A valuable primer for helping teens cope with adolescence.




A pediatrician offers advice on raising teens in the 21st century.

In this debut parenting book, Abraham focuses on the experiences of children with varied cultural experiences. She addresses the particular needs of expatriates, immigrants, and those with blended cultural backgrounds while also covering the fundamentals of stress, puberty, brain development, and education that apply to all teens. The author—an American born to South Asian parents, married to a German, and based in the Netherlands—draws on a combination of personal experiences, stories of her patients, the results of a survey she conducted, and existing research on child development. The manual is organized thematically, and each chapter opens with representative questions from parents and teens that are answered at the end. Abraham’s topics include devising communication strategies, establishing self-esteem and resilience, dealing with substance abuse and risky behavior, and managing learning disabilities and other neurological conditions. The author is a strong and fluent writer and does an excellent job of using anecdotes to personalize the big-picture subjects explored in the text. The chapter on brain development is particularly well done, combining scientific information about the physiological factors that often lead teens to make poor decisions with strategies for mitigating the effects of impulsiveness and immaturity in real-world situations (“Provide information on issues before they occur. Consider role play to help young people address peer pressure and make smart choices”). An appendix contains the results of Abraham’s survey of parents and teens, and resources for additional reading are provided in each chapter and in the book’s endnotes. Although the work’s title spotlights teens in cross-cultural contexts, much of the volume is more generally applicable to the age group as a whole. The author occasionally mentions issues that are more particular to children who cross between cultures (different definitions of adulthood in home and local cultures; how to maintain strong connections when moving internationally). Readers who are already well versed in the literature of parenting teens will find little new information here, but those looking for an introduction to the genre will find the book a solid guide.

A valuable primer for helping teens cope with adolescence.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9998808-4-2

Page Count: 424

Publisher: Summertime Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.


A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020


Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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Fans of Seinfeld will eat this up, and aspiring comics will want to study how he shapes his seemingly effortless humor.


“All comedians are slightly amazed when anything works.” So writes Seinfeld in this pleasing collection of sketches from across his four-decade career.

Known for his wry, observational humor, Seinfeld has largely avoided profanity and dirty jokes and has kept politics out of the equation. Like other schooled jokesters, perhaps most famously Bob Hope, he keeps a huge library of gags stockpiled, ever fearful of that day when the jokes will run out or the emcee will call you back for another set. “For the most part, it was the people who killed themselves to keep coming up with great new material who were able to keep rising through the many levels,” he recounts of his initiation into the New York stand-up scene. Not all his early material played well. The first piece in this collection, laid out sentence by sentence as if for a teleprompter, is a bit about being left-handed, which comes with negative baggage: “Two left feet. / Left-handed compliment. / Bad ideas are always ‘out of left field.’ / What are we having for dinner? / Leftovers.” He gets better, and quickly, as when he muses on the tininess of airplane bathrooms: “And a little slot for used razor blades. Who is shaving on the plane? And shaving so much, they’re using up razor blades. Is the Wolfman flying in there?” For the most part, the author’s style is built on absurdities: “Why does water ruin leather? / Aren’t cows outside a lot of the time?” It’s also affable, with rare exceptions, as when, taking on a mob boss persona, he threatens a child with breaking the youngster’s Play-Doh creations: “Nothing wrong with sending your child a little Sicilian message once in a while.” One wishes there were more craft notes among the gags, but the ones that are there are both inspiring and gnomic: “Stand-up is about a brief, fleeting moment of human connection.”

Fans of Seinfeld will eat this up, and aspiring comics will want to study how he shapes his seemingly effortless humor.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982112-69-1

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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