Health from Head to Toe | Health & the Human Body Series Nonfiction

This season’s series examine a range of topics, from helping early readers manage their feelings to providing critical information to teens about mental health issues. Those wishing to update their collections or support student research will find useful and timely resources.


This season’s series examine a range of topics, from helping early readers manage their feelings to providing critical information to teens about mental health issues. Several series address student curiosity and anxiety about COVID-19, providing explanations and coping strategies. Others look at body systems using augmented reality; some include photos of flesh-eating bacterial infections to depict microorganisms. Cognitive skills, emotions, and nutrition are also described, with visuals, glossaries, and recommended reading lists to support the text. Authors share positive advances in identification and treatment of illnesses. Many of the titles suggest activities to strengthen students’ learning. Those wishing to update their collections or support student research will find useful and timely resources.



Hansen, Grace. The COVID-19 Virus. ISBN 9781098205508.
––––. Heroes of COVID-19. ISBN 9781098205522.
––––. Staying Connected While Social Distancing. ISBN 9781098205539.
––––. STEM and COVID-19. ISBN 9781098205553.
Murray, Julie. Distance Learning. ISBN 9781098205515.
––––. Staying Safe with Healthy Habits. ISBN 9781098205546.
ea vol: 24p. (The Coronavirus). ABDO/Abdo Kids Jumbo. Aug. 2020. Tr. $29.93.
PreS-Gr 2 –Large photos illustrate brief text, making this series accessible for younger readers. The text includes an explanation of what a virus is, how it spreads, and examples of how STEM is used to discover vaccines or provide care for patients. The importance of essential workers and ways that teachers and students have stayed connected are emphasized, rather than the scarier aspects of the pandemic. Vocabulary terms are written in a contrasting color and defined in the glossary. A review page at the end of each book recaps the main points. VERDICT An age-appropriate, helpful series for discussing the coronavirus and its effects with the younger grades.

Jaycox, Jaclyn. Sometimes I Feel Angry. ISBN 9781977124647.
––––. Sometimes I Feel Anxious. ISBN 9781977124692.
––––. Sometimes I Feel Embarrassed. ISBN 9781977124661.
––––. Sometimes I Feel Grumpy. ISBN 9781977124685.
––––. Sometimes I Feel Happy. ISBN 9781977124623.
––––. Sometimes I Feel Sad. ISBN 9781977124630.
––––. Sometimes I Feel Surprised. ISBN 9781977124678.
––––. Sometimes I Feel Worried. ISBN 9781977124654.
ea vol: 24p. (Name Your Emotions). Capstone/Pebble. Aug. 2020. Tr. $27.99.
K-Gr 2 –Young children need to learn how to understand and manage their emotions. This series describes emotions, how to identify them, and examples of what might cause them. Readers are also encouraged to recognize how their senses might influence their mood; smelling flowers might make them happy, but hearing the word “no” might make them grumpy. There are suggestions for handling emotions, such as listening to music or journaling. Directions for a mindfulness activity like deep breathing or making a gratitude list are included at the end of each book. The simple prose uses age-appropriate examples, and photos of children from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds support each section. Further reading and websites are featured in the back matter. VERDICT A useful purchase for guidance lessons or general classroom discussions on handling emotions.

Marsico, Katie. Delicious Dairy. ISBN 9781534168626.
––––. Fantastic Fruits. ISBN 9781534168633.
––––. Great Grains. ISBN 9781534168664.
––––. Powerful Proteins. ISBN 9781534168657.
––––. Sensible Salts, Sugars, and Fats. ISBN 9781534168671.
––––. Vibrant Vegetables. ISBN 9781534168640.
ea vol: 24p. (Strong Kids Healthy Plate). Cherry Lake. Aug. 2020. Tr. $28.50.
K-Gr 3 –Photos of healthy foods and diverse families selecting, preparing, and eating meals fill the pages of this series. Each page features an image to accompany the text, with no more than three or four sentences per page. Examples of foods from the different food groups and their nutritional importance are detailed, as well as suggestions for how many servings to eat per day. The MyPlate graphic is included in each title and illustrates the role of each food group in a balanced diet. Text boxes offer additional facts or ask questions for readers to consider. Glossary terms appear in color for easy identification. Back matter lists a suggested title and the MyPlate website. VERDICT A solid series for those updating their nutrition section.



Anthony, William. Beastly Bacteria. ISBN 9781978519930.
––––. Foul Fungi. ISBN 9781978519978.
––––. Pesky Parasites. ISBN 9781978520011.
––––. Vulgar Viruses. ISBN 9781978520059.
ea vol: 24p. (Attack of the...). Enslow. Aug. 2020. Tr. $22.60.
Gr 2-4 –Illustrated characters, who are drawn with light and dark skin tones, discuss the bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses covered in this series. Their commentary provides a bit of silliness to the text. Each spread features large images of the offending organism or its effects. Text appears in a white box to make it stand out. Vocabulary terms are underlined and defined in the glossary. Students who revel in the weird and unsavory will be captivated by descriptions of zombie snails, athlete’s foot, and tapeworms. A discussion of ways to fight back with antibiotics, vaccines, and hygiene ends each title on a positive note. VERDICT Sure to be popular with kids who aren’t afraid of the strange and gross. Pesky Parasites would be an excellent resource when studying adaptations.

Brownlee, Christen. Prairie Dog Alert! ISBN 9780531132326.
Phillips, Shea. Flesh Wound. ISBN 9780531132319.
Shea, John. Bitten! ISBN 9780531132333.
Tilden, Thomasine E. Lewis. Dangerous Worms. ISBN 9780531132302.
ea vol: 48p. (X Books: Medical). Scholastic/Children’s Pr. Sept. 2020. Tr. $29.
Gr 3-8 –This hi-lo medical series provides attention-grabbing introductions, short chapters, and numerous photos. Close-ups of Guinea worms emerging from a victim’s leg or pus-filled bumps underscore the serious nature of the medical conditions being described, but also appeal to those who enjoy being grossed out. Time lines, diagrams, and “In Depth” sidebars offer additional information. Back matter includes profiles of experts, descriptions of the tools they use, and charts of similar carriers or diseases. The glossary not only defines unfamiliar terms, but offers pronunciation guides and identifies parts of speech. Fiction and nonfiction books on similar topics are listed in the resource section for further reading or research. The “ick” factor will make these very popular. VERDICT A good series for highlighting STEM careers while supporting struggling readers.

Dolbear, Emily. How Can I Help During COVID-19? ISBN 9781503852778.
––––. What If I’m Worried about COVID-19? ISBN 9781503853188.
Latta, Sara. What Is COVID-19? ISBN 9781503852761.
––––. Who Are the COVID-19 Helpers? ISBN 9781503853157.
Laughlin, Kara L. How Has COVID-19 Changed the World? ISBN 9781503853171.
––––. What Is a Pandemic? ISBN 9781503853164.
ea vol: 24p. (Pandemics and COVID-19). The Child’s World. Aug. 2020. Tr. $28.50.
Gr 2-5 –Upper elementary students may have many questions about COVID-19. From a discussion of pandemics in general to a reflection on how the virus has changed our world, this series addresses many of those questions. Large images with captions help to support the text, along with additional “COVID-19 Fact” boxes. Vocabulary terms appear in boldface and are defined in the glossary. “Think About It” offers ways for readers to apply what they have learned. A “Good News” section highlights positive happenings, such as the increase in pet adoptions and the daily celebrations for health care workers at shift change. Further reading suggestions are included, and the publisher’s website ­offers safe links. VERDICT A good source for ­research or class discussions.

Harman, Alice. Boost Your Brain. ISBN 9780778781660.
––––. Build Resilience. ISBN 9780778781677.
––––. Don’t Panic. ISBN 9780778781684.
––––. Face Your Fears. ISBN 9780778781691.
––––. Think Positive. ISBN 9780778781714.
––––. Work Smarter. ISBN 9780778781721.
Howell, Izzi. Ask for Help. ISBN 9780778781653.
––––. Make Mistakes. ISBN 9780778781707.
ea vol: 32p. (Grow Your Mind). Crabtree. Jul. 2020. Tr. $27.60.
Gr 3-6 –This series for middle grade readers discusses helpful social-emotional skills. Each book begins with an explanation of the difference between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.” The main text describes how brains respond to certain situations and how minds can be trained to work smarter or use mnemonics to boost memory. Illustrations depict dark-skinned and light-skinned youngsters who are nervous about public speaking or practicing deep breathing to relax; there is also a cartoon brain character that appears throughout the text. A final section in each book recaps the main points, and a note for adults in the back matter details how to nurture a growth mindset in children. VERDICT Good to recommend to a struggling student or for use in guidance lessons.

Leed, Percy. Blood (A Revolting Augmented Reality Experience). ISBN 9781541598089.
––––. Guts (A Stomach-Turning Augmented Reality Experience). ISBN 9781541598065.
––––. The Mouth (A Nauseating Augmented Reality Experience). ISBN 9781541598096.
––––. Skin and Hair (A Sickening Augmented Reality Experience). ISBN 9781541598072.
Olson, Gilla M. The Ears and Nose (A Disgusting Augmented Reality Experience). ISBN 9781541598102.
––––. Muscles and Bones (A Repulsive Augmented Reality Experience). ISBN 9781541598119.
ea vol: 32p. (The Gross Human Body in Action: Augmented Reality). Lerner. Aug. 2020. Tr. $31.99.
Gr 3-5 –Blood, guts, and gore abound in these guides to the human body. Photos show scabs, frostbite, ulcers, and pimples; diagrams reveal the layers of skin or the digestive tract. Captions provide additional information. The writing style will appeal to young readers, with descriptions that are clever and humorous. In addition to the vivid images conjured by the prose, there is the added feature of augmented reality. Using the app, readers can watch blood cells moving, stomach acid squirting, or a cavity forming. Back matter includes a glossary, further reading, and a list of gross facts. VERDICT Perfect for updating anatomy collections; these books will ooze right off the shelves.

Wood, John. Cells. ISBN 9781534535862.
––––. Circulation. ISBN 9781534535909.
––––. Muscles. ISBN 9781534535947.
Wood, John & Harriet Brundle. The Skeleton. ISBN 9781534535985.
ea vol: 32p. (Under Your Skin). Greenhaven/KidHaven. Aug. 2020. Tr. $27.25.
Gr 4-6 –Seymour Skinless, an illustrated white scientist who wears glasses and a lab coat, guides readers through a tour of various parts of the human body. The text is divided into manageable chunks and supported by headings and captions. There are multiple photos, diagrams, and other illustrations to facilitate comprehension. Cell structures, how a broken bone heals, and blood types are just some of the topics covered. Seymour explains, makes jokes, and points out details throughout the narrative. Boldface vocabulary terms are defined in the glossary. Extra facts not covered in the main text are listed on the final page. VERDICT Perfect for browsing or for biology lessons. A useful addition that will be popular with students.



Burling, Alexis. Understanding Panic Attacks. ISBN 9781682829899.
Hudak, Heather C. Understanding Addiction. ISBN 9781682829813.
MacMillan, Kathy. Understanding Bipolar Disorder. ISBN 9781682829851.
McManus, Celina. Understanding Anxiety. ISBN 9781682829837.
––––. Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. ISBN 9781682829875.
ea vol: 80p. (Mental Health Guides). ReferencePoint/BrightPoint. Oct. 2020. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 6 Up –These titles offer an in-depth look at mental health issues. Each book begins with a bullet list of important concepts that are explored more fully within the text. Organization is the same in each title; the issue is defined, its impact on the individual and society is explained, then treatment options are discussed. Celebrity examples, such as Demi Lovato’s struggle with bipolar disorder and Emma Stone’s panic attacks, illustrate the pervasiveness of these problems and destigmatize the conditions. Informative sidebars, including records of obsessive-compulsive disorder in ancient times or the difference between use, misuse, and abuse of drugs, provide more details. Source notes and suggestions for further reading support personal research or class assignments. VERDICT Recommended for those updating their collections; a realistic examination of the various subjects.

Burling, Alexis. What Is Borderline Personality Disorder? ISBN 9781682829516.
Foran, Racquel. What Is Substance Use Disorder? ISBN 9781682829554.
Gagne, Tammy. What Is Gaming Disorder? ISBN 9781682829530.
Herschbach, Elisabeth. What Is Autism? ISBN 9781682829493.
LaPierre, Yvette. What Is ADHD? ISBN 9781682829479.
ea vol: 80p. (Teen Disorders). ReferencePoint. Oct. 2020. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 6 Up –Each title begins with a profile of someone diagnosed with the featured disorder. Chapters detail causes, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment. Discussion of what life with the disorder is like examines the effects on school, work, and relationships. Sidebars explore related topics, such as the difference between borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder and the debunked myth of vaccines causing autism. Examples of successful celebrities, such as Temple Grandin and Adam Levine, are included as well as references to popular media portrayals. Research is supported by source notes and suggestions for further reading. VERDICT Recommended for public and school libraries looking to refresh their collections; a well-researched series.

Gilles, Renae. The Science of the Coronavirus. ISBN 9781728428000.
Williams, Heather. Essential Workers, Essential Heroes. ISBN 9781728427980.
––––. A Lasting Impact. ISBN 9781728427997.
––––. Social Distancing. ISBN 9781728428017.
ea vol: 32p. (COVID-19). Lerner. Aug. 2020. Tr. $27.99.
Gr 5-8 –This series describes COVID-19, responses to the pandemic, and how it has impacted society and individuals. Images show research labs, virtual learning, and masked citizens around the world. Infographics present data in a visual format. Sidebars offer details about past pandemics, virtual field trips, and other related topics. Vocabulary terms are defined at the bottom of the page and also in the glossary. Time lines list events related to the topic, such as when stay-at-home orders were issued or lifted. Back matter includes a quiz (with answers) and further reading. A suggested activity, such as compiling a directory of social distancing activities, helps readers put what they have learned into practice. VERDICT Presents the facts in a balanced manner. This series is useful for satisfying curiosity or for research.

There are several series that really hit the mark. “The Coronavirus” (ABDO/Abdo Kids Jumbo) answers pressing questions without frightening young students; tips on staying safe and distance learning relate easily to their everyday lives. For readers fascinated by the weird and disgusting, titles like Enslow’s Beastly Bacteria provide plenty of gory details and “The Gross Human Body in Action: Augmented Reality” (Lerner) uses an AR app to add motion or 3-D to the images. These series, which capitalize on natural curiosity and current trends, provide up-to-date facts in formats that meet the needs of readers across the grade levels.

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