Connecting with One Another: Social Science | Series Nonfiction

Are you students in need of a little global goodwill? Check out these latest series that promote social awareness and responsibility.

1704SMS-SocialSci-CVsA sense of well-being is often achieved through healthy living. And since our interactions with one another determine and shape communities, it is vital that kids and teens learn beneficial practices for their health and others’. Many young people might be wondering what the future holds: Can the United States be a place that is socially accepting, recognizing that all people have the same essential rights? Will we lend support to one another in the achievement of basic needs and goals? Will the world be a place in which taking care of ourselves and others leads to a more joyful outlook with more productive outcomes? Each of this season’s offerings propagates global goodwill in some way. Take a look.


Collins, Savina. Angry. ISBN 9781683421412; ISBN 9781683421832.

––––. Happy. ISBN 9781683421436; ISBN 9781683421856.

––––. Sad. ISBN 9781683421429; ISBN 9781683421849.

––––. Scared. ISBN 9781683421405; ISBN 9781683421825.

ea vol: illus. by Anita DuFalla. 24p. (I Have Feelings). ebook available. glossary. Rourke. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $29.93. pap. $8.95.

PreS-Gr 1 –Learning to cope with changing emotions can be difficult for children. Through quirky, colorful drawings; simple writing; and familiar situations, these titles illustrate four basic feelings youngsters are sure to be well acquainted with (anger at not getting one’s way, fear during a frightening thunderstorm, etc.). Each circumstance presents the protagonist reacting in a cartoonish but believable way. While many books on emotions overlook empathy, this series incorporates it into each story by recognizing that other characters are capable of feeling similarly. With each scenario comes resolution and the reinforcement that feelings are fleeting and do not last forever. Pre- and postreading activities are included to strengthen background knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension skills, and provide a natural segue to kick-start discussions. A picture glossary is also included. VERDICT A fine introduction to feelings that will strengthen social emotion learning. Consider for guidance counselor offices, too.

Osburn, Mary Rose. I Know Body Parts. ISBN 9781482454628.

––––. I Know Colors. ISBN 9781482454482.

––––. I Know the Days of the Week. ISBN 9781482454581.

Welzen, Jon. I Know Numbers. ISBN 9781482454673.

––––. I Know Shapes. ISBN 9781482454802.

––––. I Know the Seasons. ISBN 9781482454758.

ea vol: 24p. (What I Know). photos. Gareth Stevens. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $22.60.

PreS-Gr 1 –Emergent readers will gain confidence—not only in their developing independent reading skills but also in their general knowledge—with this board book–like series that supports budding literacy. Straightforward language is accurately supported by clear, bright photographs. Early childhood concepts are reinforced through recognizable settings and situations. Shapes heavily relies upon food items and traffic signs. Colors uses common everyday items. Days of the Week introduces the calendar through daily routine activities, and Seasons uses attractive split visuals to illustrate the differences among different times of the year. Each title concludes with a question directed at kids to engage them in conversation and critical thinking. VERDICT An ideal purchase to reinforce early literacy concepts and encourage reading independence.

Riley, Elliot. Jing’s Family. ISBN 9781 683421450; ISBN 9781683421870.

––––. Miguel’s Family. ISBN 9781683421474; ISBN 9781683421894.

––––. Owen’s Family. ISBN 9781683421481; ISBN 9781683421900.

––––. Sonya’s Family. ISBN 9781683421467; ISBN 9781683421887.

ea vol: illus. by Srimalie Bassani. 24p. (All Kinds of Families). ebook available. glossary. illus. Rourke. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $29.93. pap. $8.95.

PreS-Gr 2 –In this straightforward series, young kids are introduced to four different manifestations of modern families—adoption, divorce, multigenerational, and single parent resulting from a deceased family member. Each title focuses upon the bonding activities that make each family’s dynamic unique. Lively cartoon illustrations that are eye-catching and appealing enhance the stories, which are told from a child’s perspective. Though unapparent from the outset, multiculturalism plays a large role, with each book representing a different ethnicity. Helpful tips for caregivers and educators aiming to strengthen children’s knowledge and vocabulary are provided in the introductory material, as are useful activities to extend learning opportunities. VERDICT An inclusive look at family life for lower elementary collections.

Rober, Harold T. Getting a Pet. ISBN 9781512425536.

––––. Going Camping. ISBN 9781512425505.

––––. Going on an Airplane. ISBN 9781512425543.

––––. Having a Sleepover. ISBN 9781512425550.

––––. Moving Day. ISBN 9781512425512.

––––. Starting a Sport. ISBN 9781512425529.

ea vol: 24p. (Bumba Books: Fun Firsts). charts. diag. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. photos. Lerner. Apr. 2017. lib. ed. $25.32.

PreS-Gr 1 –Moving house, taking an airplane trip, and beginning a new sport can be a potentially stressful experiences for a child. This set, designed to help early readers cope with a variety of “firsts,” features bright and appealing photographs accompanied by very simple text. Each volume contains a chapter introducing the experience, followed by a discussion of the supplies and equipment required. A useful picture glossary is included as well as additional suggested reading. Helpful critical thinking questions are also interspersed throughout the text, serving as a way to involve children in these life-altering changes and as a bibliotherapeutic impetus for conversations between children and adults. VERDICT A useful tool to assist little ones coping with new and unfamiliar life experiences.

Middle to High School

Abramovitz, Melissa. 12 Ways To Prevent Disease. ISBN 9781632353702; ISBN 9781632353887.

Hand, Carol. 12 Healthy Habits for Life. ISBN 9781632353641; ISBN 9781632353825.

Kallio, Jamie. 12 Tips for Staying Safe. ISBN 9781632353672; ISBN 9781632353856.

––––. 12 Ways To Stay Active and Fit. ISBN 9781632353719; ISBN 9781632353894.

Kortemeier, Todd. 12 Ways To Improve Athletic Performance. ISBN 9781632353696; ISBN 9781632353870.

Spalding, Maddie. 12 Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety. ISBN 9781632353665; ISBN 9781632353849.

––––. 12 Tips to Maintain Brain Health. ISBN 9781632353689; ISBN 9781632353863.

Ventura, Marne. 12 Tips for a Healthy Diet. ISBN 9781632353658; ISBN 9781632353832.

ea vol: 32p. (Healthy Living). ebook available. further reading. glossary. photos. Amicus. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $31.35. pap. $9.95.

Gr 5-8 –This attractive series will help tweens make smart, healthy choices and gain confidence. Covering a variety of topics, each volume presents 12 helpful tips aimed at improving one’s overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Bold, clear visuals nicely complement the text, as do inserts containing pertinent statistics and bullet lists summarizing the information. The science behind the importance of sleep, eating, and exercise for bodily functions and optimal health are touched upon in an informative but not overwhelming way. Critical thinking topics are interspersed throughout, while fact sheets that summarize the content and provide new insight can be found in the back matter. VERDICT A visually appealing look at practical lifestyle changes to optimize personal health for middle schoolers.

Amidon Lusted, Marcia. Inside the Cotton Industry. ISBN 9781680783704.

Eboch, M.M. Inside the Gold Industry. ISBN 9781680783711.

––––. Inside the Sugar Industry. ISBN 9781680783742.

Mara, Wil. Inside the Oil Industry. ISBN 9781680783728.

Mooney, Carla. Inside the Steel Industry. ISBN 9781680783735.

Pelleschi, Andrea. Inside the Corn Industry. ISBN 9781680783698.

Streissguth, Tom. Inside the Coal Industry. ISBN 9781680783681.

––––. Inside the Tobacco Industry. ISBN 9781680783759.

ea vol: 112p. (Big Business). bibliog. chron. diag. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. websites. ABDO. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $24.95.

Gr 9 Up –An absorbing, thorough look at the production of commonly used natural resources and their by-products. Economic, legislative, and environmental factors as well as new technologies and the future of each enterprise are also presented. World history plays a large albeit unexpected role, too, as each volume presents an intriguing look at significant historical events that have shaped each product. However, in Cotton, the text suffers from a few hiccups, for instance, conflating the word slave with worker (“bringing over workers from Africa was less expensive”). Visuals are relevant and well placed, consisting mainly of photos or archival drawings. A global production map in the back matter reinforces the international nature of these businesses. An essential facts section, which includes historical impact, statistics, and figures, also furthers the set’s merit. VERDICT Despite flaws, an expansive look at the many aspects and implications of vital world industries; select titles as needed.

Brezina, Corona. Coming Out as Transgender. ISBN 9781508171812.

Klein, Rebecca. Transgender Rights and Protections. ISBN 9781499464603.

Meyer, Susan. Health Issues When You’re Transgender. ISBN 9781499464641.

Penne, Barbra. Transgender Role Models and Pioneers. ISBN 9781508171850.

Woods, Sara. Identifying as Transgender. ISBN 9781508173496.

ea vol: 64p. (Transgender Life). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $34.45.

Gr 9 Up –This top-notch series, which includes meticulously chosen resources and agency contacts, presents a windfall of useful information. The titles address the daily challenges many people face, and provide uplifting motivation, both to transgender individuals and cisgender supporters, in their pursuit of health and happiness. Covering everything from coming out to legal rights and concerns, these comprehensive volumes encourage conversation to promote social tolerance. The many nuances of terminology are thoroughly examined, with authors advocating sensitivity to the dignity of trans folks. Outdated and unaccepted terms are clarified, with special attention given to some that have been embraced with new meaning by the community. Current thoughts on the gender binary versus the gender spectrum and the differences between sexuality and gender identity are also examined. Inspirational stories from renowned and lesser-known individuals and activists in a variety of fields are highlighted, reflecting the evolution of the discourse in the United States. VERDICT An essential series to inform, guide, and support transgender teens.

Brezina, Corona. Helping a Friend Who Is Being Bullied. ISBN 9781499464542.

Gitlin, Martin. Helping a Friend in an Abusive Relationship. ISBN 9781499464382.

Landau, Jennifer. Helping a Friend with an Alcohol Problem. ISBN 9781499464504.

McKenzie, Precious. Helping a Friend with a Drug Problem. ISBN 9781499464467.

Parys, Sabrina. Helping a Friend with an Eating Disorder. ISBN 9781499464351.

Worth, Richard. Helping a Friend Who Is Depressed. ISBN 9781499464429.

ea vol: 64p. (How Can I Help? Friends Helping Friends). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $34.45.

Gr 9 Up –Adolescence, a difficult time for many, can be all the more challenging for friends of individuals struggling with the topics in this series. Each title endeavors not only to educate but also to teach empathy for those coping with these issues. Recognizing warning signs and understanding the consequences, in addition to strategies and resources for seeking professional assistance, are covered. Psychological, physiological, and emotional aspects are explored with an aim at establishing an effective support system. Discussion questions to jump-start conversation with guidance counselors are included, making for a useful tool for youth unsure of where to begin. Special attention is given to peer pressure and the potential impact of social media on teens. Readers will also find examples of how to become involved without alienating friends, such as broaching uncomfortable topics in a nonconfrontational way, with emphasis placed on the importance of self-care for caregivers to more effectively offer support. VERDICT An empowering selection for peers wishing to be informed and to provide help.

Byers, Ann. Uncracked Codes and Ciphers. ISBN 9781508173106.

Freedman, Jeri. Famous Cryptographers. ISBN 9781508173120.

Harmon, Daniel. Cyber Attacks, Counterattacks, and Espionage. ISBN 9781508173168.

La Bella, Laura. Ciphers, Codes, Algorithms, and Keys. ISBN 9781508173069.

Meyer, Susan. The History of Cryptography. ISBN 9781508173045.

Nagelhout, Ryan. Digital Era Encryption and Decryption. ISBN 9781508173083.

Porterfield, Jason. White and Black Hat Hackers. ISBN 9781508173144.

ea vol: 64p. (Cryptography: Code Making and Code Breaking). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $34.45.

Gr 9 Up –In today’s predominantly digital environment, using encryption and decryption to ensure security is imperative, making cryptography a vital industry. The art and science behind code breaking are examined, from ancient history to the present day. The authors introduce types of codes, ciphers, and algorithms, citing famous cases such as the Zodiac killer and the Navajo code talkers. Renowned cryptographers from a variety of historical periods, some more well known than others, are also presented. While some volumes are very technical, going into the mechanics and science behind cryptography, others are more narrative-driven, unraveling the stories behind the toughest cryptograms. The ethical implications associated with modern hacking practices are explored, with references made to relevant cyberattacks and large-scale breaches to illustrate cryptography’s many practical applications for national defense and for corporate and personal safety. An exhaustive list of print and nonprint resources as well as international and governmental agencies is provided. VERDICT Perfect for teen mystery lovers and techies.

Cartlidge, Cherese. Teens and Suicide. ISBN 9781682821312.

Kemper, Bitsy. Teens and Phobias. ISBN 9781682821282.

Mooney, Carla. Teens and ADHD. ISBN 9781682821206.

Nardo, Don. Teens and Eating Disorders. ISBN 9781682821220.

––––. Teens and Gender Dysphoria. ISBN 9781682821244.

Parks, Peggy J. Teens and PTSD. ISBN 9781682821305.

Sheen, Barbara. Teens and OCD. ISBN 9781682821268.

ea vol: 80p. (Teen Mental Health). charts. diag. ebook available. further reading. index. notes. photos. websites. ReferencePoint. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $29.95.

Gr 9 Up –The teenage years can be difficult to navigate, and all the more so for individuals struggling with mental illness. Extremely current in its coverage, this set not only recognizes the importance of such standard topics as eating disorders and suicide but also acknowledges less-covered disorders not often associated with adolescence, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The personal experiences of both average people and celebrities directly and honestly convey each condition in great depth, covering its causes and treatment options. Visuals, which are kept to a minimum, are interspersed throughout and presented primarily as quote boxes and photos, with diagrams, charts, and infographics mixed in as well. Back matter contains two very important resources: a “Recognizing Signs of Trouble” section addressing the common symptoms of each issue and “Organizations To Contact,” to assist individuals in finding help or further information. VERDICT An insightful resource for high schoolers coping with mental illness.

Hayes, Amy. Disability Rights Movement. ISBN 9781499428506.

Honders, Christine. Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. ISBN 9781499428520.

Keppeler, Jill. Women’s Suffrage Movement. ISBN 9781499428452.

Machajewski, Sarah. American Indian Rights Movement. ISBN 9781499428490.

Mahoney, Emily. American Civil Rights Movement. ISBN 9781499428476.

Morlock, Theresa. LGBTQ Human Rights Movement. ISBN 9781499428513.

ea vol: 32p. (Civic Participation: Working for Civil Rights). chron. further reading. glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. PowerKids. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $26.25.

Gr 4-7 –Though the United States is known as the land of the free, this has not been the case for many groups through much of its history. This series offers a wide scope, targeting a number of populations affected by social injustice and less represented in children’s literature, namely Native Americans, Mexican Americans, the disabled, and the LGBTQ community. This introductory set relates their struggles to achieve essential human rights and dignities in language that is accessible and relatable while providing a basic introduction to key historical events, legislations, and personalities in the movements. The outcome and future of each cause are discussed, with an invitation for readers to become engaged by learning tolerance and social acceptance. A good balance of text and visuals, such as archival photographs, paintings, and drawings, results in a clean, orderly appearance that is visually appealing and informative. VERDICT A fine introductory survey of civil rights issues that prompts reader involvement. Consider for report writers.

Hoover, Stephanie. Freedom of Religion. ISBN 9781482461848.

––––. Freedom of the Press. ISBN 9781482461886.

Mason, Jennifer. Freedom of Speech. ISBN 9781482461862.

––––. The Right To Petition. ISBN 9781482461923.

Wittmann, Kelly. Freedom of Assembly. ISBN 9781482461824.

––––. The Right To Bear Arms. ISBN 9781482461909.

ea vol: 48p. (Our Basic Freedoms). Gareth Stevens. further reading. glossary. index. photos. reprods. websites. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $31.95.

Gr 4-7 –The Bill of Rights legally ensures the “natural” rights of U.S. citizens, though many were historically denied them. The philosophies behind this document are examined, as are the roles the Founding Fathers played in its creation. Clear writing delves into the political and historical context of the amendments, clarifying their origins and significance. The inner workings of the U.S. government, especially the judicial system and Supreme Court, are also discussed. Challenges to and limits of those freedoms, where limits exist, are also explored. Notable personalities and court precedence supporting the evolution and interpretations of these rights reflect how historical events and the shift of public opinion have altered American society. In addition, the impact of our increasingly digital world and the controversy surrounding certain rights are looked at critically, representing multiple perspectives. A mixture of photographs and historical reproductions creates a visually appealing volume packed with information. VERDICT An attractive and timely set exploring the formation and evolution of the U.S. government, perfect for sparking classroom discussion.

Ogden, Charlie. Equality and Diversity. ISBN 9780778732655; ISBN 9780778733485.

––––. Government and Democracy. ISBN 9780778732662; ISBN 9780778733492.

––––. Human Rights and Liberty. ISBN 9780778732679; ISBN 9780778733683.

––––. Identity and Gender. ISBN 9780778732686; ISBN 9780778733690.

ea vol: illus. by Charlie Ogden. 32p. (Our Values: Level 3). ebook available. glossary. index. photos. Crabtree. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $27.60. pap. $8.95.

Gr 4-7 –Core social values are earnestly explored with an aim at fostering global citizenship. Candid writing tackles many complicated topics, making them understandable yet engaging for middle schoolers. A visually rich mixture of historical and contemporary photos nicely complement the text while conveying the series’s message of social acceptance and tolerance through its aptly diverse, multicultural images. Broad in scope, these titles adopt a strong worldview, citing significant examples of how these values are perceived at home and worldwide, both historically and currently. In some volumes, case studies are provided to further illuminate these topics. Back matter includes critical thinking questions for discussion and writing prompts. VERDICT A solid tool to encourage diversity and social acceptance.

This season’s social science sampling is a reminder that people of all ages remain interconnected through their daily interactions and experiences. Preschoolers will recognize their emotions and family situations in Rourke’s “I Have Feelings” and “All Kinds of Families” or achieve self-empowerment through new experiences in Lerner’s “Bumba Books: Fun Firsts” and Gareth Stevens’s “What I Know.” Middle schoolers will learn about the fight for basic rights and values in PowerKids’ “Civic Participation: Working for Civil Rights,” Crabtree’s “Our Values: Level 3,” and Gareth Stevens’s “Our Basic Freedoms.” Healthful lifestyles will be made accessible to young adults through ReferencePoint’s “Teen Mental Health” and Rosen YA’s “How Can I Help? Friends Helping Friends.” Certainly all of these series will aid young people to lead a life full of dignity.

Rebecca Gueorguiev, New York Public Library

For the latest nonfiction series reviews, check out the Spring 2017 Series Made Simple

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