New Hands, New Life: Robots, Prostheses and Innovation

MIHAILIAIS, Alex & . 64p. glossary. index. photos. Firefly. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781770859692; ebk. $9.95. ISBN 9781770859913.
Gr 5–8—This excellent entry into nonfiction for young readers takes a big picture approach that will leave students with a developed understanding of the place of prosthetics in modern medical care. The first chapter walks readers through how the human body works, providing brief but necessary background information. The text also covers various diseases, injuries, and paralysis that warrant medical help. Whereas other volumes in this subject area are limited to covering one or two "assistive technologies," Mihailiais and Andrysek's book explores everything from prosthetics to orthoses (splints), wheelchairs, vision correction, and the emerging field of mind-controlled robotic body parts. Full-color photographs are up-to-date and show users training with their new prosthetics, as well as confidently participating in activities, such as sports, play, and music. The content is easy for younger readers to grasp, but they may struggle with some of the vocabulary; however, the inclusion of appropriate terms is one of the book's major strengths, as well as its continuous urging that people who experience different physical abilities are worthy of respect and kindness. In the final chapter, "How You Can Help," the first paragraph reminds readers not to assume those who are differently abled want or need help, and to always ask first. Readers are also encouraged to support organizations that assist people with disabilities, and to learn more about robotics in general.
VERDICT A comprehensive, STEM-related update to the health and wellness sections of nonfiction collections.

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