Current Trends in Service and Leadership | Government & Military Series Nonfiction

Informative and timely titles on government and the US military are featured this fall.

Informative and timely titles on government and the United States military are featured this fall. Information about the United States military is featured in “Amazing Military Machines”, “Serving With Honor”, and “Careers in the Military”. Facets of the United States government are explored in “Challenges for Democracy” and “Astro the Alien Learns About Civics”. Democracies in general are discussed in “Choosing Democracy”.



Krekelberg, A.M. Astro the Alien Learns about Public Holidays. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781684507627.
––––. Astro the Alien Learns about Voting. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781684507610.
––––. Astro the Alien Visits City Hall. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781684507603.
––––. Astro the Alien Visits the Capitol. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781684507597.
––––. Astro the Alien Visits the Supreme Court. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781684507580.
––––. Astro the Alien Visits the White House. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781684507573.
ea vol: illus. by Carlos Aón. 32p. (Beginning-to-Read: Astro the Alien Learns Civics). Norwood House. Aug. 2022. Tr. $25.27.
Gr 2-5 –In these colorful volumes young readers are introduced to the basics of United States civics. Astro the Alien teams up with Earth friends Ben and Eva to learn about United States holidays, voting, and various political entities. In Public Holidays, they go back in time to explore Juneteenth, Independence Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and Veteran’s Day. A class election allows for Ben and Eva to explain the voting process to Astro in Voting. A visit to the park invokes a lesson on how city halls are run in City Hall. A trip to Washington in Astro’s machine allows the three to see the Capitol, Supreme Court, and White House wherein Astro learns of the duties of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, and the President. Astro is an attractive protagonist that children will enjoy. Fun and readable, these titles do an excellent job in introducing the youngest readers to the basic functions of local and national governments. VERDICT These bright and entertaining volumes will entertain and inform and should be considered for purchase where enhancements to civics titles are needed.

Schuh, Mari. Military Aircraft. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781666350289.
––––. Military Drones and Robots. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781666350296.
––––. Military Ships and Submarines. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781666350302.
––––. Tanks and Other Military Vehicles. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781666350319.
ea vol: 24p. (Amazing Military Machines). Capstone/Pebble.Aug. 2022. Tr. $27.99.
K-Gr 3 –Employing simple and straightforward prose, the author succinctly describes the various equipment used by the military. Readers learn interesting facts such as the F-16 fighter jet flies 1300 miles per hour, TALON robots disable bombs, Typhoon is the largest submarine and it is propelled by nuclear power, and Leopard 2 is a thick-armored tank that relies on cameras for crew navigation. Colorful photographs of the various machines accompany the text. Young military enthusiasts should certainly appreciate these appealing introductions to the 21st century military. Accompanying photographs reflect the diversity of today’s armed forces. VERDICT Easy to read text ­accompanied by relevant photos ensure that these volumes will be popular among the intended audience and should be considered for purchase.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Banks, Anita. US Army. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781637383117.
Coupé, Jessica. Green Berets. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781637383087.
––––. US Marine Corps. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781637383131.
Gaertner, Meg. US Air Force. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781637383100.
Gagliardi, Sue. US Coast Guard. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781637383124.
––––. US National Guard. Bk. 7. ISBN 9781637383148.
Katz, Susan B. Navy SEALs. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781637383094.
Storm, Ashley. US Navy. Bk. 8. ISBN 9781637383155.
ea vol: 32p. (US Military). North Star Editions/Apex. Aug. 2022. Tr. $31.35.
Gr 2-5 –In simple, straightforward language, these volumes provide information about various aspects of the branches and special forces of the United States military. Featured in each title is the year and purpose of branch formation, weapons and techniques employed, and photographs of troops at work. Kids learn that the Army and Navy were created in 1775, the Coast Guard is responsible for sea rescues, the first female SEALS joined in 2021, and the Green Berets engage in guerilla warfare. Exciting scenarios are presented in the beginning to entice readers. The text is basic but refrains from being patronizing and the bright and engaging photographs serve to enhance it. Recent photos display the ­diversity of the modern US military. VERDICT Young readers seeking introductions to the military will find these volumes especially useful and purchasers should consider.

Conaghan, Bernard. Air Force. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781039660342.
––––. Army. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781039660328.
––––. Coast Guard. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781039660373.
––––. Marine Corps. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781039660359.
––––. Navy. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781039660335.
––––. Space Force. Bk. 6. ISBN 9781039660366.
ea vol: 32p. (Serving with Honor). Crabtree/Crabtree Branches. Sept. 2022. Tr. $30.60.
Gr 4-6 –These six volumes explore the various branches of the United States military. Each volume explains the purpose of the branch, provides examples of jobs and weapons and informs on requirements for entry. Facts such as the Air Force employs the fighter jet F-15 Eagle, the Army is responsible for military operations on land, and one of the Coast Guard jobs is Helicopter Rescue Swimmer are presented. The Marine Corps requires a 13 week boot camp and the Navy values honor, courage, and commitment. The Space Force is a new service branch and is part of the Air Force; it helps with the planning and launching of space flight. There is much overlap in information; all six mention the Medal of Honor and provide an example of a culinary specialist as a job in that branch. Color photographs complement the texts and show the diversity in today’s armed forces. The narratives are far from exciting, but they are informative. ­VERDICT Browsers curious about the functions of the various United States military branches will find some useful information; purchase should be considered based on need.

Currie-McGhee, Leanne. Intelligence and Cybersecurity Careers in the Military. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781678202927.
––––. Service Careers in the Military. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781678202965.
––––. STEM Careers in the Military. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781678203009.
Snyder, Gail. Medical Careers in the Military. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781678202941.
Streissguth, Tom. Skilled Trades in the Military. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781678202989.
ea vol: 64p. (Careers in the Military). ReferencePoint. Sept. 2022. Tr. $32.95.
Gr 5-8 –Tweens and teens considering ­careers in the military will find these volumes helpful in their decision-making process. Each volume explains the various jobs available along with requirements including basic education, skills, and personality. Working conditions are presented as well as personal accounts by those doing the jobs. Readers learn that logistic specialists ensure personnel have what they need, civil engineer ­officers maintain structures, electricians must not be colorblind, and air traffic controllers must be able to absorb information and remain calm. Because the holders of these jobs are in the military, they are still required to complete basic training and be prepared for relocation anywhere in the world including combat zones. These books provide balanced information about the positive and negative aspects of such careers Also, many of the people in these positions provide first-hand accounts of their jobs and how they achieve satisfaction from them despite long, irregular hours and the military discipline. Readers will also find how the military occupations translate into good paying civilian jobs and what the current outlook on those jobs is. Though only a handful of the several jobs are highlighted, readers will glean enough information to determine if a military career is a good fit. VERDICT Informative and factual, these volumes will complement career sections in public and school libraries.

Sjonger, Rebecca. Active Citizenship in ­Democracy. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781039663305.
––––. Democracy and Other Forms of ­Government. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781039663312.
ea vol: 48p. (Choosing Democracy). Crabtree/Crabtree Forest. Sept. 2022. Tr. $33.27.
Gr 5-8 –These two volumes provide a thesis for the importance of democracies in maintaining the rights of individuals. In Active Citizenship, the author defines democracies and uses the examples of the United States and Canada to illustrate how they function. Much emphasis is placed on citizen’s rights and responsibilities, including voting, petitioning, and jury duty. Democracy and Other Forms compares the democracies of Canada, the United States, and others with constitutional monarchies, absolute monarchies, and other forms of authoritarian regimes. There is some overlap in the volumes with both exploring human rights and the importance of active citizenship. Unlike other books that emphasize the United States’ form of democracy, these open readers’ eyes to the diverse types of governments. The information is good, and the narratives provide sufficient introductions to some of the complexities of the various democracies around the world. Unfortunately, the text is dense, and the colorful photographs are scattered throughout the pages in a distracting manner that some will find off-putting. Therefore, these titles will end up being “strictly for reports.” VERDICT These are usable, if unexciting, volumes for introducing young readers to the workings of democracies in comparison to other forms of government and collection decisions should be based on need.


Upper Middle School to High School

Allen, John. The Supreme Court: Activism Versus Restraint. Bk. 4. ISBN 9781678203085.
Castillo, Kristina. Political Parties: Division and Distrust. Bk. 3. ISBN 9781678203061.
Hulick, Kathryn. Media Literacy: Information and Disinformation. Bk. 2. ISBN 9781678203047.
Kallen, Stuart A. Voting: Rights and ­Suppression. Bk. 5. ISBN 9781678203108.
Loonin, Meryl. Clash of Powers: The President Versus Congress. Bk. 1. ISBN 9781678203023.
ea vol: 64p. (Challenges for Democracy). ReferencePoint. Sept. 2022. Tr. $32.95.
Gr 7-10 –Many political issues of the day are explored in these five volumes. Clash of Powers discusses the dissonance between the powers of the presidency and Congress. Voting examines how current state voting laws were influenced by the chaos of the 2020 presidential election. Media Literacy explains the differences between fake information and reality and how one can determine the differences. Political Parties describes the state of political parties with emphasis on their demographics and respective viewpoints. The Supreme Court emphasizes how activism and restraint depend on the point of view of those reacting to various court decisions. All of the ­volumes are informative; however, they tend to speak with a progressive voice which is reflected in such phrases as: “Republican lawmakers pushing for more restrictive voting laws.” Some narratives lack context, for instance, when describing the 2018 gubernatorial election, the author implies Secretary of State Brian Kemp purposely purged voters for political gain, without referring to his obligation to execute Georgia law. ( Voting) Most examples of media disinformation are about Trump’s disseminations. The volume on the Supreme Court provides the most balanced view of Court, especially regarding current cases on abortion and gun laws. However, that book is already out of date as it does not include the outcome of the Dobbs case, and the picture on the cover does not include the newest justice. The left-leaning Brennan Institute is often cited, especially in Voting. VERDICT Those looking for political tomes with a progressive slant to counter conservative voices will find these volumes ­useful (except for The Supreme Court); those seeking more ­balance will find it in the numerous other titles available on the same topics.

Young military enthusiasts will appreciate the information and photographs found in “Amazing Military ­Machines” (Capstone) and “US Military” (North Star Editions), while older readers exploring potential ­careers will find “Careers in the Military” (ReferencePoint) useful. “Astro the Alien” (Norwood House) provides an entertaining introduction to ­civics that young readers will appreciate.

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