Unfortunately, a great example of a book that adults think young people should read instead of one they want to read.

READ REVIEW

HIGH

EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT DRUGS, ALCOHOL, AND ADDICTION

After various books on addiction for adults and teens, here the Sheffs attempt to cover “everything” an early adolescent wants to know on the topic.

It’s a bold promise that, sadly, is not fulfilled. The book is divided into four main sections. The first summarizes Nic’s addiction and journey to sobriety before delving into a brief, general examination of drug and alcohol abuse. The second section surveys popular drug choices, and the third examines the road from drug use to drug addiction. The last section is a dialogue between the co-authors. Overall, the book does many things right: It never assigns blame to users, and it discusses such topics as marijuana legalization and opioid addiction without bias. Nic also periodically offers personal insights in separate text boxes. These points may not be enough to save the book, however. The overall tone is dry. Examples of adolescent addicts are discussed, but their stories are too brief to allow readers to find emotional touchstones. And though graphs and charts offer visuals, the clip art–like illustrations give the book the off-putting feel of a textbook. An “addictionary” confusingly arranges drugs by type instead of name (do readers know/care that PCP is a “dissociative drug” and GHB is a “club drug”?) and omits some current street names. A list of resources for recovery and further reading is appended.

Unfortunately, a great example of a book that adults think young people should read instead of one they want to read. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-64434-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Bold, honest, informative, and unforgettable.

VOICE OF FREEDOM

FANNIE LOU HAMER: THE SPIRIT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

A welcome addition to civil rights literature for children.

Ask American children to recall a book on Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, and most can. Fannie Lou Hamer? They will likely come up short. This expansive, richly illustrated biography about the “voice of the civil rights movement” recounts Hamer’s humble and poverty-stricken beginnings in 1917 as the 20th child of Mississippi sharecroppers through her struggle to fight for the rights of black people on local, regional, and national levels. Hamer’s quotes appear frequently in Weatherford’s free-verse poetry, giving readers a sense of how and what she spoke: “Black people work so hard, and we ain’t got nothin’ / to show for it.” The author also includes painful truths, describing the “night riders’ ” pursuit of Hamer after she attempted to register to vote and a brutal beating at the hands of police following her arrest, from which she suffered lifetime injuries. Hamer’s determination, perseverance, and unwavering resolve come through on every page. Holmes’ quiltlike collage illustrations emphasize the importance Hamer placed on community among African-Americans. Young readers who open this book with just a vague notion of who Fannie Lou Hamer was will wonder no more after absorbing this striking portrait of the singer and activist.

Bold, honest, informative, and unforgettable. (author’s note, timeline, source notes, bibliography) (Picture book/poetry/biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6531-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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This lighthearted overview may well lead readers to further research.

ALL THE DIRT

A HISTORY OF GETTING CLEAN

Nine illustrated chapters loosely trace the various ways cultures around the world have dealt with keeping their bodies clean—or not.

The introductory chapter, “Eight Myths About ‘Clean,’ ” includes such clever hooks as a warning to the squeamish about references to “poop, bodily fluids...and other shocking subjects.” Indeed, the text abounds with such tidbits as the propensity of rats to nibble on gentlemen’s unwashed wigs. The chapter on “Ancient Grime” briefly summarizes The Odyssey, using it to discuss the importance of washing and bathing in 12th century B.C.E. Sidebars tell of bathing in the Indus Valley in 3,000 B.C.E., as well as washing habits in ancient Egypt and China, while the primary narrative then revisits Greece (including Athens versus Sparta) and introduces Roman baths. (Readers may find Ashenburg’s alternation of dates and centuries confusing as they navigate this nonlinear history.) The text successfully shows the influences of religion, class distinctions, geography, individual thinkers, and advertising on cleanliness behaviors throughout centuries and over most continents, ending with current practices in Canada and the U.S.—including the ongoing debate about antibacterial products. Colorful pages brim with sidebar anecdotes related to bathhouses, soap, toilets, and surprised international travelers. There are some liberties taken to keep the text simple and accessible, but the myth-shattering is well-documented.

This lighthearted overview may well lead readers to further research. (sources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55451-790-9

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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