February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Young People First | Series Nonfiction Editorial

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

Illustration by Malina Omut

Illustration by Malina Omut


1611-sms-editor-logoInterdisciplinary study is a familiar concept to adults, but the idea that math and art or science and history are in any way related often comes as a surprise to most children and teens. Not only are these disciplines intrinsically connected but the study of one can also illuminate or mirror aspects of another. This latest crop of series nonfiction is united by a common approach to its far-ranging topics: how SMS-Farrell-Della_Editorialsystems—whether they are political, biological, technological, etc.—work, what roles students play in these structures, and the overall impact of these organizations on the larger world. Whether it is through a close-up examination of how a particular insect performs a task in service of its ecosystem or a look at the legislative branch of the U.S. government, these offerings provide readers with the opportunity to follow complex processes, make connections with other fields of study, and evaluate their place in their respective communities.

The most notable volumes within these pages explore the fluid nature of contemporary society through inclusive, well-written, and expertly researched texts. In “Innovation on the Move,” Audrey Sumser points to series that give “a nod to the past” and place “an emphasis on the present and the future.” Mary Mueller presents a similar idea in “Ever-Changing Forces.” Much of history can be boiled down to math: the way a civilization, an empire, or even a single leader may lose or gain prominence, power, visibility, and so on. Just as technology, culture, and even career opportunities change and evolve, so do attitudes toward history and politics.

As Rebecca Gueorguiev notes in “Global Citizens,” “Discovering how society works and finding one’s place in it can be an ongoing quest for children and teens.” Luckily, librarians and educators are the ideal guides for such a weighty and important journey of self-discovery. With a new president waiting in the wings, now is a perfect time to reach out to kids and teens and ensure not only that their voices are heard but also that they continue to learn and carve out places for themselves in the world.


Editor, Series Made Simple

For the latest nonfiction series reviews,
check out the Fall 2016 Series Made Simple

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2016 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