Overall, a valuable resource on this important topic.

STAND UP TO SEXTING

AN OPEN CONVERSATION FOR PARENTS & TWEENS

A guide to help adults broach the dangers of sexting with preteens.

Recognizing that sexting is a significant parenting concern today, the authors created this book to give parents, teachers, faith leaders, and other adults who live and work with elementary- and middle school–aged young people tools to start a dialogue on the subject. After a brief introduction to some of the emotional, social, and legal consequences of sexting, the guide is then divided into four sections on sexting basics (e.g., what it is and how it affects the brain), sexting participation (both actively and as a bystander), how to avoid becoming a sexting victim, and related topics (e.g., determining readiness for a smartphone). Each chapter opens with a short explanation of the topic in a conversational style and continues with a realistic and accessible anecdote aimed at kids. Examples range from unsolicited locker-room snapshots through solicited nude photos to potential online predators. These are followed by conversation starters that avoid shaming young people or blaming any one gender; journal prompts and goal-setting exercises appear with blank lines for kids’ musings. Kid-friendly graphics featuring a multiracial cast further amplify the book’s approachable tone. The text addresses only heterosexual relationships, however, and one bully-prevention idea excludes some faiths by suggesting only joining a church youth group.

Overall, a valuable resource on this important topic. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73363-357-4

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Bushel & Peck Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

JUST PRETEND

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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It may take readers a few rounds to fully appreciate and understand the loose, unassumingly sophisticated narrative that...

OVERHEARD IN A TOWER BLOCK

POEMS

This slim volume of more than four dozen poems of varying lengths charts the narrator’s course from childhood in low-income urban housing to adolescence to young adulthood and fatherhood.

The unnamed narrator personifies the unforgiving public-housing tower block as a “zombie” hungry for human lives and memories. He dodges a bully in “Smashing Snails in the Rain” and overhears an “Argument”: “The monster / With a roar made up of shouts,” whose “jaws snap / Like slamming doors” and whose “claws clatter / Like kitchen drawers.” His father gives him the perfect pair of red sneakers in “Trainers.” These shoes return many times across the collection, acting as a possible symbol of the boy’s hero worship of his often absent father. As the boy enters his teens, he goes from confident to awkward to embracing the changes his body experiences in “Man…I Had It Made.” In later poems, he has his first kiss, gets exam results, and leaves home for the first time. He becomes a father, “whose heart thumps solely for his / daughter.” Poetic forms vary, with some rhyming and others not. Readers may have difficulty understanding the trilogy of sophisticated poems based on the myth of Prometheus. Race is not mentioned, and the flat, unemotional black-and-white sketches provide few clues.

It may take readers a few rounds to fully appreciate and understand the loose, unassumingly sophisticated narrative that joins the poems. (Poetry. 10-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-91095-958-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Otter-Barry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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