November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Taking Action and Reading Orwell | Nonfiction Series Update

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SLJ1702-NF-Series-CVsElementary

Gish, Melissa. Armadillos. ISBN 9781608187034; ISBN 9781628322996; ISBN 9781566607391.

––––. Foxes. ISBN 9781608187041; ISBN 9781628323009; ISBN 9781566607407.

––––. Manatees. ISBN 9781608187058; ISBN 9781628323016; ISBN 9781 566607414.

––––. Ostriches. ISBN 9781608187065; ISBN 9781628323023; ISBN 9781 566607421.

––––. Peacocks. ISBN 9781608187072; ISBN 9781628323030; ISBN 9781 566607438.

––––. Rays. ISBN 9781608187089; ISBN 9781628323047; ISBN 9781566607445.

––––. Sloths. ISBN 9781608187096; ISBN 9781628323054; ISBN 9781566607452.

––––. Snow Leopards. ISBN 9781608187102; ISBN 9781628323061; ISBN 9781 566607469.

ea vol: 48p. (Living Wild). bibliog. glossary. index. photos. Creative Education. Jul. 2016. lib. ed. $27.95. pap. $12. ebk. $39.95.

Gr 3-5 –Readers are introduced to a variety of animals through large, crystal clear photographs and atmospheric text (“It is just before sunrise on India’s Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau. A corsac fox silently descends a grassy slope.”). The coverage is comprehensive but accessible. Each volume ends with an “Animal Tales” spread that retells a folktale or myth surrounding the topic creature. However, the majority of the works cited in the bibliography of each title are not geared toward the intended audience of the set, making this ideal for browsers rather than report writers.

Johnson, Elizabeth R. Beluga Whales. ISBN 9781515720812.

––––. Octopuses. ISBN 9781515720805.

––––. Orcas. ISBN 9781515720799.

––––. Sea Lions. ISBN 9781515720829.

ea vol: 24p. (Sea Life). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $19.99.

PreS-Gr 1 –The main draw of this series is the bright, captivating photos of aquatic life. Each slim volume contains roughly four or five chapters and covers basic information such as physical characteristics, diet, habitat, and life cycle. The use of age-appropriate, accessible vocabulary in simply structured sentences makes this series a winner for beginning readers.

LaNeve, Sue. Social Lives of Dolphins. ISBN 9781681917009; ISBN 9781681918013.

Riley, Elliot. Social Lives of Lions. ISBN 9781681916996; ISBN 9781681918006.

––––. Social Lives of Pigs. ISBN 9781681917030; ISBN 9781681918044.

Schuh, Mari. Social Lives of Elephants. ISBN 9781681917047; ISBN 9781681918051.

Wilson, Rachel M. Social Lives of Gorillas. ISBN 9781681917023; ISBN 9781681918037.

––––. Social Lives of Meerkats. ISBN 9781681917016; ISBN 9781681918020.

ea vol: 24p. (Animal Behaviors). ebook available. further reading. glossary. photos. websites. Rourke. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $29.95. pap. $8.95.

K-Gr 3 –An exploration of the various ways different creatures interact with those within their species group. Children who are in the process of honing their social skills will appreciate the examples of young animals playing and learning together. Elephants and Gorillas feature somber moments, with conversations on how the two groups grieve deceased members of their herd or troop; photos of dead elephants and gorillas accompany these discussions, but the images are not graphic. There is one error in Lions: lions can’t purr. Also, the small illustrated map in Gorillas provides little more than a rough estimate of the areas gorillas inhabit. Absorbing fare for animal lovers.

Owen, Ruth. Astronaut: Life As a Scientist and Engineer in Space. ISBN 9781910549872; ISBN 9781910549889.

––––. Creating Visual Effects for Movies as a CGI Artist. ISBN 9781910549896; ISBN 9781910549902.

––––. Inventors: Designing and Creating Tomorrow’s World. ISBN 9781910549919; ISBN 9781910549926.

––––. Master Blasters: Working with Explosives in Demolition and Construction. ISBN 9781910549933; ISBN 9781910549940.

ea vol: 32p. (Get to Work with Science and Technology). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Bearport/Ruby Tuesday. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $19.95. ebk. $29.95.

Gr 2-4 –Though slim, each title provides enough background on its topic to give students a decent grasp on prospective job opportunities. The majority of the text focuses on current events and developments within the field (e.g., astronaut Scott Kelly’s historic year in space in Astronaut) but does backtrack to offer a general overview. Concluding “Get to Work” sections encourage kids to study the relevant subject areas and perform an experiment or action that mirrors what an actual inventor, CGI artist, etc., would do. The bright photos and up-to-date text make these fine selections for career collections.

Simons, Lisa M. Bolt. Jacqueline Woodson. ISBN 9781515735588; ISBN 9781515735632.

––––. Jerry Pinkney. ISBN 9781515735571; ISBN 9781515735625.

––––. Kadir Nelson. ISBN 9781515735564; ISBN 9781515735618.

––––. Nikki Grimes. ISBN 9781515735595; ISBN 9781515735649.

ea vol: illus. by Michael Byers. 24p. (Your Favorite Authors). chart. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $18.99. pap. $7.95.

Gr 2-4 –These volumes follow their subjects’ lives from childhood to the present, with a focus on their love of reading and creating. Major works, awards, and literary role models/influences (e.g., James Baldwin’s mentorship of Nikki Grimes) are also covered. Byers’s cover portraits and interior art are line-driven and bright. Each portrait is done in a realistic, graphic novel style. The photos of each author are well selected; however, the intermittent appearance of stock photos is jarring. Brief but appealing introductions to titans of children’s literature.

WALKER, Susan Sandvig, retel. The Gingerbread Man: A Favorite Story in Rhythm and Rhyme. illus. by Villie Karabatzia. ISBN 9781632905550.

––––. Three Little Pigs: A Favorite Story in Rhythm and Rhyme. illus. by Maxime Lebrun. ISBN 9781632905536.

ea vol: 24p. (Fairy Tale Tunes). further reading. glossary. Cantata Learning. Aug. 2016. lib. ed. $33.99.

PreS-Gr 1 –Simple fairy tales set to rhyme accompanied by a number of musical opportunities. Each book opens with a brief introductory spread and then quickly launches into a succinct if unadorned retelling. Karabatzia’s illustrations in The Gingerbread Man adeptly follow the action and the liveliness of the story, whereas Lebrun’s in Three Little Pigs are less successful. Each title comes complete with sheet music, a QR code from which educators can access the music electronically, and a CD. In the back matter, the tales are also arranged into song lyrics with labeled verses and choruses. Consider wherever fairy tale musical retellings are in high demand.

West, David & Oliver West. Dinosaurs of the Lower Cretaceous: 25 Dinosaurs from 144–127 Million Years Ago. ISBN 9781770858329; ISBN 9781770858312.

––––. Dinosaurs of the Mid-Cretaceous: 25 Dinosaurs from 121–90 Million Years Ago. ISBN 9781770858343; ISBN 9781770858336.

––––. Dinosaurs of the Middle Jurassic: 25 Dinosaurs from 175–165 Million Years Ago. ISBN 9781770858367; ISBN 9781770858350.

––––. Dinosaurs of the Upper Cretaceous: 25 Dinosaurs from 89–65 Million Years Ago. ISBN 9781770858381; ISBN 9781770858374.

––––. Dinosaurs of the Upper Jurassic: 25 Dinosaurs from 164–145 Million Years Ago. ISBN 9781770858404; ISBN 9781770858398.

––––. Dinosaurs of the Upper Triassic & the Lower Jurassic: 25 Dinosaurs from 175–165 Million Years Ago. ISBN 9781770858428; ISBN 9781770858411.

ea vol: 32p. (Dinosaurs). glossary. illus. index. Firefly. Oct. 2016. lib. ed. $16.95. pap. $6.95.

Gr 3-7 –Resembling a pared-down version of DK’s single-volume books, each title provides a brief overview of the topic period before profiling 25 dinosaurs from that era. The text details each beast’s approximate height and weight, its diet, its time on Earth, its notable physical features, and where fossil remains have been found. The illustrations are all CGI; however, there is a wide range in quality. The inclusion of a figure for size comparison, though smart, is mostly ineffective, as actual measurements are not provided. For the most dinosaur-hungry students only.

SLJ1702-NF-Series-CVs-2Middle to High School

Abramovitz, Melissa. Hate Crimes in America. ISBN 9781680783964.

Capek, Michael. The Syrian Conflict. ISBN 9781680783988.

Edwards, Sue Bradford. The Zika Virus. ISBN 9781680784008.

Hand, Carol. Gun Control and the Second Amendment. ISBN 9781680783957.

Higgins, Melissa & Michael Regan. The Gender Wage Gap. ISBN 9781680783940.

Hulick, Kathryn. Fracking. ISBN 9781680783933.

Laine, Carolee. The War on Poverty. ISBN 9781680783995.

Oachs, Emily Rose. The Rising Cost of Education. ISBN 9781680783971.

ea vol: 112p. (Special Reports). bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. ABDO. Dec. 2016. lib. ed. $24.95.

Gr 9 Up –Pertinent political and social issues are well defined and explored in this comprehensive set. The narratives are balanced and present much of the information plainly. When it comes to contentious issues, the authors provide a variety of viewpoints with equal respect to each side. “From the Headlines” sidebars point to specific examples from recent events that best exemplify a related idea or argument. Considering the timeliness of many of the subjects featured, these volumes are sure to be well used by teens for research and personal edification.

Borus, Audrey. Reading and Interpreting the Works of George Orwell. ISBN 9780766083547.

Clinton, Greg. Reading and Interpreting the Works of Jhumpa Lahiri. ISBN 9780766083646.

Pasachoff, Naomi. Reading and Interpreting the Works of T.S. Eliot. ISBN 9780766083561.

ea vol: 176p. (Lit Crit Guides). further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Enslow. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $39.93.

Gr 9 Up –These guides seek to provide students with the critical framework necessary to approach literary texts with understanding and ease. Each volume follows a similar format: the author is first profiled before a segue into a brief but thorough analysis of several of their most notable and high school–friendly, works. Eliot contains far more biographical information than the other two titles; Lahiri features a chapter-long dissemination on the concepts of culture, national identity, and Western colonialism; and Orwell continually links the discussion back to Orwell’s precise use of language and to the relevance of his writings in relation to contemporary figures like Edward Snowden. School libraries should consider each title individually as it relates to English curricula.

Braun, Eric. Taking Action for Civil and Political Rights. ISBN 9781467793940.

––––. Taking Action To Help the Environment. ISBN 9781467793926.

––––. Taking Action To Improve People’s Health. ISBN 9781467793957.

Lawson, Sabrina. Taking Action To Improve Schools. ISBN 9781467793933.

ea vol: 48p. (Who’s Changing the World?). bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Lerner. Sept. 2016. lib. ed. $33.32.

Gr 4-7 –A bright launching pad for tweens looking for social justice causes and accompanying role models. Titles open with an introduction to activism related to the topic and move on to profile a number of kids, teens, and adults who have created lasting change. Readers will meet young people like Joshua Wong, who at 15 organized a 120,000-person protest in response to the Chinese government’s interference in Hong Kong’s education system. Featuring a diverse mix of age ranges, nationalities, genders, and ethnicities of those profiled, this series is a winner for collections in need of quality, inspirational materials on contemporary activists.

Goddu, Krystyna Poray. Native Peoples of the Great Basin. ISBN 9781467783101.

––––. Native Peoples of the Northwest. ISBN 9781467779395.

––––. Native Peoples of the Plateau. ISBN 9781467783095.

Kallen, Stuart A. Native Peoples of the Arctic. ISBN 9781467779371.

––––. Native Peoples of the Subarctic. ISBN 9781467779388.

Lowery, Linda. Native Peoples of California. ISBN 9781467779326.

––––. Native Peoples of the Plains. ISBN 9781467779340.

––––. Native Peoples of the Southeast. ISBN 9781467779357.

––––. Native Peoples of the Southwest. ISBN 9781467779364.

Sonneborn, Liz. Native Peoples of the Northeast. ISBN 9781467779333.

ea vol: 48p. (North American Indian Nations). chart. diag. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. websites. Lerner. Sept. 2016. lib. ed. $33.32.

Gr 4-7 –Content is focused (no overlong discussions of European and white settlers) and includes an examination of contemporary issues facing various nations. However, while charts, diagrams, and maps make an effort to showcase the individuality of each nation within a region, the books do occasionally generalize, and the repeated use of the past tense throughout the series may be confusing for readers (“Southwest Indian peoples were artistic.”). In each title, an editor’s note lists various consultants, some of whom are tribal members. Consider this series for its scope and to refresh collections.

Robertson, James I. The Wild West: 1804–1890. ISBN 9780789212603.

––––. World War II: 1939–1945. ISBN 9780789212610.

ea vol: illus. by Mort Künstler. 48p. (See American History). chron. Abbeville. Nov. 2016. lib. ed. $13.95.

Gr 4-7 –More episodic than overview, these volumes highlight key events or cultural shifts. Every spread introduces a new topic; however, not much effort is made to link the entries together (World War II moves from the American campaign in North Africa to the Holocaust to D-Day in just three spreads). Offensive attitudes toward Native Americans persist in Wild West, the introduction even asserting that they were “conquered” by pioneers. Not recommended.

Skelton, J. Wallace. Transphobia: Deal with It and Be a Gender Transcender. illus. by Nick Johnson. 48p. (Deal with It). Lorimer. Jan. 2017. lib ed. $22.65. ISBN 9781459407664.

Gr 5 Up –A Canadian import on how to identify transphobic behavior and actively work to protect oneself and others from it. Johnson’s comic book–like characters and occasional use of panels give the work a contemporary feel, even though the overall design is a bit scattered. Quizzes prompt students to think about their own thoughts and actions, with an emphasis on taking safe steps when resolving real-life situations. In addition, Skelton reminds readers that transphobia can intersect with sexism, homophobia, and other types of discrimination. A timely selection.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Della Farrell About Della Farrell

Della Farrell is an Assistant Editor at School Library Journal and Editor of Series Made Simple

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