Cath. A Teen Guide to Being Eco in Your Community. ISBN 978-1-4329-7044-4; ISBN 978-1-4329-7049-9. LC 2012009949.
ea vol: 56p. (Eco Guides Series). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Heinemann. 2013. PLB $33.50; pap. $9.49.
Gr 7-10
–These information-packed guides have a clear message: When it comes to being eco, you don’t have to do everything, but there is no excuse for doing nothing. Teens with a variety of interests will find ways to go green–from revamping old clothing to buying locally grown food to organizing a community litter pick-up. Short sections of text (many cleanly divided by bulletin points), numerous sidebars, captioned color photos, charts, and diagrams will keep readers engaged. Case studies of innovative youth-run projects around the world, math formulas to calculate water flow, and detailed projects lend this series to use in various curriculum areas. Extra materials include quizzes, suggestions for further learning, and an ample index. Though the many links included in the texts may give this set a limited shelf life, and there has been a lot published on this topic, these titles meet Common Core State Standards and are a smart choice for librarians looking to replenish or replace materials.


Several of these series merit first purchase. Those making selections for elementary school students will want Heinemann’s “What Would You Do?” and “Dealing with Feeling…”.  Both series instill self-awareness by reminding children that their actions impact others around them. For older students, Sea-to-Sea’s “Let’s Read and Talk About” is notable for its many discussion topics and extra activities. Capstone’s “Fact Finders: Tech Safety Smarts” is a stand-out, offering late-elementary and middle-school readers an engaging, informative look at technology literacy without being alarmist or condescending. Heinemann’s “Eco Guides” is a fantastic addition to young adult collections; teens with a special interest in ecology will read these voluntarily, and teachers will be drawn to the cross-curriculum activities and wealth of information.

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