Bright Futures and Beyond: Jobs & Careers Series Nonfiction

Twenty-first-century job readiness and the skills required to achieve career success are critical topics for readers in any grade. This season’s series present a wide range of career options in a variety of fields and industries. 

Twenty-first-century job readiness and the skills required to achieve career success are critical topics for readers in any grade. This season’s series present a wide range of career options in a variety of fields and industries, with an emphasis on practical information like median salaries, job outlook, and education required for each. Vocational training and alternative careers are given their due in the series that explore roles like sanitation worker, electrician, carpenter, and exterminator. Children deserve to have access to quality books that will inspire them to investigate their many career choices and dreams for the future. There’s something for every reader at every level in this season’s up-to-date and exciting selections.



Barger, Jeff. Builder. ISBN 9781731614247; ISBN 9781731612199.
––––. Doctor. ISBN 9781731614216; ISBN 9781731612168.
––––. Firefighter. ISBN 9781731614209; ISBN 9781731612151.
––––. Grocer. ISBN 9781731614230; ISBN 9781731612182.
––––. Mail Carrier. ISBN 9781731614261; ISBN 9781731612212.
––––. Police Officer. ISBN 9781731614155; ISBN 9781731612106.
––––. Teacher. ISBN 9781731614223; ISBN 9781731612175.
––––. Veterinarian. ISBN 9781731614254; ISBN 9781731612205.
ea vol: 24p. (Community Helpers). glossary. index. photos. Rourke/Discovery Library Jr. Nov. 2019. Tr. $28.50. pap. $8.25.
K-2 –A variety of common professions are explored in this series, which could appeal to readers up to the age of eight. Builders, firefighters, veterinarians, and more are depicted as essential community helpers, with simple sentences about how each worker contributes to the greater good. Some of the text appears inside a drawing of a mobile phone screen, which may resonate with readers who use tablets or phones to access information at home. A blend of charming illustrations and full-color photographs, all of which affirm diversity, are appropriately spaced between text. The definition of “community helper” is provided at the beginning of each book, making each volume acceptable as a stand-alone selection. Other topics covered include the basic functions of each job and short activities for readers to explore more about the jobs. VERDICT An ideal purchase for daycare centers or early childhood classrooms.

Canasi, Brittany. Search and Rescue. Jan. 2020. ISBN 9781731615091; ISBN 9781731613165.
––––. Smokejumpers. Jan. 2020. ISBN 9781731615084; ISBN 9781731613158.
Cronin, G.L. Logging. Dec. 2019. ISBN 9781731615107; ISBN 9781731613172.
Palmer, Erin. Deep-Sea Fishing. Dec. 2019. ISBN 9781731615114; ISBN 9781731613189.
––––. Mountain Guides. Dec. 2019. ISBN 9781731615121; ISBN 9781731613196.
Reyes, Ray. Power Workers. Dec. 2019. ISBN 9781731615138; ISBN 9781731613202.
ea vol: 32p. (Dangerous Jobs). glossary. index. photos. Rourke/Escape. Tr. $28.50. pap. $8.95.
Gr 3-8 –Deep-sea fishing, logging, smokejumping, and more are profiled in these books. Each title features full-page color photographs that show workers in action, with text on only some of the pages. Short sentences make this an ideal series for younger readers, but some of the fonts may be difficult for them to decode. Gender diversity is not represented in this series, as men are mostly shown in these risky roles. Content primarily focuses on the mostly dangerous aspects of these jobs and might dissuade readers from seriously pursuing them. These books could hold the attention of striving readers who also love adventure, with action-packed visuals and fast facts. A visual glossary disguised as a memory game, an index, and an activity suggestion are included in each book. VERDICT Possibly appealing to reluctant readers, but a lack of diversity in this series is discouraging.

Krajnik, Elizabeth. Dairy Farmers. ISBN 9781725301306.
Miloszewski, Nathan. Commercial Fishers. ISBN 9781725301269.
––––. Plumbers and Sewage Workers. ISBN 9781725300149.
Shea, Therese M. Exterminators. ISBN 9781725300026.
Sherman, Jill. Garbage Collectors. ISBN 9781725300064.
––––. Oil Rig Workers. ISBN 9781725300101.
ea vol: 24p. (Getting the Job Done). glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen/PowerKids. Aug. 2019. Tr. $23.60.
Gr 2-4 –Each role within its industry is presented as an important community service function that makes modern life comfortable and better for everyone. The importance of these careers can’t be overestimated, and that’s what comes across in this series: What would life be like without garbage collectors? Why are exterminators important? Each job is discussed in the context of modern life and its social importance throughout history. Quick facts reinforce that both women and men take on these roles and emphasize practical safety guidelines where applicable. Both men and women of many racial and ethnic identities are shown actively engaging in the different jobs presented in this series that’s ideal for early to middle grade readers. Unfamiliar concepts are bolded and defined in the glossary included in each volume. VERDICT These important community roles are given the attention they deserve in this series.

Pagel-Hogan, Elizabeth. So You Want to Be President. ISBN 9781543575309; ISBN 9781543571943.
Radomski, Kassandra Kathleen. So You Want to Be a U.S. Representative. ISBN 9781543575286; ISBN 9781543571967.
––––. So You Want to Be a U.S. Senator. ISBN 9781543575293; ISBN 9781543571950.
Tyner, Artika R. So You Want to Be a Supreme Court Justice. ISBN 9781543575279; ISBN 9781543571974.
ea vol: 32p. (Being in Government). photos. Capstone. Aug. 2019. pap. $7.95. Tr. $27.99.
Gr 3-6 –An attention-grabbing headline (“Wanted: Commander in Chief”) and a job-description, followed by a detailed outline of each position, its central responsibilities, and how the job fits into the philosophy of American public service are included in each volume. A good balance of longer sections of text, lists, infographics, and color photographs helps this series reach a wide audience. The books’ covers feature balanced gender representation and affirm racial and ethnic diversity. Leaders from administrations from throughout history are represented as well, with current lawmakers, both male and female, in the spotlight. Historically underrepresented groups and their contributions to our government, in both the past and the present, are celebrated. This series is notable for its suggestions for getting started in each career, making it useful for early to middle grade readers. VERDICT An exciting and practical series that will inspire any hopeful government leader.



Allman, Toney. Careers If You Like Working with Your Hands. ISBN 9781682825990.
Kallen, Stuart A. Careers If You Like the Creative Arts. ISBN 9781682825952.
Parks, Peggy J. Careers If You Like to Travel. ISBN 9781682825976.
Roland, James. Careers If You Like Problem Solving. ISBN 9781682825891.
Sheen, Barbara. Careers If You Like Research and Analysis. ISBN 9781682825914.
––––. Careers If You Like Social Interaction. ISBN 9781682825938.
ea vol: 80p. (Career Exploration). index. notes. photos. ReferencePoint. Aug. 2019. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 6 Up –Both traditional and alternative options in arts, science, engineering, law enforcement, education, and cultural fields are outlined in detail, including sound engineering, camera operation, medical illustration, farming, logistics, and more. This series’ advanced approach to thinking about how skills and interests influence career decisions makes it most relevant to high school students and perhaps young adults who are deciding on an undergraduate course of study. Content is comprehensive and lists specific examples of how to acquire the necessary education and experience to enter each field. This series is text-heavy, but men and women are shown in each role in the books’ photographs. Educators and readers will appreciate that the median salary, working conditions, minimum education requirements, and personality attributes are given for each job, adding to its practical appeal. VERDICT Guidance counselors and school libraries will definitely want to consider this series for students and their families as they chart their future career goals.

Baxter, Roberta. Work in the Military. ISBN 9781682827291.
Erickson, Marty. Work in the Music Industry. ISBN 9781682827314.
Huddleston, Emma. Work in the Fashion Industry. ISBN 9781682827253.
––––. Work in the Health Care Industry. ISBN 9781682827277.
Kerstetter, Greg. Work in the Professional Sports Industry. ISBN 9781682827338.
ea vol: 80p. (Career Finder). diag. further reading. index. photos. websites. ReferencePoint/BrightPoint. Aug. 2019. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 6 Up –This hi-lo series explores a variety of careers in diverse fields. Details about jobs within each field are provided, including labor statistics, job outlook, the minimum level of education required, and average salaries. Short, simple sentences, lots of illustrations, and plenty of space between sentences and words make this series ideal for a striving middle grade reader who might be interested in different careers but intimidated by other series. Full-color photographs punctuate each page; charts and graphs help readers visualize information and provide additional support to readers of all levels. New vocabulary terms are bolded and listed in a glossary. Extensive further reading lists on each specific job title are also featured. Unique to this series is the inclusion of short interviews with professionals who work in each field. VERDICT An essential purchase for public and high school libraries that will appeal to all levels.

Brown Hamilton, Tracy. Careers in Electronics. ISBN 9781508188018.
Hand, Carol. Careers in Robotics. ISBN 9781508188131.
Harvey, Janet. Careers in Interactive Media. ISBN 9781508188049.
Kamberg, Mary-Lane. Careers in Welding. ISBN 9781508188162.
Mooney, Carla. Careers in Design and Prototyping. ISBN 9781508187981.
Rauf, Don. Careers in Machine Maintenance. ISBN 9781508188070.
Shaw, Jessica. Careers in Manufacturing. ISBN 9781508188100.
ea vol: 80p. (Makerspace Careers). bibliog. further reading. index. photos. websites. Rosen/Rosen Young Adult. Aug. 2019. Tr. $35.75.
Gr 7 Up –Job options in design, electronics, manufacturing, welding, and more are explored in this series, and connections to makerspaces are highlighted, especially in Careers in Robotics. Each book is divided into chapters: definitions of the career, how to get a head start and land a job, industries that offer opportunities in each field, and the history of related concepts. Sample interview questions and advice on how to go about searching for jobs in each industry are included. Advanced concepts in this series make it ideal for grades five and up, but caregivers could guide younger readers through it, especially if they’re enthusiastic about career possibilities in STEM. Many identities are represented, including a woman wearing a hijab while working in the book about welding. VERDICT There’s something for every hopeful scientist, designer, or engineer in these books. Ideal for a large school or public library collection.

Duling, Kaitlyn. Coding Careers in Manufacturing. ISBN 9781502645852.
Freedman, Jeri. Coding Careers in the Energy Industry. ISBN 9781502645791.
––––. Coding Careers in Transportation. ISBN 9781502645913.
Shoup, Kate. Coding Careers in Internet Security. ISBN 9781502645821.
––––. Coding Careers in the Military. ISBN 9781502645883.
Small, Cathleen. Coding Careers in Entertainment and Games. ISBN 9781502645760.
ea vol: 80p. (Coding Careers for Tomorrow). bibliog. glossary. index. photos. Cavendish Square. Aug. 2019. Tr. $35.64.
Gr 7 Up –Career paths are discussed in a way that will get readers excited about their options using the skills they’re already developing. Fewer visual elements in this series and longer chapters make it ideal for middle school learners. Diversity shines in this series, with men and women shown in a variety of roles, and specific examples of their important contributions. The series is also notable for its discussion of the origins of coding. Readers will be enlightened by the fascinating mathematical roots of this quickly evolving field and its promising career prospects. An extensive bibliography, an index, and a glossary are provided in each book, as well as suggestions for further reading and career exploration. VERDICT An indispensable series on a relevant topic that has far-reaching appeal.

Kallen, Stuart A. Careers in Music. ISBN 9781682826836.
Kitts, W.L. Careers in Animation and Comics. ISBN 9781682826751.
Nardo, Don. Careers in Film, TV, and Theater. ISBN 9781682826812.
Parks, Peggy J. Careers in Fashion. ISBN 9781682826799.
––––. Careers in the Culinary Arts. ISBN 9781682826775.
ea vol: 80p. (Careers for Creative People). index. notes. photos. ReferencePoint. Aug. 2019. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 7 Up –This series presents extensive career options, giving readers a holistic perspective on each industry and the skills necessary for potential paths. Careers in Fashion features many different possibilities, such as visual merchandiser, fashion stylist, fashion buyer, and fashion illustrator. Men and women of a variety of racial and ethnic identities are portrayed in the photographs. Notably, the series gives readers an idea of what kinds of personality types are best suited to each career path. This can be a good thing, but it also might limit exploration. Chapters are long and the content in this series is advanced, making it a solid choice for advanced readers and their guidance counselors or caregivers. VERDICT Another strong addition to any collection, but could be especially useful for high school libraries or guidance counselor collections.

Larocque, Katharine. Helping Seniors. ISBN 9781422242575.
Turner, Amanda. Helping Animals. ISBN 9781422242544.
––––. Helping Children. ISBN 9781422242551.
––––. Helping Those in Poverty. ISBN 9781422242612.
––––. Helping Those with Addictions. ISBN 9781422242582.
––––. Helping Those with Disabilities. ISBN 9781422242599.
––––. Helping Those with Mental Illnesses. ISBN 9781422242605.
––––. Helping to Protect the Environment. ISBN 9781422242568.
––––. Helping Victims. ISBN 9781422242629.
ea vol: 80p. (Careers Making a Difference). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Mason Crest. Sept. 2019. Tr. $32.95.
Gr 7 Up –Readers will learn how to help at-risk populations, animals, and community members thanks to this series that includes career profiles for veterinarians and vet technicians, child and victim advocates, social workers, and more. Hopeful animal advocates will love learning all the different ways they can help, including policy development, agricultural research, animal foster care, and more. This series emphasizes volunteering to learn more about each industry. Each volume presents readers with different facets of an industry’s daily work, as well as employment outlook, median salary, and job satisfaction information. What’s different about this series, too, is its no-nonsense approach to topics like burnout and work-life balance, a refreshing element that will give readers a realistic perspective when they’re thinking about their futures. This is another text-heavy series, but diversity is shown when color photographs appear, usually every third or fourth page. VERDICT Equal parts inspirational and functional, this is another excellent choice for guidance counselors, school librarians, and vocational high school libraries.

Mara, Wil. Be a Carpenter. ISBN 9781534148222.
––––. Be a Construction Equipment Operator. ISBN 9781534148215.
––––. Be a Construction Manager. ISBN 9781534148246.
––––. Be a Mason. ISBN 9781534151093.
––––. Be a Plumber. ISBN 9781534148192.
––––. Be an Electrician. ISBN 9781534148253.
––––. Be an Elevator Mechanic. ISBN 9781534148260.
––––. Be an HVAC Technician. ISBN 9781534148208.
ea vol: 32p. (Guide to the Trades). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Cherry Lake. Aug. 2019. Tr. $29.93.
Gr 4-7 –Careers are explored from a variety of perspectives, including required education, common scenarios for each worker, potential day-to-day challenges, and rules and regulations governing each role. Chapters are divided consistently and provide a good balance of imagery and quick-fact captions and questions for advanced critical thinking. Men and women of all ages and ethnic and racial identities are shown in a variety of roles in this ­series. For example, women are depicted as trainers and educators and are also shown as tradeswomen. New concepts, as well as those specific to each trade, are bolded and included in the glossary. Suggestions for further reading include websites and books and reflect up-to-date information. VERDICT Both middle and high schoolers can discover a new world of career options thanks to this pragmatic and relevant series.

Marlowe, Christie & Andrew Morkes. Car Mechanic: Working Under the Hood. ISBN 9781422243220.
––––. Chef: A Culinary Artist. ISBN 9781422243237.
––––. Cosmetologist: Bring Beauty to your ­Client. ISBN 9781422243244.
––––. Dog Groomer: Beautifying Man’s Best Friend. ISBN 9781422243251.
––––. Presenting Yourself: How to Make a Great Impression. ISBN 9781422243282.
Morkes, Andy. The Arts: A Creative Future. ISBN 9781422243206.
Syrewicz, Connor & Andrew Morkes. Farmer: Feeding the World. ISBN 9781422243268.
––––. Massage Therapist: Providing Relief & Relaxation. ISBN 9781422243275.
ea vol: 80p. (Careers with Earning Potential). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Mason Crest. Sept. 2019. Tr. $32.95.
Gr 6 Up –These books present readers with challenging research and self-reflection questions that will get them thinking about their interests and educational goals. In the book about agriculture and farming careers, readers are asked how they prefer to learn and are challenged to research the pros and cons of hands-on vs. theoretical training. The topic of whether or not to pursue college degrees for each path is explored, and a balanced mix of perspectives is represented, making this series a level-headed choice for someone who might not be ready to commit to a traditional four-year degree program after high school. The books define potentially unfamiliar concepts and provide information about preparing for the rigors and rewards of each career and what it’s like to make a living in each. Salary information based on factors like geography, education level, and one’s desire for flexibility is provided, as well as an index and links to the publisher’s website, where there are videos and additional learning features. VERDICT Another great choice for vocational high school collections and public libraries that might serve community colleges.

This season, “Career Exploration” (Reference Point) stands out from the crowd for its unique organizational approach and format. Career options are presented in a way that will resonate with readers who might be undecided about their future career, who are choosing a college major or vocational degree, or who want to explore choices based on their existing skills. The series intended for late middle and high school students will also reach first-year college or vocational school students as they begin to map out a more focused course of study.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing