Cramm This Book: So You Know WTF Is Going On in the World Today

Philomel. Feb. 2022. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593352168.
Gr 9 Up–An informative and succinct overview of recent history written as background for present-day social justice causes. Teenager Seltzer founded “The Cramm” newsletter in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Her aim was to inform fellow Generation Zs about current events to inspire them to make an impact on the world. This primer provides the historical context to a lot of today’s woes—climate change, the taking of Black lives, international conflicts. The book is divided into four chapters, starting with the aptly named “The Isms and Phobias,” shorthand for society’s ills, such as racism, sexism, xenophobia, transphobia, and more. Despite the chatty tone and quip-filled narration, the text is thorough, accessible, and accomplishes what it sets out to do—“cramm” in as much information into 300 pages about the roots of the problems facing us today. The design is eye-catching and sleek; dynamic fonts, wide margins, and splashes of coral add interest. Side bars, speech bubbles, archival photos, time lines, and diagrams break up large swaths of text, and chapter openers feature inviting illustrations. This narrative is chock-full of facts, sometimes overwhelmingly so, but learners (teens and adults) can dip in and out as they like. The work concludes with a call to young people to learn from the past’s mistakes and choose to do good.
VERDICT A super helpful resource for social studies classes and catching up on social, economic, and political events.

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