Students Interested in a Career in Tech? We’ve Got You Covered

The latest careers series are ideal for kids and teens who can’t stop making, coding, and developing gadgets.

Innovative additions to career series get kids thinking about such things as who is responsible for the food they eat, what jobs are tied to helping causes, and which technology jobs are most in demand. Some volumes offer innumerable do-at-home activities and engage the entrepreneurial spirit with jobs that preteens can start now. Colorful formatting and graphics draw readers to titles that are interactive, inspire further inquiry, and share valuable input from real people. Some entries revisit traditional jobs in terms of new skill sets and introduce STEAM opportunities in coding and big data management, as technology continues to drive our economy and our educational focus.


Bailey, R.J. Astronomer. ISBN 9781620317129.

––––. Biologist. ISBN 9781620317136.

––––. Chemist. ISBN 9781620317143.

––––. Climate Scientist. ISBN 9781620317167.

––––. Electrical Engineer. ISBN 9781620317174.

––––. Software Engineer. ISBN 9781620317198.

Bethea, Nikole B. Civil Engineer. ISBN 9781620317150.

––––. Mechanical Engineer. ISBN 9781620317181.

ea vol: 24p. (STEM Careers). diag. glossary. index. photos. websites. Jump!/Pogo. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $25.65.

Gr 2-5 –Tying jobs to a cause or mission is a great way to engage students. Here, climate scientists are portrayed as “soldiers in this fight” to find ways to slow the effects of climate change, biologists “solve problems like disease and hunger,” and chemists “make our world safer.” Readers are encouraged to work hard and learn as much science and math as possible. Stock photos show smiling children and a diverse group of adults at work using tools of the trade. Vocabulary is reinforced in text, such as describing a prototype as a “first model.” Directions are given for making a paper towel tube telescope or experimenting with sprout seeds in various liquids—doable activities for youngsters to try at home, with guidance. VERDICT An upbeat tone about altruistic work that will hook elementary readers on STEM.

Bard, Jonathan. Video Game Developer. ISBN 9781508155683; ISBN 9781508155744.

Faust, Daniel R. Cybersecurity Expert. ISBN 9781508155713; ISBN 9781508155775.

Honders, Christine. Software Architect. ISBN 9781508155690; ISBN 9781508155751.

Linde, Barbara M. Computer Network Architect. ISBN 9781508155720; ISBN 9781508155782.

Machajewski, David. Mobile Applications Designer. ISBN 9781508155706; ISBN 9781508155768.

Shofner, Melissa Raé. Web Developer. ISBN 9781508155676; ISBN 9781508155737.

ea vol: 32p. (Behind the Scenes with Coders). charts. glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $26.25. pap. $10.

Gr 3-6 –Wisely beginning with some historical context for computer coding, each title credits past figures and innovations that have led to present developments. For example, Tim Berners-Lee wanted scientists around the world to be able to share research, so in 1980 he described an idea that led to the first web browser. The titles similarly explain code as a “set of instructions a computer can understand” or as “the many steps of a recipe” that tell a device to do something. Stock photos don’t add much to the knowledge base, but color-coding the text boxes and paraphrasing to reinforce vocabulary are helpful aids in comprehending the technical information. While job specializations vary, the importance of reasoning, problem solving, and communication skills is echoed throughout, along with the value of hands-on learning opportunities such as internships and co-ops. Vetted web resources are offered via a link at the end. VERDICT Not a flashy series, but solid writing and sound coding information at an introductory level.

Charles, Audrey. I Can Be a Doctor. ISBN 9781482463194; ISBN 9781482463170.

––––. I Can Be a Firefighter. ISBN 9781482463231; ISBN 9781482463217.

––––. I Can Be a Police Officer. ISBN 9781482463279; ISBN 9781482463255.

Franco, Michou. I Can Be a Scientist. ISBN 9781482463316; ISBN 9781482463293.

––––. I Can Be a Teacher. ISBN 9781482463354; ISBN 9781482463330.

––––. I Can Be a Writer. ISBN 9781482463392; ISBN 9781482463378.

ea vol: 24p. (I Can Be Anything!). index. photos. Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $22.60. pap. $8.15.

PreS-Gr 2 –Simple sentences, refrains, and frequent interjections encourage early readers to get excited about future career possibilities, as in, “I can be a teacher. So can you!” The jobs spotlighted are those familiar to young children, and the professionals are portrayed as helpers, as when Officer Smith helped when “Dan got hurt on his bike,” and when “Ann was lost.” Scientists study plants to help farmers grow food, and teachers listen and make sure students are safe. One fact per page is balanced with a full-page photo on the opposite side. Adults are shown in occupational garb performing typical tasks and using job-related tools such as a scientist’s microscope or firefighter’s ax. An “Early Reader” designation on the cover, a “Words to Know” Pictionary, and an overall visually uncluttered format support the read-alone process. VERDICT Empowering “I can” statements mirror current learning-objective initiatives. Consider for large collections.

Crane, Cody. Race Cars. ISBN 9780 531235027; ISBN 9780531241455.

––––. Robots. ISBN 9780531235010; ISBN 9780531241448.

Hackett, Jennifer. Game Design. ISBN 9780531235034; ISBN 9780531241462.

Hamalainen, Karina. Animation. ISBN 9780531235041; ISBN 9780531241479.

ea vol: 48p. (A True Book: Behind the Scenes). chron. glossary. photos. websites. Children’s Pr. Sept. 2017. lib. ed. $31. pap. $7.95.

Gr 2-5 –For kids who thrive on the excitement of fast cars, video games, movies, and robots, these titles look behind the scenes and test readers’ knowledge with activities to see if they’ve got the right stuff. The focus is largely on the people who make things happen, such as engineers who study the forces that act on a race car and animators who strive to make the digital world as realistic as possible. Artists, writers, and programmers are related jobs that utilize game design. Glimpses from history, time lines, and short bios provide a big picture of development, and an archival photo of the first animation machine (the zoetrope, invented in 1834) is fascinating. “Build It!” activities include making a 3-D model or a flip-book. STEM connections, such as explaining how “frame rate” determines clarity of a movie or how biomimicry, copying animal movements and patterns found in nature, relates to animation, offer curricular tie-ins. At the start readers are asked to guess a true or false statement, then must read on to find out. VERDICT Beyond its high-interest appeal, this interactive series bears consideration for its challenging vocabulary and STEM ties.

Gagne, Tammy. Start Your Pet-Sitting Business. ISBN 9781515766896.

Higgins, Melissa. Start Your Babysitting Business. ISBN 9781515766919.

Leavitt, Amie Jane. Start Your Yard-Work Business. ISBN 9781515766926.

Meinking, Mary. Start Your Crafting Business. ISBN 9781515766902.

ea vol: 32p. (Build Your Business). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $27.99.

Gr 3-5 –Preteens looking to earn money get a fresh look at some age-old pursuits. Self-awareness questions gauge job affinity (Do you have a talent for crafts? Do you like pets?), and readers are prompted to think about how to match their interests to a need in the community. Step-by-step success tips are commonsensical, such as learning about the habits and exercise regimen of the pets you will be sitting. If weather variations affect lawn mowing, brainstorm other services such as weeding, raking, or snow shoveling. Marketing suggestions include flyers, brochures, and business cards to give to family, friends, and neighbors, rather than posting on social media. Safety is also stressed when it comes to leashing a dog, keeping equipment secure, or providing first aid for children. Advice on handling pitfalls, money exchanges, and other sticky business is valuable information. The format is crisp and colorful with photos of kids on the job, as well as sidebars and readable text. VERDICT This set will have long shelf life for its wide appeal, and parents will like it, too.

Heos, Bridget. From Cocoa Beans to Chocolate. ISBN 9781681511207; ISBN 9781681521459.

––––. From Grapes to Jelly. ISBN 9781681511221; ISBN 9781681521473.

––––. From Milk to Cheese. ISBN 9781681511191; ISBN 9781681521442.

––––. From Milk to Ice Cream. ISBN 9781681511214; ISBN 9781681521466.

––––. From Peanuts to Peanut Butter. ISBN 9781681511238; ISBN 9781681521480.

––––. From Wheat to Bread. ISBN 9781681511184; ISBN 9781681521435.

ea vol: illus. by Stephanie Fizer Coleman. 24p. (Who Made My Lunch?). further reading. glossary. maps. websites. Amicus. Jul. 2017. lib. ed. $29.95. pap. $8.99.

K-Gr 3 –Prompted by the question “Who made my lunch?,” these titles highlight the people responsible for the production of food items, such as the wheat farmer, miller, and baker who produce sandwich bread, or the dairy farmer, processors, and sugar caners who help make ice cream. Maps and climate conditions provide agriculture and geography facts, while the waste-saving measures of the peanut farmer, who saves roasted peanut skins to feed pigs and peanut hearts to feed birds, reveal environmental savvy. Context clues help with text vocabulary; wheat goes “dormant” in cold months, “sort of like taking a nap.” Scientific processes and math figures are integrated for an interdisciplinary approach. Some social commentary informs students about Fair Trade practices in other countries. VERDICT A clever triple-dip into agriculture concepts, career awareness, and ELA sequencing skills for younger elementary students.

Mitchell, P.P. Join the Air Force. ISBN 9781538205327; ISBN 9781538205310.

––––. Join the Army. ISBN 9781538205365; ISBN 9781538205341.

––––. Join the Coast Guard. ISBN 9781538205426; ISBN 9781538205389.

––––. Join the Marines. ISBN 9781538205464; ISBN 9781538205440.

––––. Join the National Guard. ISBN 9781538205532; ISBN 9781538205556.

––––. Join the Navy. ISBN 9781538205501; ISBN 9781538205488.

ea vol: 32p. (U.S. Armed Forces). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $26.60. pap. $10.50.

Gr 2-5 –Green camouflage borders and dog tag text boxes are an eye-catching format to lure elementary readers interested in the military. Service branch descriptions are kept simple, such as “Marines train for all kinds of missions in water, on land, and in the air.” An emphasis on physical fitness and intense job training underscores an active way of life that also includes living by a creed or ethos and being away from loved ones. Close-up captioned photos feature service members in action scenarios, and there is plenty of attention given to different types of uniforms. Readers will learn the various paths to service, such as basic training for enlistees, then individual training or special team preparation that might be needed in rescue or natural disasters. Lists detail all the ranks for both enlisted personnel and officers, and numerical facts provide context for the size and scope of military operations. A positive tone tells readers that to be a good candidate for service, they must be respectful, honest, and a good friend and classmate. VERDICT Photos, graphics, and text are equally informative in this solid and age-appropriate series; consider especially for military buffs.

Middle to High School

Abramovitz, Melissa. Cybersecurity Analyst. 64p. ISBN 9781682821824.

Hulick, Kathryn. Robotics Engineer. 64p. ISBN 9781682821862.

––––. Virtual Reality Developer. 64p. ISBN 9781682821909.

Kemper, Bitsy. Software Engineer. 64p. ISBN 9781682821886.

Steffens, Bradley. Big Data Analyst. 80p. ISBN 9781682821763.

––––. Biomedical Engineer. 64p. ISBN 9781682821787.

Watson, Stephanie. Video Game Designer. 64p. ISBN 9781682821848.

ea vol: (Cutting Edge Careers). index. notes. photos. websites. ReferencePoint. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $39.93.

Gr 5 Up –Each title starts with an introductory infograph called “At a Glance” and leaves no doubt that the future belongs to math and science, pointing to large job growth percentages, high average salaries, and minimum educational requirements that do not always demand a four-year degree. Analysts in Big Data and Cybersecurity are in high demand to manage and protect the billions of records and unstructured data that are produced each day. The narrative is current and on top of the latest research and development, mentioning innovations such as motion-tracking gloves that allow users to touch virtual objects. The conversation flows easily and covers all of the traditional training, salary, and outlook information. Interesting asides address moral issues, such as robots taking jobs away from humans, the lack of women in software engineering jobs, and the critical need to be able to translate “geek-speak” to nonengineers. Inset boxes with quotes from the field, question-and-answer interviews, and close-up captioned photos are all icing on the cake. VERDICT Technology advancements at a breakneck pace make this a timely addition to high school career and STEM collections.

Allman, Toney. Careers If You Like Animals. ISBN 9781682821343.

Kallen, Stuart A. Careers If You Like Sports. ISBN 9781682821428.

––––. Careers If You Like the Outdoors. ISBN 9781682821404.

Mooney, Carla. Careers If You Like Video Games. ISBN 9781682821442.

Roberts, Laura. Careers If You Like Music. ISBN 9781682821381.

Snyder, Gail. Careers If You Like Helping People. ISBN 9781682821367.

ea vol: 80p. (Career Discovery). index. notes. photos. ReferencePoint. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $39.93.

Gr 6 Up –A straightforward presentation of eight career profiles for each interest area conveys realistic expectations. In Animals, as in the other titles, skill and education levels vary, (a doctorate is typically required to be an entomologist, while a college degree is not necessary to be a farrier, or horse shoer). A colored text box shares familiar job facts referenced from the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), such as working conditions, education, salary, and employment outlook (there is a link to this seminal reference from the Bureau of Labor found in the back). Each narrative flows accessibly, noting a typical day in the life, physical demands, and future prospects in the current economy. In Music, the statement “passion versus payment is common” warns that music jobs may be hard to come by. Quotes from people in the field also lend an authentic element, and this commentary is largely optimistic and inspiring. VERDICT A balanced mix of jobs for middle and high school students of all abilities and interests.

Benedict, Aaron. Using Computer Science in High-Tech Health and Wellness Careers. ISBN 9781508175155.

Culp, Jennifer. Using Computer Science in Digital Gaming Careers. ISBN 9781508175223.

––––. Using Computer Science in Digital Music Careers. ISBN 9781508175179.

Hand, Carol. Using Computer Science in High-Tech Criminal Justice Careers. ISBN 9781508175117.

Mooney, Carla. Using Computer Science in Financial Technology Careers. ISBN 9781508175131.

––––. Using Computer Science in Online Retail Careers. ISBN 9781508175193.

ea vol: 80p. (Coding Your Passion). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $35.75.

Gr 7 Up –One message from this series is that students can learn about coding online by experimenting with animation studios and interactive story sites, and get insight into career possibilities by volunteering at conferences and networking with professionals. Separately authored titles vary slightly in tone and flow; Digital Gaming uses more techie language, while Criminal Justice is very beginner-friendly. All contain pop culture references, the latest apps, and new advances in the field. Format distractions include alternating font styles and changing backgrounds from black to white. Stock photos are more decorative than informative, but there is attention to explaining industry-specific vocabulary such as crunch (deadlines), modding (modifying), and microtransactions (ability to purchase virtual goods). One title mentions a “gender imbalance” in music production (mostly men) and offers names of organizations specifically for women. VERDICT This series offers a more casual path to coding jobs and is an accessible entry point for curious teens.

Chomet, Natalie. How to Create Digital Portfolios to Apply for College and Jobs. ISBN 9781508175285.

Gordon, Sherri. How to Create Digital Portfolios to Develop Communication Skills. ISBN 9781508175308.

Leavitt, Amie Jane. How to Create Digital Portfolios for Collaborative Projects. ISBN 9781508175247.

McCormick, Anita Louise. How to Create Digital Portfolios to Showcase Your Achievements and Interests. ISBN 9781508175346.

Thurston, IV. How to Create Digital Portfolios for Problem Solving and Innovation. ISBN 9781508175261.

Timmons, Angie. How to Create Digital Portfolios to Show What You Know. ISBN 9781508175322.

ea vol: 64p. (Project Learning Using Digital Portfolios). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $34.45.

Gr 7 Up –All titles in this series say similar things about the need to showcase one’s achievements, the criteria for choosing what to highlight, and the accessibility of digital portfolios for employers. Recurring suggestions urge students to focus on achievements and skill sets and to use a variety of media such as written work, audio, and video. Most of the contributors suggest including a reflective piece, to explain to viewers why portfolio items were chosen. Differences among contributors seem to lie in platform preferences, such as WordPress, Behance, Weebly, Wix, YouTube, or LinkedIn. Sample bios offer success stories in using portfolios, but the biggest drawback is the lack of portfolio samples or links to see an actual digital portfolio. ­VERDICT Read one title and you’ve read them all. Consider for large career collections.

Hinton, Kerry. Becoming a User Interface and User Experience Engineer. ISBN 9781508175643.

Kamberg, Mary-Lane. Becoming a Database Administrator. ISBN 9781508175520.

––––. Becoming a Systems Administrator. ISBN 9781508175568.

La Bella, Laura. Becoming a Data Engineer. ISBN 9781508175506.

––––. Becoming a Systems Analyst. ISBN 9781508175582.

Leavitt, Amie Jane. Becoming a Project Manager. ISBN 9781508175605.

––––. Becoming a Software Engineer. ISBN 9781508175544.

Porterfield, Jason. Becoming a Quality Assurance Engineer. ISBN 9781508175629.

ea vol: 80p. (Tech Track: Building Your Career in IT). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $35.75.

Gr 7 Up –Some unique career titles in this set reflect a forward look at technology jobs that have immediate potential. User Interface and User Experience Engineer speaks to the fierce competition (especially in the personal device market) to satisfy customer demands, identify program flaws, and fix errors. Data Engineer focuses on the exponential growth of information and transactions, and how to store them. Some titles provide historical references (Charles Babbage, “Father of Computing,” for one). Short worker profiles and day-in-the-life portions are welcome glimpses into the working conditions and preparation for the job. Vocabulary help is contextual, as in skeuomorphics (features not immediately noticeable in apps), hackathon (brainstorming via computer), and deconstructing engineering (taking things apart). STEAM skills are mentioned frequently in designing technology. ­VERDICT A slam dunk for secondary career and STEAM collections.

Hunsaker, Jennifer. Athletic Trainers. ISBN 9781422237953.

––––. Dental Hygienists. ISBN 9781 422237977.

––––. Dietitian Nutritionists. ISBN 9781 422237984.

––––. Occupational Therapists. ISBN 9781 422238011.

––––. Physical Therapists. ISBN 9781 422238035.

––––. Respiratory Therapists. ISBN 9781 422238059.

––––. Ultrasound Technicians. ISBN 9781 422238073.

Simon, Samantha. Clinical & Medical Laboratory Scientists. ISBN 9781422237960.

––––. EMTs & Paramedics. ISBN 9781 422237991.

––––. Nurses. ISBN 9781422238004.

––––. Orthotists & Prosthetists. ISBN 9781422238028.

––––. Physician Assistants. ISBN 9781 422238042.

––––. Speech Pathologists & Audiologists. ISBN 9781422238066.

ea vol: 64p. (Careers in Healthcare). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Mason Crest. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $23.95.

Gr 7 Up –Comprehension and vocabulary tools stand out in this series to help readers navigate the text. Key icons and “Words to Understand” for each chapter are offered up front and reappear in the text in red font. Vocabulary reinforcement is welcome, as a litany of medical terms can hinder even fluent readers. The wealth of titles offered also allows an in-depth look at specific jobs as well as extra details, such as an explanation of the pathology of asthma, with graphics of restricted airways, in Respiratory Therapists. Anecdotes might describe a patient or experience during a day on the job, and QR codes send readers to Internet videos to elaborate on a topic. Questions at the end of each chapter are thought-provoking, such as what a professional trainer should do if an injured athlete wants to continue a game. Clear language, bullet lists, and captioned photos are close-up and relevant to the tools, environment, and tasks. ­VERDICT Comprehension boosters, QR codes, and depth of coverage make this a top choice for high school collections.

Russo, Kristin J. Surprising Facts About Being a Marine. ISBN 9781515774273.

––––. Surprising Facts About Being a Navy Sailor. ISBN 9781515774303.

––––. Surprising Facts About Being an Air Force Airman. ISBN 9781515774280.

––––. Surprising Facts About Being an Army Soldier. ISBN 9781515774297.

ea vol: 32p. (What You Didn’t Know About the U.S. Military Life). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $27.99.

Gr 4-8 –Interest-piquing trivia weaves history and fun facts with career information on the four branches of military service. Readers will learn why marines are called “leathernecks,” how Navy ships have their own zip codes, and that the army has entomologists who study ways to keep insects away from soldiers. Lesser-known aspects include the huge amount of humanitarian relief that the military provides and the number of specialty jobs available, such as mechanics, musicians, and cyber warriors (to prevent security breaches). Text boxes tie closely to captioned photos, and other sidebars explain terms like mayday and “gaining your sea legs.” Readers may be surprised to learn about the “no tattoo on face or hands” rule, or that cellphones are not allowed during basic training, and that up to five friends can enlist and be stationed together. ­VERDICT The balance of humdrum with behind-the-scenes information makes this a high-interest winner.

Wood, Alix. The Body in the Woods: Be a Crime Scene Investigator. ISBN 9781538206294; ISBN 9781538206355.

––––. Chasing a Serial Killer: Be a Criminal Profiler. ISBN 9781538206300; ISBN 9781538206362.

––––. Hunting the Cyber Trail: Be a Computer Forensic Scientist. ISBN 9781538206317; ISBN 9781538206379.

––––. Killer Evidence: Be a Police Detective. ISBN 9781538206324; ISBN 9781538206386.

––––. Mystery in the Morgue: Be a Pathologist. ISBN 9781538206331; ISBN 9781538206393.

––––. The Unmarked Grave: Be a Forensic Anthropologist. ISBN 9781538206348; ISBN 9781538206409.

ea vol: 48p. (Crime Solvers). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $31.95. pap. $14.05.

Gr 6-8 –So interactive is this series, readers are prompted to participate in solving the crime as it unfolds from the point of discovery to closure. The featured crime solver may be the professional called in after the dispatcher, patrol officers, detectives, coroner, or others, do their job. Evidence is collected and “Solve It!” questions challenge reader comprehension or math skills about the information, such as guessing a motive or working out the victim’s time of death. A one-page profile of each professional reveals the best and worst part of their job, the education and skills required, and a description of their most interesting case. Each title offers six mini-activities to do at home called “Evidence Bag Challenges,” such as making fake blood to spatter on paper from different angles to re-create a crime scene, or asking friends to test their observational recall to a staged event, as a witness would. Graphics show how to organize a search by various grid methods or how angles can determine the shape and origin of blood spatter. Related jobs include forensic botanist, ballistic expert, forensic archaeologist, and facial reconstruction artists. Enlarged photos of ballistics and skulls are intriguing to see up close. ­VERDICT Critical thinking and math activities make this a fabulous purchase for careers or independent reading.

Career information often has a short shelf life as it loses relevancy, so selecting titles that have their pulse on the future, as well as rapidly changing curriculum demands in science and math, is key. Rosen YA’s “Tech Track: Building Your Career in IT” and Gareth Stevens’s “Crime Solvers” are top picks for older students, and Amicus’s “Who Made My Lunch?” is great for the younger set. Teachers and librarians who recall dry and formulaic vocational offerings of the past will note that these series boast livelier language, visual enhancements, and an abundance of interactive activities to get even the youngest students thinking about future endeavors.

Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland

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