Global Citizenship | Social Science Series Nonfiction

This season’s series teach children about citizenship, charity, and kindness. Readers will also learn to study their own emotions, actions, and the important events that impact their everyday lives.


There is a lot to learn about the world around us and our place in it. At a time when our physical exploration is limited, quality books can help fill the void. This season’s series teach children about citizenship, charity, and kindness. Readers will also learn to study their own emotions, actions, and the important events that impact their everyday lives, such as the pandemic and climate change.



Conn, Marla. I Am Kind. ISBN 9781731637840.
––––. I Am Unique. ISBN 9781731637833.
––––. I Can Help. ISBN 9781731637857.
––––. I Can Share. ISBN 9781731637864.
––––. I Know the Rules. ISBN 9781731637871.
––––. I Make Good Choices. ISBN 9781731637888.
ea vol: 16p. (Kid Citizen). Rourke/Ready Readers. Aug. 2020. Tr. $22.79.
PreS-Gr 2 –Emerging readers are introduced to new vocabulary and learn how to be a good citizen. Each title begins with a photo glossary and a list of high-frequency words. Double-page photos are accompanied by a single sentence, which features one of the words from the glossary and an arrow pointing to its depiction on the page. For example, I Can Help includes a photo of a white girl with blonde hair pushing a book cart in a library. The text states, “I can help with the books,” and the word books appears again with an arrow directed to the books in the photo. Activities that involve finding a reading partner, drawing a picture, or brainstorming with the class are included. This series features BIPOC children and adults who are engaged in familiar activities and settings. VERDICT Captivating photos, repetitive language, and class activities make this a good introductory series. The focus on diversity and kindness kicks it up a notch.

Holmes, Kirsty. How Are Earthlings the Same but Different? ISBN 9780778781172.
––––. How Do Earthlings Get Along? ISBN 9780778781189.
––––. How Do Earthlings Help Each Other? ISBN 9780778781196.
––––. How Do Earthlings Look After Their ­Planet? ISBN 9780778781202.
ea vol: 24p. (Bo and Zop Learn How to Be an Earthling). Crabtree. Jul. 2020. Tr. $23.60.
K-Gr 3 –Two inquisitive aliens set out to learn all they can about earthlings. Bo and Zop investigate diversity, charity, environmentalism, and disagreements. The aliens conduct thoughtful discussions about healthy ways to deal with anger, how to show respect to others, how to improve the environment, and ways to help through charity and volunteer work. Each title provides plenty of conversation-starting content. Photos of real people feature children and adults who are BIPOC. These positive books will leave readers feeling that earthlings are pretty great. Back matter includes a glossary and an index. VERDICT Children will love the whimsical font, zany characters, and adorable graphics, but they will also gain an important and timely understanding of society.

Krekelberg, Alyssa. Doing the Right Thing: Making Responsible Decisions. ISBN 9781503844506.
––––. Finding Solutions: Problem Solving. ISBN 9781503844513.
––––. Helping Friends and Family: Taking Care of Others. ISBN 9781503844490.
––––. Know Your Feelings: Recognizing Emotions. ISBN 9781503844520.
––––. Let’s Get Along: Resolving Conflict. ISBN 9781503844582.
––––. No One Is the Same: Appreciating Differences. ISBN 9781503844568.
––––. Setting Boundaries: Learning About Healthy Relationships. ISBN 9781503844575.
––––. Stop and Think: Learning About Self-Discipline. ISBN 9781503844483.
––––. We Need Each Other: Being a Good Friend. ISBN 9781503844476.
––––. We Work Together: Learning About Teamwork. ISBN 9781503844551.
––––. When Things Get Tough: Overcoming Obstacles. ISBN 9781503844544.
––––. Worrying Too Much: Learning How to Manage Stress. ISBN 9781503844537.
ea vol: 24p. (Social and Emotional Learning). The Child’s World. Aug. 2020. Tr. $27.07.
PreS-Gr 2 –This series explains the core skills at the heart of social and emotional learning. Each title presents three short stories that depict children developing skills, such as teamwork, recognizing boundaries, conflict resolution, and self-awareness. The layout features plenty of white space and large photos. The photos include children and adults who are BIPOC. Finding Solutions: Problem Solving shows a girl wearing a hijab. Each book provides questions for discussion and self-reflection. The back matter includes a phonetic glossary, additional resources, and an index. ­VERDICT Children will find the stories familiar and easy to understand, and the discussion questions will help them develop healthy emotional responses and good social etiquette. Recommended for classrooms and libraries.

Lindeen, Mary. Being Kind to Animals. ISBN 9781684508952.
––––. Being Kind to Each Other. ISBN 9781684508921.
––––. Being Kind to Our Planet. ISBN 9781684508945.
––––. Being Kind to Yourself. ISBN 9781684508938.
ea vol: 32p. (Read & Discover-SEL). Norwood House/Beginning-to-Read. Jul. 2020. Tr. $22.60.
K-Gr 2 –This series helps young children build their social-emotional skills outside of the classroom. Full-page images are accompanied by simple sentences in clear, bold type. Each title discusses kindness—being kind of others, to animals, to the planet, and to ourselves. Children learn what acts of kindness look like in each situation. Photos feature children and adults who are BIPOC. Not all of the activities depicted will be familiar to young children, so there are plenty of topics to inspire follow-up discussion. Caregivers will find extra resources to reinforce their child’s literacy skills, including extension activities for craft and structure, content vocabulary, foundational skills, close reading, and fluency. A word list includes high-frequency and content words. This resource could help families who are taking on homeschooling or virtual learning. The text clearly explains the Common Core reading strategies, and the activities are easy to replicate at home. VERDICT An excellent resource for public libraries seeking to assist families during the pandemic.

Murray, Julie. My Adoptive Family. ISBN 9781098202217.
––––. My Military Parent. ISBN 9781098202224.
––––. My Single Parent. ISBN 9781098202231.
––––. My Two Dads. ISBN 9781098202248.
––––. My Two Homes. ISBN 9781098202255.
––––. My Two Moms. ISBN 9781098202262.
ea vol: 24p. (This Is My Family). ABDO/Abdo Kids Junior. Aug. 2020. Tr. $28.50.
PreS-Gr 2 –This series examines family diversity. Military, same-sex, divorced, and single-parent households are spotlighted. Young children are introduced to new family situations but will understand that all families love each other. Photos depict families, including children and adults who are BIPOC, taking part in familiar tasks, hobbies, and celebrations that children will be able to identify and relate to. The color scheme and simple illustrations are stylish and adorable. The back matter includes more family photos, a glossary, an index, and a code to access crafts and ­activities on ABDO’s website. However, the glossary reads like a standard dictionary and could leave kids with questions. Simplified definitions would be more helpful. VERDICT An important introduction to ­diverse families.



Bell, Samantha S. 12 Stories About Helping Immigrants and Refugees. ISBN 9781632357465.
––––. 12 Stories About Helping Seniors. ISBN 9781632357489.
––––. 12 Stories About Helping the Community. ISBN 9781632357434.
––––. 12 Stories About Helping the Planet. ISBN 9781632357472.
Hutchison, Patricia. 12 Stories About Helping after a Disaster. ISBN 9781632357441.
––––. 12 Stories About Helping Animals. ISBN 9781632357410.
––––. 12 Stories About Helping in Education. ISBN 9781632357458.
Ventura, Marne. 12 Stories About Helping Children. ISBN 9781632357427.
ea vol: 32p. (Making a Difference). Bookstaves/12-Story Library. Aug. 2020. Tr. $32.80.
Gr 3-5 –Each title in this series features 12 short but inspiring stories about individual activists and philanthropic organizations. Readers learn about the work of Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders, and Greenpeace. Rather than focusing solely on large-scale issues, the series also depicts local problems, including senior citizens who needed assistance taking care of their pets and the people who were willing to take up the challenge. The stories are diverse and include corporations, global nonprofits, businesses, small charities, celebrities, and individuals of all ages. The back matter includes a glossary, resources, an index, and a QR code. The titles would have benefited from a short introduction rather than jumping right into the narratives. VERDICT This series is less for research and more for inspiration on how to serve one’s community. Children will understand they can make a difference in the world.

Hudd, Emily. The Economic Impact of COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194030.
––––. Front-Line Heroes. ISBN 9781532194054.
Hustad, Douglas. Understanding COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194078.
––––. World Leaders During COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194085.
London, Martha. Flattening the Curve. ISBN 9781532194047.
––––. The Spread of COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194061.
ea vol: 48p. (Core Library Guide to COVID-19). ABDO/Core Library. Aug. 2020. Tr. $32.79.
Gr 4-8 –This series provides clear, factual answers about COVID-19. The titles describe the virus’s possible origin, the international response, and the impact the virus has made on different nations. The text doesn’t place blame on any individual or government but also doesn’t avoid controversial topics, such as the federal handling of the pandemic in the United States. However, controversies are not the focus of the titles. There are Common Core–aligned activities that require readers to compare the text with information from the publisher’s website and to examine public statements for supportive evidence. The back matter includes writing prompts, fast facts, a glossary, online resources, and an index. This series is an excellent alternative to the misinformation available online, but it cannot keep up with the changing circumstances. However, there is a QR code linked to updated resources. VERDICT This series gives kids a better understanding of COVID-19 and what is actually happening. An excellent classroom resource.

Reeves, Diane Lindsey with Connie Hansen. Attitude. ISBN 9781534169777.
––––. Communication. ISBN 9781534169746.
––––. Critical Thinking. ISBN 9781534169753.
––––. Etiquette. ISBN 9781534169814.
––––. Job Search. ISBN 9781534169807.
––––. Leadership. ISBN 9781534169760.
––––. Teamwork. ISBN 9781534169784.
––––. Work Ethic. ISBN 9781534169791.
ea vol: illus. by Ruth Bennett. 32p. (Soft Skills Sleuth: Investigating Life Skills Success). Cherry Lake. Aug. 2020. Tr. $29.93.
Gr 4-7 –Readers become detectives in this imaginative series. Each title examines four soft skills, including communication, critical thinking, and teamwork. Each skill is described in a short, one-page introduction followed by an illustrated scenario to investigate. For example, in a scene depicting a school dance, readers must find instances of people being courteous. Case notes, which follow the scenario, describe the good and bad behaviors that were present in the scene but do not highlight specific examples. Some of the behaviors will be difficult to distinguish, even with the visual and text clues. These books could be used for independent study or for class discussions. Back matter includes a quiz, a glossary, and an index. VERDICT This series packages lessons about soft skills as a very fun game. Recommended for classrooms.

Wood, John. The Alarming Animal Collection. ISBN 9781538259962.
––––. The Harrowing Human Gallery. ISBN 9781538260005.
––––. The Hideous House Exhibit. ISBN 9781538260043.
––––. The Nightmare Nature Tour. ISBN 9781538260081.
ea vol: illus. by Danielle Jones. 32p. (The Museum of Phobias). Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2020. Tr. $26.60.
Gr 3-6 –This silly series examines common and very uncommon phobias. Readers tour the museum and visit the scary exhibits. Each exhibit is dedicated to a phobia. The text provides the phobia’s scientific name and pronunciation, a narrative description of why someone might suffer from it, interesting facts, and a large photo related to the phobia. Each page also features goofy illustrations. There are short sections that discuss the nervous system, rational vs. irrational fear, the origins of phobias, and how to cope with and conquer them. The section “Famous People with Phobias” highlights notable figures from history who suffered from phobias. VERDICT This series presents phobias in a lighthearted way, but it does not shame those who suffer from them. Instead, these titles help readers understand that they are not alone and can learn to overcome their fears.



Braun, Eric. Brink of Extinction. ISBN 9780756566197.
––––. Surviving Social Media. ISBN 9780756566203.
ea vol: 64p. (Informed!). Capstone/Compass Point. Aug. 2020. Tr. $35.32.
Gr 5-9 –This series provides updated research material for school assignments. Both titles present a holistic overview of their topics. Brink of Extinction explains the human causes of our climate crisis, fossil fuels, overpopulation, and invasive species. Possible solutions are described, such as the Green New Deal, youth activism, and international cooperation. Surviving Social Media examines the benefits of social media as a tool for supporting causes and connecting people. The text also details social media’s negative impact on society, which can lead to misinformation, shaming, cyberbullying, trolling, and hate groups. Each title includes a glossary, critical thinking questions, further reading, source notes, a bibliography, and an index. VERDICT An informative addition to nonfiction collections, with very useful information for research assignments.

Edwards, Sue Bradford. Coronavirus: The COVID-19 Pandemic. ISBN 9781532194009.
––––. The Impeachment of Donald Trump. ISBN 9781532194016.
ea vol: 112p. (Special Reports). ABDO/Essential Library. Aug. 2020. Tr. $37.07.
Gr 6 Up –This series seeks to explain current events, and it succeeds. Both titles provide a thorough examination of the facts and key people involved. Readers will recognize buzzwords from social media and the news, but these titles put those words in context. Coronavirus focuses on the medical and social aspects of the pandemic with little mention of politics; President Trump’s impeachment is described in a fair and impartial manner. The writing can be bland for readers who are not interested in the topic, and there is not much on the page to break up the text. However, students who are motivated to learn more will not mind. As a research source, these books hit all the marks. They feature unbiased information from trusted sources. Further reading, an index, and source notes are included. VERDICT This series breaks through the conflicting narratives to give the facts about current events. Recommended for libraries.

COVID-19 is the topic on everyone’s mind this year. “Core Library Guide to COVID-19” (ABDO/Core Library) is a straightforward source, with plenty of research ideas. Surviving Social Media (Capstone/Compass Point) is a timely title to help readers understand and avoid misinformation and hate online. “Bo and Zop Learn How to Be an Earthling” (Crabtree), “Soft Skills Sleuth: Investigating Life Skills Success” (Cherry Lake), and “The Museum of Phobias” (Gareth Stevens) are fun, quirky alternatives to traditional nonfiction. “Kid Citizen” (Rourke/Ready Readers) and “Making a Difference” (Bookstaves/12-Story Library) will inspire children who are wondering what they can do for people in need during this crisis.

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