Hale and Hearty: The Human Body Series Nonfiction

According to many adults, “If you have your health, you have everything!” Children and teens, however, may not be as familiar with this saying. But after reading these series, students will more fully understand their elders’ maxim and know much more about their bodies. 

According to many adults, “If you have your health, you have everything!” Children and teens, however, may not be as familiar with this saying. But after reading these series, students will more fully understand and appreciate their elders’ maxim and know much more about their bodies and keeping them strong and fit. They will also learn a great deal about what’s harmful to them, including the substances, habits, and reckless lifestyles that continue to make tragic national headlines. The good news is that these series will help students learn to avoid the pitfalls of risky behavior and make safe, healthy choices. Exciting new trends are on the health horizon: advances in bioengineering and medical technology that improve bodies and lives; mindfulness practice; and the recognition that emotional equilibrium is crucial to sound physical health. To your very good health, everyone!



Dell, Pamela. Why We Laugh: The Science of Giggles. ISBN 9780756561765; ISBN 9780756562212.
––––. Why We Love: The Science of Affection. ISBN 9780756561789; ISBN 9780756562236.
Lilley, Matt. Why We Cry: The Science of Tears. ISBN 9780756561758; ISBN 9780756562205.
Mayer, Melissa. Why We Rage: The Science of Anger. ISBN 9780756562168; ISBN 9780756562243.
––––. Why We Worry: The Science of Anxiety. ISBN 9780756562182; ISBN 9780756562250.
ea vol: 64p. (Decoding the Mind). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. Capstone/Compass Point. Aug. 2019. Tr. $35.32. pap. $8.95.
K-Gr 3 –Emotions are rooted in science/body chemistry. Parts of the brain govern feelings, determine our responses to situations, and cause the body to react accordingly. Emotions are serious and have been extensively researched, but these titles speak in a friendly, helpful, humorous tone, using colloquial language. Social-historical explanations are given for how emotions developed and evolved and the reasons we still have them: to maintain human connections and interactions. The volumes discuss why/when it’s appropriate to release feelings, why/when it’s not, and how to control or boost ourselves when necessary. Terrific colorful, labeled diagrams depict the physiological underpinnings of the brain parts and systems that regulate emotions and their physical manifestations. Other highlights: numerous sidebars, a “Reach Out” feature that guides readers in seeking help, and critical thinking questions. VERDICT Unessential but well written, fact filled, eye-catching, and conversation-provoking. Recommended for public and school libraries.

Marsico, Katie. Being Present. ISBN 9781534147126; ISBN 9781534149984.
––––. Compassion. ISBN 9781534147140; ISBN 9781534150003.
––––. Connection. ISBN 9781534147119; ISBN 9781534149977.
––––. Empathy. ISBN 9781534147096; ISBN 9781534149953.
––––. Meditation. ISBN 9781534147072; ISBN 9781534149939.
––––. Openness. ISBN 9781534147133; ISBN 9781534149991.
––––. Peace. ISBN 9781534147102; ISBN 9781534149960.
––––. Yoga. ISBN 9781534147089; ISBN 9781534149946.
ea vol: illus. by Jeff Bane. 24p. (My Early Library: My Mindful Day). glossary. illus. index. Cherry Lake. Aug. 2019. Tr. $28.50. pap. $12.79.
K-Gr 2 –These very simple books may be read in various ways: independently or as read-alouds or as one-on-ones shared with lap-sitters. Texts are narrated in a conversational tone in second person. Focused questions are interspersed throughout so children may pause for self-reflection, such as “What do you like about yourself?” and “What do you do to slow down?” The final page of most titles asks, “How can you be mindful today?” This self-help series encourages children to feel positive about themselves, others, and the world. Titles promote kindness, emphasize pausing/listening, and encourage meditation and yoga. Kids are reminded to ditch devices to be present in the moment. Commendably, illustrations, photos, and covers demonstrate “mindfulness” as they feature people of various skin tones and ethnicities. ­VERDICT A niche subject and more likely to be requested in public than school libraries.

Pettiford, Rebecca. The Circulatory System. ISBN 9781644870181.
––––. The Digestive System. ISBN 9781644870198.
––––. The Muscular System. ISBN 9781644870204.
––––. The Nervous System. ISBN 9781644870211.
––––. The Skeletal System. ISBN 9781644870235.
––––. The Respiratory System. ISBN 9781644870228.
ea vol: 24p. (Your Body Systems). diag. glossary. index. photos. Bellwether. Aug. 2019. Tr. $25.95.
K-Gr 3 –Simply written text provides very basic information about the body’s insides. Each title clearly explains what the system is, what each part of it does in and for the body, and why the system is important. New vocabulary is bold faced when first introduced and then defined in the glossary. Students’ comprehension is considerably boosted by numerous vividly colored, well-labeled, easy-to-understand diagrams that describe the system’s parts and functions. Other noteworthy graphics include good color photos of people of varied skin tones, ethnicities, and abilities, and in the feature “A Closer Look,” a glimpse at a system’s parts as if seen under a microscope. Each volume includes an enjoyable, easy hands-on activity that requires only readily accessible materials and reinforces understanding of the system’s functions. VERDICT An information-packed series that’s very comprehensible to young children. Recommended for public and school libraries.



Allen, John. The Opioid Crisis. ISBN 9781682826737.
Parks, Peggy J. Childhood Trauma. ISBN 9781682826676.
––––. Lead Contamination. ISBN 9781682826713.
Steffens, Bradley. Cell Phone Addiction. ISBN 9781682826652.
––––. Gun Violence. ISBN 9781682826690.
ea vol: 80p. (Emerging Issues in Public Health). further reading. index. photos. websites. ReferencePoint. Sept. 2019. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 5-8 –Engrossing volumes open with sobering introductions, usually real-life experiences. Narratives are well written, concise, and intelligent; topic coverage is well reasoned and comprehensive. All titles recount numerous victims’ tragic case histories and, occasionally, legal battles, taken from news reports, making issues more compelling and personal. The volumes make convincing arguments that these topics represent major health crises, are more urgent than imagined, and must be grappled with now. By presenting causes and multifaceted solutions, the series achieves its goals of not only raising awareness and social consciousness but also arousing feelings of activism. Graphics, including statistical charts and diagrams, are excellent; some photos are heartbreaking, some frightening. Sidebars feature research studies, personal anecdotes, or additional commentary. VERDICT A fine, clearly argued, thought-provoking series. Written with respect for readers’ intelligence and recommended for serious, socially minded students in public and school libraries.

Chandler, Matt. Understanding Mental Health. ISBN 9781534148024; ISBN 9781534150881.
––––. Understanding Obesity. ISBN 9781534147997; ISBN 9781534150850.
––––. Understanding Suicide. ISBN 9781534148000; ISBN 9781534150867.
––––. Understanding Tobacco. ISBN 9781534148017; ISBN 9781534150874.
Gilles, Renae. Understanding Alcohol. ISBN 9781534147959; ISBN 9781534150812.
––––. Understanding Drugs. ISBN 9781534147980; ISBN 9781534150843.
––––. Understanding Eating Disorders. ISBN 9781534147966; ISBN 9781534150829.
––––. Understanding Screen Addiction. ISBN 9781534147973; ISBN 9781534150836.
ea vol: 32p. (Upfront Health). glossary. index. websites. Cherry Lake. Aug. 2019. Tr. $29.93. pap. $14.21.
Gr 4-8 –Candidly explains, without preachiness, how these issues harm body and mind, social life, and future prospects. Displaying understanding and respect, titles concede that young people may experiment—but stress caution and moderation, helping readers understand they can choose wisely. Perhaps the series’ biggest plus is its tone, like that of a caring, trusted adviser concerned for a young person’s welfare, offering guidance to seek help when needed; hotline numbers are given. “Making Healthy Choices” ends each book on a hopeful note, emphasizing positivity. Handsome design elements are in each title: a comprehensible statistical chart or diagram, good photos, and numerous fact-filled sidebars that include critical thinking questions or offer guidance. “Think About It” concludes every title with background facts and then challenges students to do research and answer questions. VERDICT Highly recommended. A well-written, intelligent, empowering series covering timely topics. Unsurprisingly, Suicide is the most sobering.

Edwards, Sue Bradford. Stem Cells. ISBN 9781641857680; ISBN 9781641858373.
Gagne, Tammy. Artificial Organs. ISBN 9781641857628; ISBN 9781641858311.
––––. Exoskeletons. ISBN 9781641857635; ISBN 9781641858328.
––––. Extra Senses. ISBN 9781641857642; ISBN 9781641858335.
Huddleston, Emma. Prosthetics. ISBN 9781641857673; ISBN 9781641858366.
Marquardt, Meg. Gene Editing. ISBN 9781641857659; ISBN 9781641858342.
Ventura, Marne. Artificial Joints. ISBN 9781641857611; ISBN 9781641858304.
––––. Hearing Devices. ISBN 9781641857666; ISBN 9781641858359.
ea vol: 32p. (Engineering the Human Body). glossary. index. North Star/Focus Readers. Aug. 2019. Tr. $28.50. pap. $9.95.
Gr 4-7 –Biomedical engineering improves lives and bodies; this fascinating series succeeds at making this complex topic accessible. It examines currently available innovations, ongoing research, and exciting future possibilities. Readers learn how these technologies were developed, how they’re used, and what they’re made of. Anecdotes about real people demonstrate how biomedical marvels worked; interesting sidebars supplement texts. Good photos capture microscopic glimpses of body parts and cells, labeled examples of technologies and devices (sometimes in use), and scientists at work. Other fine graphics include comprehensible charts and diagrams. In each volume, “How It Works” explains the technology fully; “Focus On” challenges students with sum-up and critical thinking activities and a short multiple-choice quiz (answers provided). VERDICT Engaging, information packed; recommended for public and school libraries. In science or current-events units, educators can have students brainstorm future biomedical technologies and why they’re needed.

Rose, Simon. Circulatory System. ISBN 9781489699350; ISBN 9781489699367.
––––. Digestive System. ISBN 9781489699183; ISBN 9781489699190.
––––. Muscular System. ISBN 9781489699268; ISBN 9781489699275.
––––. Nervous System. ISBN 9781489699145; ISBN 9781489699152.
––––. Respiratory System. ISBN 9781489699220; ISBN 9781489699237.
––––. Skeletal System. ISBN 9781489699312; ISBN 9781489699329.
ea vol: 32p. (Body Systems). chron. glossary. index. maps. photos. Weigl/AV2 by Weigl. Aug. 2019. Tr. $29.99. pap. $13.95.
Gr 4-6 –A clearly written, very detailed series. Some sophisticated, technical terms that will be unfamiliar to some students are presented; not all are included in the glossaries or provided with pronunciation guides. Multiple visuals and features—clearly labeled/captioned images, up-close charts and diagrams of each system’s components, sidebars, and factoid boxes with fascinating statistics and trivia—enhance comprehension. A pictorial, captioned time line in each volume features highlights in the historical development of knowledge of the system over centuries. This is an “AV2 media-enhanced” series: Using a code on page two of each title, students can access supplementary content and learning opportunities online, including audio, video, activities, experiments, and quizzes. Each title concludes with career information, a quiz, and a hands-on activity that clarifies how the system works. VERDICT Very well done; best suited to mature, serious students rather than striving readers. Excellent for reports. Recommended for public and school libraries.

Younger students and middle graders will be treated to a thorough examination of their bodies’ insides and learn a lot from the fact-filled, comprehensive titles in “Your Body Systems” (Bellwether) and “Body Systems” (Weigl/AV2 by Weigl). “Upfront Health” (Cherry Lake) delivers intelligent presentations on major current national health crises and reckless daily habits, as does “Emerging Issues in Public Health” (ReferencePoint). “Engineering the Human Body” (North Star/Focus Readers) focuses on cutting-edge developments in bioengineering and medical technology. Finally, “Decoding the Mind” (Capstone/Compass Point) explains why people behave as they do, validates emotions, and will help students understand their feelings better.

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