Imaginable Futures | Jobs & Careers Series Nonfiction

These series will spark interest and excitement in readers of all ages, from preschool to high school and beyond.

 

These series will spark interest and excitement in readers of all ages, from preschool to high school and beyond. These books examine professions such as teaching, military service, social work, and welding. They also describe career options in the arts and STEM. Both traditional and cutting-edge job options are touched on in different ways throughout, making many of them an excellent investment. Publishers are finding creative ways to organize content to appeal to a variety of readers; for example, “Dream Jobs for Future You” (Capstone) is organized by interest area (toys, friends, videos, food), while still providing quality information in a captivating way. While some of these series accurately represent diversity in each career field, others miss the mark. Now more than ever, it is important for collections to amplify the many voices and experiences of all who make a positive impact on the world every day.

 

ELEMENTARY

Boothroyd, Jennifer. All About Doctors. ISBN 9781541589964.
––––. All About Firefighters. ISBN 9781541589957.
––––. All About Teachers. ISBN 9781541589940.
Schuh, Mari. All About Construction Workers. ISBN 9781541589971.
––––. All About Mail Carriers. ISBN 9781541589995.
––––. All About Police Officers. ISBN 9781541589988.
ea vol: 32p. (Sesame Street Loves Community Helpers). Lerner. Aug. 2020. Tr. $27.99.
K-Gr 2 –Beginning readers will love seeing their favorite Sesame Street characters in this series about community helpers. Kids will understand the important roles of these workers in their own communities. Basic sentence structure and familiar words make these books great for reading one-on-one or in a big group. Emerging readers who are preparing to enter kindergarten could read these books on their own. All About Police Officers presents a celebratory portrait of law enforcement and includes language such as “always do what a police officer says,” which warrants further explanation by adults and educators. VERDICT Recommended for day care centers and early childhood education classrooms.

Brinker, Spencer. Doctors. ISBN 9781642809152.
Roberts, Antonia. Carpenters. ISBN 9781642809138.
––––. Chefs. ISBN 9781642809145.
––––. Firefighters. ISBN 9781642809169.
––––. Police Officers. ISBN 9781642809176.
––––. Veterinarians. ISBN 9781642809183.
ea vol: 24p. (What Makes a Community?). Bearport/Bearcub. Aug. 2020. Tr. $26.99.
PreS-Gr 1 –Early readers will enjoy learning about some popular careers in this series. These titles introduce new topics such as laws, uniforms, restaurants, menus, power tools, and goggles. Each book includes information about what each worker does and their societal impact. Short blocks of text and color photos appear on each page. Unfamiliar concepts depicted in the images are explained in brief captions. Boldface vocabulary terms are listed in the glossary for review and added comprehension. VERDICT Early childhood education classrooms, day cares, and school libraries may want to consider this series for reading in groups or one-on-one.

Kawa, Katie. A Day with a Doctor. ISBN 9781502658081.
––––. A Day with a Farmer. ISBN 9781502658128.
––––. A Day with a Firefighter. ISBN 9781502658166.
––––. A Day with a Police Officer. ISBN 9781502658241.
––––. A Day with a Teacher. ISBN 9781502658289.
Miller, Derek. A Day with a Librarian. ISBN 9781502658203.
ea vol: 24p. (Community Helpers). Cavendish Square. Aug. 2020. Tr. $24.21.
K-Gr 2 –The working lives of doctors, farmers, firefighters, librarians, police officers, and teachers are introduced in this early literacy series. Each book provides information about variations within each profession, challenges faced by firefighters and police officers, and the essential work of farmers, librarians, and teachers. The text features brief, simple statements. Photos appear on each page and are separated by short chapter headings that help to organize content. Men and women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are depicted, but there is room for improvement. VERDICT This serviceable series does a decent job depicting diversity, but it could still do better.

Meinking, Mary. Dentists. ISBN 9781977123466.
––––. Mail Carriers. ISBN 9781977123497.
––––. Pilots. ISBN 9781977123510.
Raij, Emily. Farmers. ISBN 9781977123473.
––––. Garbage Collectors. ISBN 9781977123480.
––––. Nurses. ISBN 9781977123503.
ea vol: 32p. (Jobs People Do). Capstone/Pebble. Aug. 2020. Tr. $29.32.
Gr 1-3 –Essential workers have been spotlighted in the news, and for good reason. This series profiles the fundamental work of dentists, mail carriers, pilots, farmers, garbage collectors, and nurses. Readers learn where their food comes from, what garbage collectors do with their trash, how their mail is processed, and more. Boldface vocabulary terms are included in the glossary. Short paragraphs on each page are spaced between vivid photos that depict the duties of each profession. Although the images reflect gender and ethnic diversity, they lack representation of people with disabilities. VERDICT Good information is provided, but more representation of diversity is needed.

Murray, Julie. Air Force Pararescue. ISBN 9781098221089.
––––. Deep-Sea Fishermen. ISBN 9781098221096.
––––. Search and Rescue. ISBN 9781098221102.
––––. Smokejumpers. ISBN 9781098221119.
––––. Storm Chasers. ISBN 9781098221126.
––––. Stunt Performers. ISBN 9781098221133.
ea vol: 24p. (Fierce Jobs). ABDO/Dash!. Aug. 2020. Tr. $28.50.
K-Gr 4 –What’s it like to jump out of an airplane to put out fires? How do search and rescue workers handle work-life balance? This series details six fierce jobs and the gear, daily lives, and fascinating facts of each profession. Each title includes a table of contents, a glossary, and an index. Pages feature a solid ratio of color photographs and appropriately leveled sentences with slightly more complex words. The action-packed photos do not reflect gender or racial diversity. Representation is predominantly white men. VERDICT Not recommended for purchase. Although informative, this series does not reflect gender or racial diversity.

 

UPPER ELEMENTARY TO MIDDLE SCHOOL

Eason, Sarah. Army Careers. ISBN 9780778781387.
––––. Special Forces Careers. ISBN 9780778781424.
Hudak, Heather C. Careers in Undercover Operations. ISBN 9780778781394.
––––. Police Force Careers. ISBN 9780778781417.
O’Brien, Cynthia. Air Force Careers. ISBN 9780778781370.
––––. Navy Careers. ISBN 9780778781400.
ea vol: 32p. (Careers on the Front Line). Crabtree. Aug. 2020. Tr. $27.60.
Gr 5-8 –Careers in public and military service are presented in this six-part series, including jobs available in government, branches of the armed forces, police careers, undercover operations, and more. The requirements for sub-careers in each field are listed. For example, Army Careers explains that military doctors require a medical degree, and they also need additional training in the field to be successful. Long sections of text and more detailed infographics on each page make this series a good fit for more advanced readers. Age, ability, and other status identifiers are reflected in action-packed color photography. VERDICT Middle school libraries may want to consider.

Leavitt, Amie. Dream Jobs If You Like Dinosaurs. ISBN 9781496683991.
––––. Dream Jobs If You Like Food. ISBN 9781496683960.
––––. Dream Jobs If You Like Kids. ISBN 9781496683984.
––––. Dream Jobs If You Like Robots. ISBN 9781496683977.
––––. Dream Jobs If You Like Toys. ISBN 9781496683953.
––––. Dream Jobs If You Like Videos. ISBN 9781496684004.
ea vol: 32p. (Dream Jobs for Future You). Capstone. Aug. 2020. Tr. $29.32.
Gr 3-5 –This series inspires readers to dream big about what they want to be when they grow up. Pay ranges, required education, on-the-job experience, and examples of tasks associated with each job are listed. Color photos depict a balanced representation of diversity in each job. Small captions accompany some of the photographs, identifying visual elements that might be unfamiliar to readers, which enhances comprehension. Suggestions for further reading and exploration, including books and websites, are provided. VERDICT A creative series that will appeal to readers at many levels.

 

MIDDLE SCHOOL TO HIGH SCHOOL

Cartlidge, Cherese. Skilled Jobs in Health Care. ISBN 9781682828236.
Kallen, Stuart A. Skilled Jobs in Construction. ISBN 9781682828199.
Kitts, W.L. Skilled Jobs in Wellness and Beauty. ISBN 9781682828274.
Rarus, Pat. Skilled Jobs in Engineering. ISBN 9781682828212.
––––. Skilled Jobs in Technology. ISBN 9781682828250.
ea vol: 80p. (Jobs for Skilled Workers). ReferencePoint. Oct. 2020. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 7 Up –Each volume highlights 10 to 15 unique career paths, including dental hygienist, massage therapist, phlebotomist, wind turbine technician, and IT support specialist. The history of each industry is explained, along with career outlooks for different paths, average salaries, job growth, and lifestyles. Notable to this series: Question and answer sections share insight into what these careers are really like. VERDICT More advanced concepts make this series ideal for high schoolers, but anyone serving late middle school students may also want to consider.

Conley, Kate. Become a Plumber. ISBN 9781678200145.
––––. Become an Electrician. ISBN 9781678200121.
––––. Become a Radiation Therapist. ISBN 9781678200169.
Gagne, Tammy. Become a Graphic Designer. ISBN 9781678200107.
Huddleston, Emma. Become a Drone Pilot. ISBN 9781678200084.
ea vol: 80p. (Skilled and Vocational Trades). ReferencePoint/BrightPoint. Oct. 2020. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 6 Up –Narrative storytelling describes the daily lifestyles, challenges, and opportunities related to each of these career fields. The text also explains how to get started, required certifications, and continuing education. Photos depict men and women in various roles in all job categories. What makes this series appealing is its mix of factual, traditional nonfiction presentation and engaging elements, such as interviews, unfamiliar facts, and the breakdowns of environments workers can choose from. For example, radiation therapists can work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, or their own private practices. Each book is divided into manageable chapters that are appropriate for both emerging and more advanced middle grade readers. These titles may even appeal to early high school students. VERDICT Unsung career paths get the attention they deserve in this series. A great investment for any large public, middle school, or high school library collection.

Currie-McGhee, Leanne. Cutting Edge Careers in Info Tech. ISBN 9781682828694.
Kallen, Stuart A. Cutting Edge Careers in Robotics. ISBN 9781682828731.
Kosloski, Julie. Cutting Edge Careers in Medicine. ISBN 9781682828717.
Mooney, Carla. Cutting Edge Careers in Engineering. ISBN 9781682828670.
Nardo, Don. Cutting Edge Careers in Science. ISBN 9781682828755.
ea vol: 80p. (Cutting Edge STEM Careers). ReferencePoint. Oct. 2020. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 8 Up –This comprehensive and timely series will appeal to students who hope to pursue STEM careers. What stands out about this series is the “Attributes That Matter to Employers” chart that is included at the beginning of each book, which indicates the percentage of employers who rank applicable skills (flexibility, communication, technological competence) by importance. This series highlights professions that require a broad spectrum of educational qualifications, ranging from associate’s degrees all the way up to postdoctoral research and beyond. The text-heavy books depict men and women in a variety of job roles. ­ VERDICT An all-around great choice for middle and high school collections. Enjoyable for any kind of STEM-loving reader.

Hamen, Susan E. Life in the US Marine Corps. ISBN 9781682829752.
Huddleston, Emma. Life in the US Navy. ISBN 9781682829776.
Hustad, Douglas. Life in the US Air Force. ISBN 9781682829691.
McCarthy, Cecilia Pinto. Life in the US Coast Guard. ISBN 9781682829738.
Myers, Carrie. Life in the US Army. ISBN 9781682829714.
Scott, Laura Platas. Life in the US Special Operations Forces. ISBN 9781682829790.
ea vol: 80p. (Life in the Military). ReferencePoint/BrightPoint. Oct. 2020. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 6 Up –This series provides an inside look into the daily lives of people in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and more. The titles feature narrative storytelling and interviews with real service members. Daily routines, entry requirements, and lifestyles are examined in detail, including how service members can transition from high school or college into military and government roles. Lots of extra white space around words and between lines of text makes these titles accessible to readers who want to get started with longer, more complex books. VERDICT A strong addition to larger public and school library collections.

Henzel, Cynthia Kennedy. US Army. ISBN 9781532192272.
Lusted, Marcia Amidon. US Special Operations. ISBN 9781532192319.
McKinney, Donna B. US Coast Guard. ISBN 9781532192289.
Mooney, Carla. US Air Force. ISBN 9781532192265.
––––. US Navy. ISBN 9781532192302.
Radley, Gail. US Marine Corps. ISBN 9781532192296.
ea vol: 112p. (US Military Careers). ABDO/Essential Library. Aug. 2020. Tr. $37.07.
Gr 6-9 –The titles detail the careers, lifestyles, challenges, and roles within each branch of the U.S. military. Notable accomplishments, required training and education, weapons, and fascinating facts are also featured. In contrast to the other ABDO offering from this season, this series does a better job at showing gender and racial diversity in military careers, highlighting the Female Entanglement Teams in the Marine Corps and equivalent programs in other branches. Readers will be excited to learn about lesser-known roles. VERDICT Recommended for larger middle school collections; high schools may also want to consider.


Out of this season’s new series, “Sesame Street Loves Community Helpers” (Lerner) and “Jobs for Skilled Workers” (ReferencePoint) are obvious choices for any school or public library. “Sesame Street” offers the comfort of familiar characters, while “Jobs for Skilled Workers” provides reliable and up-to-date information on popular and lesser-known careers. Both series will add exceptional value to collections of all sizes.
 

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