Personal Growth | Social Science Series Nonfiction

There is a broad range of topics in this section and they will help readers better understand themselves and the world around them.

The broad range of topics in this section will help readers better understand themselves and the world around them. They will learn about life skills, money management, and making good choices. On a larger scale, they will learn about economics, inventions, and idioms.



Emminizer, Theresa. We Are Respectful. ISBN 9781538389164.
––––. We Follow the Rules. ISBN 9781538389201.
––––. We Listen. ISBN 9781538389249.
––––. We Take Turns. ISBN 9781538389287.
––––. We Treat Others Well. ISBN 9781538389324.
Shea, Therese M. We Are Honest. ISBN 9781538389126.
ea vol: 24p. (Little Citizens). Rosen/PowerKids Pr. Dec. 2022. Tr. $25.27.
Gr 1-3 –Be respectful, be honest, listen well, and be courteous. Children learn these staples of good citizenship, but what do they look like in action? This series defines each trait and describes situations where children were respectful by being fair or brave by telling the truth. The author takes the simple command, “Be nice,” and lets young readers see how they can accomplish that with simple behavior choices. The font is large, clear, and easy to read; the page backgrounds are a pleasing blue watercolor; and America’s diverse population is represented in large photos of children on every other page. A glossary, further reading, and an index are included. VERDICT A recommended resource for helping young children understand kindness.

Gaston, Stephanie. Attorney General. ISBN 9781638979661.
––––. Governor. ISBN 9781638979685.
––––. Judge. ISBN 9781638979692.
––––. Mayor. ISBN 9781638979708.
––––. School Superintendent. ISBN 9781638979715.
––––. Senator. ISBN 9781638979678.
ea vol: 24p. (The Job of a Civic Leader). Seahorse/Starfish. Jan. 2023. Tr. $24.75.
K-Gr 2 –The function of government officials is demystified in this series. In easy-to-read font, early readers learn about the jobs of local officials and federal office holders, including the requirements for the job, why the job is important, and some notable individuals who have held the position in the past. The text is often minimal, with just one or two sentences to a page. Text-heavy pages are laid out on backgrounds illustrated like lined yellow pads. Each book includes a glossary, an index, and a mix of multiple choice and true/false comprehension questions. At the start of each title, the publisher has supplied reading tips for caregivers and teachers. VERDICT Purchase if there is a hole in your collection.

Hilliard, Lacey & AnneMarie McClain. Talking About Body Image. ISBN 9781668919330.
––––. Talking About Death. ISBN 9781668919293.
––––. Talking About Disability. ISBN 9781668919354.
––––. Talking About Family. ISBN 9781668919316.
––––. Talking About Gender. ISBN 9781668919361.
––––. Talking About Mental Health. ISBN 9781668919309.
––––. Talking About Racism. ISBN 9781668919323.
––––. Talking About Religion. ISBN 9781668919347.
ea vol: 24p. (Topics to Talk About). Cherry Lake. Jan. 2023. Tr. $30.64.
Gr 2-4 –Tough topics are handled in a straightforward manner in this series. The authors promote positive body image, antiracism, gender equality, and mental health awareness. Each book ends with a creative activity to demonstrate the readers’ new knowledge and asks children to put themselves in the shoes of someone experiencing trauma, such as the death of a loved one or racism. However, the efficacy of the text is somewhat diminished by poor format choices; for example, vocabulary words are yellow on a white page, which creates poor contrast according to ADA recommendations. Additionally, there are other occurrences of text over images that create poor pairings, and some of those images are extremely pixelated. The books include a glossary, an index, and resources. VERDICT Unless the format is improved during the final printing, this series should be skipped in favor of something that can appeal to all readers.

Hill, Christina. Infographics: Budgeting. ISBN 9781668919262.
––––. Infographics: Incentives. ISBN 9781668919279.
––––. Infographics: Inflation. ISBN 9781668919231.
––––. Infographics: Scarcity. ISBN 9781668919255.
––––. Infographics: Supply and Demand. ISBN 9781668919224.
––––. Infographics: Supply Chains. ISBN 9781668919217.
––––. Infographics: The Stock Market. ISBN 9781668919286.
––––. Infographics: Trade. ISBN 9781668919248.
ea vol: 24p. (Econo-Graphics Jr.). Cherry Lake. Jan. 2023. Tr. $30.64.
Gr 2-4 –Economics gets an early introduction through the heavy use of charts, graphs, time lines, and other graphics. While the survey of economic topics is necessarily cursory, it does touch on many subjects, such as budgeting, subsidies, the stock market, and inflation. Each book includes an activity to reinforce the concepts. While understanding savings versus debt is useful at any age, the same cannot be said for cryptocurrency versus stocks or workplace incentives. In the effort to include so much information in graphic format, what text is left is dry. ­VERDICT Does a third-grader need to know how much money is traded on the global stock exchanges? Pass on this one.

Miller, Connie Colwell. He Made Fun of Me. ISBN 9781645492795.
––––. My Best Friend’s New Friend. ISBN 9781645492740.
––––. My Friend Embarrassed Me. ISBN 9781645492788.
––––. My Friend Won’t Talk to Me. ISBN 9781645492771.
––––. My Friends Are Fighting. ISBN 9781645492764.
––––. My Friends Spread a Rumor. ISBN 9781645492757.
ea vol: illus. by Sofia Cardoso. 24p. (Making Good Choices). Amicus Illustrated. Jan. 2023. Tr. $34.25.
Gr 2-4 –Social-Emotional Learning gets a choose-your-own-adventure twist. In each book, children are confronted with social situations that they will recognize from school, the playground, or the bus stop. The choose-your-own-adventure format lets reader see possible outcomes based on the behaviors of the characters. Will the bullied student tell the teacher? Will the friend try to break up the fight? After exploring multiple endings, it will become apparent that there is not always a magic answer or perfect solution, as you cannot control other people or how they will react. Some of the options lead to very short stories, but that is okay; there are plenty of endings available to keep kids reading. VERDICT Sweet illustrations and multiple endings make this fun to read. The realistic reactions and situations make it a useful tool for SEL learning.

Scheffer, Janie. Astro the Alien Learns About Compassion. ISBN 9781684507368.
––––. Astro the Alien Learns About Empathy. ISBN 9781684507375.
––––. Astro the Alien Learns About Mindfulness. ISBN 9781684507337.
––––. Astro the Alien Learns About Perseverance. ISBN 9781684507320.
––––. Astro the Alien Learns About Respect. ISBN 9781684507351.
––––. Astro the Alien Learns About Responsibility. ISBN 9781684507344.
ea vol: illus. by Carlos Aón. 32p. (Astro the Alien Learns Life Skills). Norwood House. Jan. 2023. Tr. $25.27.
Gr 1-3 –Astro the Alien learns important life lessons from his friends Eva and Ben in this social-emotional learning series that teaches early readers empathy, responsibility, and other skills by following Astro as he navigates humanity. The books follow a formula: everyday occurrences lead Eva or Ben to acknowledge compassion, perseverance, or another topic, and Astro, knowing nothing of these Earth words, asks them to explain. After providing a definition, the rest of the book shows the traits in action. The text is followed by reading reinforcement activities, such as a word list, close reading questions, and fluency exercises. VERDICT Purchase to fill collection gaps, but there is not much that sets this apart from other books covering this topic.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Amoroso, Cynthia. Break a Leg! ISBN 9781503865594.
––––. Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth! ISBN 9781503865600.
––––. The Early Bird Catches the Worm! ISBN 9781503865655.
––––. Go Fly a Kite! ISBN 9781503865563.
––––. Hold Your Horses! ISBN 9781503865631.
––––. I’m On Cloud Nine! ISBN 9781503865662.
––––. I’m Tickled Pink! ISBN 9781503865617.
––––. It’s as Clear as a Bell! ISBN 9781503865624.
––––. Keep Your Eyes Peeled! ISBN 9781503865648.
––––. There’s a Bug in My Ear! ISBN 9781503865556.
––––. You Let the Cat Out of the Bag! ISBN 9781503865570.
––––. You’re Clean As a Whistle! ISBN 9781503865587.
ea vol: illus. by Mernie Gallagher-Cole. 24p. (Understanding Idioms). The Child’s World/Wonder. Jan. 2023. Tr. $31.36.
Gr 3-5 –Out like a light. Play it by ear. Off the hook. Who isn’t curious where these ­silly sayings come from? This extensive series demystifies just about every idiom a young reader can think of. Each phrase is used in a paragraph and given a definition followed by its origin story. Funny illustrations ­accompany the phrases and take up much of the page. Each page fits one or two phrases, and each book concludes with a glossary, an index, and resources for further reading. Children are also given extension activities to continue exploring idioms. VERDICT This series is a dictionary of idioms that lets kids have fun with language. ­Recommended.

Boothroyd, Jennifer. Making Money. ISBN 9798885094177.
––––. Managing Credit. ISBN 9798885094184.
––––. Taxes. ISBN 9798885094207.
Owen, Ruth. Budgeting. ISBN 9798885094153.
––––. Investing. ISBN 9798885094160.
––––. Saving. ISBN 9798885094191.
ea vol: 32p. (Personal Finance: Need to Know). Bearport/SilverTip. Jan. 2023. Tr. $28.50.
Gr 5-8 –This series delivers straightforward financial information to readers. Topics covered include credit scores, interest rates, budgeting, and saving. The author relates each subject to a real-life money situation, such as saving for a computer or investing birthday money. The books feature full-page photos and sidebars. Each title concludes with a review page that has key words, comprehension questions, a critical-thinking question, and test-taking strategies. There is also a glossary, index, and list of further reading. VERDICT This series does a serviceable job introducing financial topics to readers. An additional selection.

Kalman, Bobbie. Communication. ISBN 9781510554924.
––––. Community Helpers. ISBN 9781510554948.
––––. Food and Farming. ISBN 9781510554962.
––––. School Days. ISBN 9781510554986.
––––. Toys and Games. ISBN 9781510555020.
––––. Travel. ISBN 9781510555006.
ea vol: 24p. (Then and Now). Lightbox Learning/Lightbox. Jan. 2023. Tr. $24.99.
Gr 3-5 –Children will be amazed at how different school, travel, and communication are now compared to the past. However, they will be equally shocked to find that some things remain constant through time. This series examines topics familiar to young readers, exploring how they have evolved through history to the present day. This includes innovations in farming and food preservation, the changing demographics of educational professionals, and improvements in fire fighting and safety. The pages are filled with photos, charts, maps, and questions to keep readers engaged. A quiz, glossary, and index follow the text. VERDICT Fascinating historical content presented in an aesthetically ­pleasing way that will keep kids reading. Recommended.


Understanding Idioms (The Child’s World) and Making Good Choices (Amicus) are the strongest contenders for purchase. Whether for subject matter or format, they are all unique and attention-grabbing. Fans of joke books will enjoy something a little different with Understanding Idioms. Making Good Choices is a character-building, interactive book that kids can read with an adult.

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