Books by JoAnn Bren Guernsey

FICTION
Released: Feb. 2, 1998

This thought-provoking addition to the Pro/Con series discusses affirmative-action policy in the US today. After defining affirmative action—a ``term used to describe techniques to remedy the effects of existing and past discrimination and to end such discrimination''—the author aptly explores not only the goals and rationale behind the concept, but also the controversies and problems resulting from its implementation. Readers will struggle with the complexities of the policy and especially the paradox of affirmative action in practice—how ``preferential treatment has often led to resentment and condescension,'' as well as instances of ``misplacement,'' e.g., when those given preferential treatment to attend top academic schools experience ``academic struggle, battered self-esteem, and ultimately a high dropout rate.'' This is a balanced view of competing worthwhile values: the redressing of historical wrongs, while attempting to treat everyone the same. (b&w photos, charts, graphs, notes, glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15) Read full book review >
SCRUFFY by Jim Brandenburg
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

Scruffy is an Arctic wolf who is not fully grown and does not measure up to the other wolves in the pack. Brandenburg (To the Top of the World, 1995, etc.) explains that he met Scruffy while on assignment to Ellesmere Island near the North Pole for National Geographic magazine. Fascinated by the messiest, goofiest wolf in the pack, Brandenburg begins to observe and photograph Scruffy. The technically adept, full-color photographs are engagingly expressive of the ``adolescent'' wolf's efforts to grow up. Scruffy is not coddled and is frequently beaten up by the more dominant wolves when he gets out of line. The climax comes when Scruffy finds his niche: caretaker and teacher to generations of new pups. Young readers will come away from this beautiful book with lessons about their own journeys. Scruffy's perseverance, combined with the text's conversational tone, makes the story accessible to a wide range of readers. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-9) Read full book review >
SAND AND FOG by Jim Brandenburg
NATURE
Released: April 25, 1994

Once again, a noted photographer (To the Top of the World: Adventures with Arctic Wolves, 1993) visits an apparently desolate region and finds it full of life and beauty. In Namibia (``place of no people''), Brandenburg treks empty dunes to find tracks of the elusive oryx and one perfect picture of a lone animal on a wind-sculpted dune (reproduced in full splendor on the jacket; unfortunately guttered within). Visiting Himba and Herero tribes on the Skeleton Coast, he discovers the many tricks animals use to find and hoard precious water; and he locates flamingoes, jackals, lions, and giraffes where there are no trees. In the south he sorts priceless diamonds and sees seals and penguins; and in the Etosha National Park in north-central Namibia he has just a few seconds at sunrise for ``...only 10 to 15 frames'' of ostriches, their backlit necks dramatically echoing the luminous sky. The subtexts here may be as important as the color photos: the enormous dedication required, hardships endured, and thousands of shots taken for a few matchless photos; and the ability to bring a sense of wonder, joy, and discovery to a place where others might find only discomfort. (Nonfiction. 10+) Read full book review >
TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD by Jim Brandenburg
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

Beautiful, almost unbelievable color photos of an Arctic wolf pack by a man who, like Farley Mowat in Never Cry Wolf (1963), describes the months he spent in the wild with them— fubsy cubs, an angular, unkempt teenager he called Scruffy, no- nonsense leaders (Brandenburg named the alpha male Buster, after his father). Splendid photos depict cubs playing and learning to howl and the best hunter catching a hare; in one exciting sequence, the pack circles musk oxen protecting their calves, finally isolating and killing one. In the end, the photographer became almost an honorary pack member, though far down in the pecking order. Altogether, a fascinating firsthand account, with some interesting observations about not anthropomorphizing wolves; the author also wonders whether the wolves ``attributed wolflike feelings to my odd human behaviors.'' (Nonfiction. 8+) Read full book review >