Helping and Healing: Social Sciences | Series Nonfiction

Understanding and contending with complex social issues are difficult tasks for children and teens. By prioritizing their access to solid, thoughtful resources, we are investing in a better society.

1604SMS-SocialSciBooks are an ideal way for young people to explore and confront complicated social issues. The social sciences, in particular, can help children and teens navigate the world around them with the use of straightforward, reliable information and helpful resources. The series below cover a variety of topics that students will most likely encounter in their daily lives—especially those looking to improve themselves (through physical and mental well-being) and the world around them by understanding how society works and how an individual can have a positive role. In addition, some of the series touch upon current events and topics of high interest for kids and will benefit public or school library collections.


Austen, Mary. We Live in a Small Town. ISBN 9781508141952; ISBN 9781508141938; ISBN 9781508142010.

––––. We Live in the Country. ISBN 9781508142072; ISBN 9781508142058; ISBN 9781508142089.

Beckett, Leslie. We Live in a State Capital. ISBN 9781508141983; ISBN 9781508141969; ISBN 9781508141990.

Keiser, Cody. We Live on a Farm. ISBN 9781508142119; ISBN 9781508142096; ISBN 9781508142126.

Rogers, Amy. We Live in a City. ISBN 9781508141914; ISBN 9781508141891; ISBN 9781508141921.

––––. We Live in a Suburb. ISBN 9781 508142034; ISBN 9781508142003; ISBN 9781508142041.

ea vol: 24p. (American Communities). glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $23.60. pap. $8.25. ebk. $23.60.

K-Gr 2 –Community-based assignments to help students improve and expand their understanding of the world are a staple in elementary schools. This series introduces young readers to different areas, using very simple sentence structure to describe common main features such as transportation methods, local government, and housing. The text lightly touches upon how different communities can interact, and puts larger society into context for children just starting to learn about the world. Full-page color photos on every other page catch the eye and effectively illustrate concepts. A brief index is provided, and although there is no formal glossary, there is a “words to know” component that shows a picture of an important concept along with the word. VERDICT A basic but informative introduction to a study of communities.

Bell, Samantha S. How Can We Reduce Nuclear Pollution? ISBN 9781467795166.

Carmichael, L.E. How Can We Reduce Agricultural Pollution? ISBN 9781467795142.

Hustad, Douglas. How Can We Reduce Manufacturing Pollution? ISBN 9781467795180.

Lamstutz, L.J. How Can We Reduce Transportation Pollution? ISBN 9781467795159.

Pratt, Mary K. How Can We Reduce Household Waste? ISBN 9781467795173.

Wang, Andrea. How Can We Reduce Fossil Fuel Pollution? ISBN 9781467795135.

ea vol: 40p. (What Can We Do About Pollution?). chart. diag. further reading. glossary. index. photos. Lerner. 2016. lib. ed. $29.32.

Gr 4-6 –Climate change is an important current issue, often the focus of school projects and assignments. These volumes present environmental issues from a local and global perspective, framing the discussion around kids’ everyday lives. Topics discussed are timely, including various types of pollution (e-waste), fracking and its effects, the importance of recycling, and more. While the information is at times dire, it is fact-based, not alarmist. “How You Can Help” sections make a connection between personal activities and global effects, motivating kids to get involved with community cleanup and to write to encourage politicians to pass laws to improve the environment. VERDICT This informative series will inspire young readers to join the cause for climate change.

Boothroyd, Jennifer. Caution in the Kitchen!: Germs, Allergies, and Other Health Concerns. ISBN 9781467794732.

––––. Taste Something New!: Giving Different Foods a Try. ISBN 9781467794725.

––––. What’s on My Plate?: Choosing from the Five Food Groups. ISBN 9781467794701.

––––. Why Doesn’t Everyone Eat Meat?: Vegetarianism and Special Diets. ISBN 9781467794718.

ea vol: 32p. (Healthy Eating). further reading. glossary. index. photos. Lerner. 2016. lib. ed. $26.65.

Gr 2-5 –This series aims to inform children about nutritional issues and encourage healthy and diverse food selections. Various topics are covered, including the five food groups, veganism, and food safety. The format is eye-catching, the large, highly readable text complemented by captioned color photographs. A “Try This” section at the end of each book provides different ways students can get invested in their nutritional health by offering tips like checking expiration dates and keeping a food journal, along with mini-recipe ideas. “Fun Facts” provide additional tidbits on vitamins. VERDICT A simple yet engaging look at food and nutrition for elementary-age readers.

Caulkins, Sam. My Uncle Is in the Air Force. ISBN 9781508144564; ISBN 9781508144557; ISBN 9781508144571.

Jones, Keisha. My Brother Is in the Marine Corps. ISBN 9781508144328; ISBN 9781508144304; ISBN 9781508144335.

Kohl, Peter. My Dad Is in the Army. ISBN 9781508144366; ISBN 9781508144342; ISBN 9781508144373.

Lowe, Julian. My Aunt Is in the Army Reserve. ISBN 9781508144281; ISBN 9781508144267; ISBN 9781508144298.

Miller, Nancy. My Mom Is in the Navy. ISBN 9781508144403; ISBN 9781508144380; ISBN 9781508144410.

Thompson, Jim. My Cousin Is in the National Guard. ISBN 9781508144489; ISBN 9781508144588; ISBN 9781508144496.

Toth, Vince. My Sister Is in the Coast Guard. ISBN 9781508144441; ISBN 9781508144427; ISBN 9781508144458.

ea vol: 24p. (Military Families). chart. glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $23.60. pap. $8.25. ebk. $23.60.

Gr 2-5 –Delving deep into the specific situations that military families face, these titles aim to educate young readers about the history of and difference among military branches—useful whether readers have a relative in the military or not. By employing a simple first-person narrative from the perspective of a child, complicated concepts (how people enlist, what training entails, and what life on an army base is like) are broken down into easily understandable terms. The discussion of how life will change when a parent or loved one joins the military, and the difficulties of deployment, is well done and necessary. Captioned color photos help to further illustrate the concepts being discussed in the text. VERDICT This series is useful for military families and general collections as well.

Faust, Daniel. Civilian Drones. ISBN 9781508144885; ISBN 9781508144861; ISBN 9781508144892.

––––. Commercial Drones. ISBN 9781 508144915; ISBN 9781508144908; ISBN 9781508144922.

––––. Entertainment Drones. ISBN 9781 508144953; ISBN 9781508144939; ISBN 9781508145042.

––––. Military Drones. ISBN 9781508144984; ISBN 9781508144960; ISBN 9781508144991.

––––. Police Drones. ISBN 9781508145028; ISBN 9781508145004; ISBN 9781508145035.

ea vol: 32p. (Drones: Eyes in the Skies). diag. glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $26.25. pap. $11.75. ebk. $26.25.

Gr 4-6 –Like a science fiction dream come true, drones are quickly becoming part of our daily lives. This collection helps students familiarize themselves with the ways drones are used, their design, and their different applications in modern life, from filming movies to assisting with search-and-rescue missions. The text highlights the positive uses of drones for commercial and entertainment purposes but also touches upon concerns about privacy and safety (as well as problematic military applications), and discusses how the FAA is developing strategies to regulate their use. While the work is text-heavy and has some mechanical jargon, the clarity of the writing along with the glossary will assist hesitant readers. Color photos and text boxes break up pages and supplement the narrative, keeping the interest level high. VERDICT A good resource for kids curious about technology.

Harris, Patricia. Understanding Coding with Hopscotch. ISBN 9781508144601; ISBN 9781508144595; ISBN 9781508144618.

––––. Understanding Coding with Lego Mindstorms. ISBN 9781508144649; ISBN 9781508144625; ISBN 9781508144656.

––––. Understanding Coding with Lego WeDo. ISBN 9781508144687; ISBN 9781508144663; ISBN 9781508144694.

––––. Understanding Coding with Minecraft. ISBN 9781508144724; ISBN 9781 508144700; ISBN 9781508144731.

––––. Understanding Coding with Python. ISBN 9781508144762; ISBN 9781508144748; ISBN 9781508144779.

––––. Understanding Coding with Raspberry Pi. ISBN 9781508144809; ISBN 9781508144786; ISBN 9781508144816.

––––. Understanding Coding with Ruby. ISBN 9781508144526; ISBN 9781508144502; ISBN 9781508144533.

––––. Understanding Coding with Scratch. ISBN 9781508144847; ISBN 9781508144823; ISBN 9781508144854.

ea vol: 24p. (Kids Can Code). chart. further reading. glossary. index. photos. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $26.25. pap. $11.72. ebk. $26.25.

Gr 3-6 –It is never too early to develop a new skill, and coding is quickly becoming a popular activity for kids and adults alike. This series provides a basic overview of seven popular programs, devices, and coding languages. The goal is to encourage students to experiment in order to increase ability and appreciation. Each title provides details on how to get started with the specific systems, while differentiating among their respective applications, capabilities, and features. Despite its accessibility, some prior technical knowledge might be required before diving into coding as outlined in the books. A glossary does assist with this, as do multiple charts and numbered steps provided for certain processes. VERDICT A comprehensive look at the basics of coding, this series is perfect as an introduction or addition for tech-savvy collections.

Linde, Barbara. Becoming a Supreme Court Justice. ISBN 9781482440539; ISBN 9781482440515; ISBN 9781482440546.

Mahoney, Emily. Becoming a State Governor. ISBN 9781482440492; ISBN 9781482440478; ISBN 9781482440508.

Nelson, Maria. Becoming a House Representative. ISBN 9781482440379; ISBN 9781482440355; ISBN 9781482440386.

––––. Becoming a Senator. ISBN 9781482440454; ISBN 9781482440430; ISBN 9781482440461.

––––. Becoming Vice President. ISBN 9781482440577; ISBN 9781482440553; ISBN 9781482440584.

Rajczak, Michael. Becoming President. ISBN 9781482440416; ISBN 9781482440393; ISBN 9781482440423.

ea vol: 32p. (Who’s Your Candidate? Choosing Government Leaders). further reading. glossary. index. photos. Gareth Stevens. 2016. lib. ed. $26.60. pap. $10.50. ebk. $26.60.

Gr 3-6 –In a clear, appealing, and non-partisan way, these titles explain the responsibilities of the different branches of government, delineate what each political position entails, and give ways in which kids can involve themselves politically in their schools or communities. There is a lot of specific information discussed about topics, such as candidate eligibility, campaigning, and elections, but it’s presented in an easy-to-understand language with the help of text boxes, charts, and captioned color photos. With many political terms being used, the glossary is useful here, and the vocabulary words are bolded throughout for easy lookup. VERDICT An engaging look at government and politics that will help students relate to modern elections and inspire them to get involved.

Lindeen, Mary. Digital Safety Smarts: Preventing Cyberbullying. ISBN 9781467794886.

––––. Smart Internet Surfing: Evaluating Websites and Advertising. ISBN 9781467794923.

––––. Smart Online Communication: Protecting Your Digital Footprint. ISBN 9781 467794879.

––––. Smart Online Searching: Doing Digital Research. ISBN 9781467794916.

ea vol: 40p. (What Is Digital Citizenship?). further reading. glossary. index. photos. Lerner. 2016. lib. ed. $29.32.

Gr 4-6 –As the Internet is increasingly a part of all of our lives, it is important for children to gain awareness of their role in a larger digital society. This series promotes effective and responsible use of technology by discussing topics such as internet safety, smart Internet searches, reliable sources, cyberbullying, and many others. It also stresses the permanent nature of the Internet, and its ability to impact future employment opportunities, an important concept for children to learn early. The information is detailed and organized, with visual aides (photos, diagrams) to accompany the text. VERDICT This series would be a useful addition to any public or school library collection to assist with lessons on technology and how to be a good digital citizen.

Marciniak, Kristin. Social Media: 12 Things You Need To Know. ISBN 9781632352231; ISBN 9781621432746.

Roesler, Jill. Online Gaming: 12 Things You Need To Know. ISBN 9781632352224; ISBN 9781621432739.

––––. Online Identity and Privacy: 12 Things You Need To Know. ISBN 9781632352217; ISBN 9781621432722.

––––. Your Digital Footprint: 12 Things You Need To Know. ISBN 9781632352255; ISBN 9781621432760.

Sepahban, Lois. Cyberbullying: 12 Things You Need To Know. ISBN 9781632352200; ISBN 9781621432715.

Smibert, Angie. The Digital Divide: 12 Things You Need To Know. ISBN 9781632352248; ISBN 9781621432753.

ea vol: 32p. (Tech Smarts). further reading. glossary. photos. Amicus. 2016. lib. ed. $19.95. ebk. $28.5.

Gr 4-6 –The youth of today are surrounded by the Internet. Given the correct resources, young adults can effectively navigate both the good and bad aspects. By covering relevant topics, such as privacy, gaming, and cyberbullying, this series aims to show teens how to positively shape their online world. Each chapter heading is a question, such as “What Shouldn’t I Post on Social Media?” Text boxes with supplemental information and skill-sharpening exercises are found throughout the titles. A “Fact Sheet” section at the end of each volume highlights important concepts in bullet points. VERDICT A useful series to help young people have a positive experience when dealing with online technology.

Mattern, Joanne. I Have Cuts and Scrapes. ISBN 9780531227053; ISBN 9780531225813.

––––. I Have the Hiccups. ISBN 9780531227060; ISBN 9780531225820.

Ribke, Simone T. I Have a Skeleton. ISBN 9780531227039; ISBN 9780531225790.

––––. I Have Allergies. ISBN 9780531227046; ISBN 9780531225806.

ea vol: 32p. (Rookie Read-About: Health). glossary. illus. websites. Children’s Pr. 2016. lib. ed. $23. pap. $5.95.

K-Gr 2 –Though physically small, these titles are packed with useful information for early readers learning about their body systems. The simple presentation of how to identify, confront, and prevent sometimes scary situations (losing a tooth, or dealing with allergies) will do a great deal to help alleviate fears and anxiety. A “Fast Facts” section provides additional information, while color photos and diagrams complement the text. A “Your Turn” section at the end of each book has kids answer true/false questions to see what information they retained, and “Just for Fun” sections end with a lighthearted health-related joke. VERDICT This series is an upbeat introduction to health and body-related issues for young readers.

Sjonger, Rebecca. Hop, Throw, and Play: Build Your Skills Every Day! ISBN 9780778723493; ISBN 9780778723516; ISBN 9781427117540.

––––. How To Choose Foods Your Body Will Use. ISBN 9780778723509; ISBN 9780778723523; ISBN 9781427117557.

ea vol: 24p. (Healthy Habits for a Lifetime). glossary. illus. websites. Crabtree. 2016. lib. ed. $23.6. pap. $7.95. ebk. $35.4.

Gr 2-4 –This series aims to help elementaryage kids become more aware of their physical and emotional health by developing good habits, with an overall sense of well-being. Commonly discussed health-related issues are explored (nutrition and exercise), along with less common, like getting enough sleep and decreasing stress levels. In addition to explaining why certain things are beneficial or not, the text gives helpful tips on incorporating easy ways to get fit and eat better. Kids are encouraged to take agency over their health by doing things like creating sleep journals and talking through issues with a trusted adult. This series has a positive and cheerful tone, with the topics discussed in a relatable way. VERDICT While not groundbreaking, this series is informative and will appeal to young readers.

Middle to High School

Capek, Michael. Religion and Free Speech. ISBN 9781624039027; ISBN 9781 680771138.

––––. US-Cuba Relations. ISBN 9781624039041; ISBN 9781680771152.

Edwards, Sue Bradford & Duchess Harris. Black Lives Matter. ISBN 9781624038983; ISBN 9781680771091.

Higgins, Melissa & Michael Regan. Cybersecurity. ISBN 9781624038990; ISBN 9781680771107.

Laine, Carolee. Ebola Outbreak. ISBN 9781624039003; ISBN 9781680771114.

Marsico, Katie. ISIS. ISBN 9781624039010; ISBN 9781680771121.

Pelleschi, Andrea. Transgender Rights and Issues. ISBN 9781624039034; ISBN 9781680771145.

Rissman, Rebecca. Vaccination Debate. ISBN 9781624039058; ISBN 9781680771169.

ea vol: 112p. (Special Reports). bibliog. chart. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. ABDO. 2016. lib. ed. $24.95. ebk. $37.95.

Gr 10 Up –Using a “From the Headlines” approach, this series explores several current news topics and analyzes them in relation to current, past, and future events. There is a range of topics, some of which are considered contentious or controversial, but the authors approach them from multiple viewpoints with sensitivity, balance, and impartiality. The topics are well-researched and indexed; additional resources, footnotes, and extended source notes are provided. These are relatively dense volumes, but the text is clear and accessible. The use of boxes, charts, and color photos successfully adds information while providing relief from the formal text. VERDICT Beneficial for research projects, but also useful for general interest reading and to encourage critical thinking about complicated issues.

Drew, Ursula & Stephanie Watson. Conquering Bulimia. ISBN 9781499462012; ISBN 9781499462029.

Faulkner, Nicholas & Kara Williams. Conquering Diet Drug Abuse. ISBN 9781499461978; ISBN 9781499461985.

Jones, Viola & Edward Willett. Conquering Negative Body Image. ISBN 9781499462050; ISBN 9781499462067.

Towne, Isobel & Barbara Zahensky. Conquering Fad Diet Fixation. ISBN 9781499462074; ISBN 9781499462081.

Walden, Katherine & Stephanie Watson. Conquering Anorexia. ISBN 9781499462036; ISBN 9781499462043.

Watson, Stephanie. Conquering Binge Eating. ISBN 9781499461992; ISBN 9781499462005.

ea vol: 64p. (Conquering Eating Disorders). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. 2016. lib. ed. $32.95. ebk. $32.95.

Gr 9 Up –With eating disorders an ever-present problem among youth, this series strives to help those directly and indirectly affected by discussing the causes, associated risks, and possible treatments of various conditions. Both the internal and external factors that might cause eating disorders are discussed, along with potential warning signs and how to seek treatment. The text uses straightforward and nonjudgmental language. Tips for creative mental exercises are given with the goal of addressing and changing negative thought patterns to help readers achieve a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. Studies are cited, as well as anecdotes to illustrate realistic examples. Common misconceptions about eating disorders are debunked. This series encourages readers to educate themselves, ask questions of medical professionals, and practice self-acceptance. VERDICT A well-rounded resource for teens either seeking assistance or merely studying the issue.

Furgang, Kathy. Defeating School Violence. ISBN 9781499461497; ISBN 9781499461503.

Henneberg, Susan. Defeating Addiction and Alcoholism. ISBN 9781499461794; ISBN 9781499461817.

Lin, Y.S. Defeating Depression. ISBN 9781499461756; ISBN 9781499461770.

Staley, Erin. Defeating Stress and Anxiety. ISBN 9781499461954; ISBN 9781499461961.

Wolny, Philip. Defeating Gangs in Your Neighborhood and Online. ISBN 9781499461510; ISBN 9781499461732.

ea vol: 64p. (Effective Survival Strategies). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Rosen YA. 2016. lib. ed. $32.95. ebk. $32.95.

Gr 10 Up –Many teens facing difficult issues don’t always have the proper resources to deal with them. This series strives to fill the gap by identifying and addressing potentially life-altering issues (stress, violence, depression, and addiction) in a straightforward, nonjudgmental way. Statistics, anecdotes, and pop culture references are used to discuss the roots of these issues. The text also explores teen-friendly solutions—for example, an app that helps maintain sobriety. Despite containing a lot of text, clearly labeled sections within each chapter make this easy to navigate. These titles would be most appropriate for older readers, with mature themes (drugs, alcohol, and violence), but may also be helpful to younger students dealing with these issues. VERDICT This series successfully encourages teens to think critically about complicated issues, while offering resources for support.


While all of the social science series reviewed above offer tools on individual and community improvement, there are a few standouts. In terms of health-related series, there is something for every age group. Children’s Press’s “Rookie Read-About Health” helps the youngest of readers learn about how their body works. Lerner’s “Healthy Eating” targets school-age kids to help them make smart choices. Rosen YA’s “Conquering Eating Disorders” is beneficial for teens struggling with these issues or for those who might know someone suffering with a disorder. For the politically minded, Gareth Stevens’s “Who’s Your Candidate” offers a complete picture of the political process and helps them understand how government works in simple terms. On the tech side, Powerkids’ “Kids Can Code” provides a comprehensive look at a skill that is fast becoming popular with kids, especially in library programs and maker spaces. Lerner’s “What Is Digital Citizenship?” will help students have a safe, positive online experience.

Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library

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