An engaging, much-needed new approach to teaching children about the human sexual experience.

FOR GOODNESS SEX

CHANGING THE WAY WE TALK TO TEENS ABOUT SEXUALITY, VALUES, AND HEALTH

Straightforward advice on how to talk to teens about sex.

High school sexuality educator Vernacchio opens the door to his classroom and invites readers in for a closer look at the often awkward subject of teaching sex education to teens. Teens today receive many levels of information on the complex world of love, relationships and physical closeness via the Internet, all forms of media and their peers. However, that information is often incomplete or stresses abstinence only and doesn't help foster a well-rounded, healthy approach to sexuality. With frankness and earnestness, Vernacchio breaks down barriers and gives parents, educators and teens comprehensive, practical advice on all aspects of sex. He discusses the concept of using baseball as a metaphor for sexual activity, noting how this creates a skewed image—in part due to the gender assumptions it makes: "It sets up the idea that sex is a game and that there are opposing teams…it's competitive. We’re not playing on the same team; we’re playing against each other—so someone wins, and someone loses." Instead, he tells his students to envision a new model for sexual activity based on the act of sharing a pizza, which encourages discussion, negotiation and is mutually satisfying to both parties involved. Vernacchio includes thorough analysis of gender identity, sexual orientation, body images, and the use of technology to communicate sexual ideas and desires. Included in each chapter are real questions posed by real students, with Vernacchio's direct and honest responses, which offer more advice and encourage further discussion on the topic. By the time Vernacchio's students finish his sexuality and society class, they are "confident, open, and more secure in themselves, and they know their values." Readers will feel the same way after finishing this book.

An engaging, much-needed new approach to teaching children about the human sexual experience.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-226951-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper Wave

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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