A handy guide to the squishy, sometimes sticky stages of puberty.

An inclusive and humorous approach to puberty, plus strategies for coming out of it your best self.

Body changes, body hair, acne, and sweat are just a few things adolescents will experience differently during puberty. Consistently using the terms assigned male and assigned female to describe physical development experienced in puberty determined by assigned birth sex, Loveless makes clear these factors don’t determine gender identity. Combining appropriate, scientific vocabulary and a conversational tone—reproduction is defined as a way to “create more human life through penis in vagina intercourse”—she doesn’t dumb down information. At the same time, she refers to some activities such as intercourse and childbirth as “adult acts” or “adult tasks,” keeping the book a safe space for younger readers. She represents understanding physiology as the foundation to successfully managing this time, but so is understanding the social and emotional factors such as gender expression and the effects of screen use. When discussing mental health, Loveless provides tools and resources in multiple places. With a focus on communication and building trust with caregivers, strategies for both youth and adults are integrated throughout, as are ways for supporting LGBTQ+ youth. There is some racial diversity in the few illustrations in the book. For some aspects of puberty like menstruation, this will serve more as an introduction than a comprehensive resource.

A handy guide to the squishy, sometimes sticky stages of puberty. (resources, source notes) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63565-353-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021


Maybe it’s “awesome” to be average.

Champion table tennis player Syed begins this encouragement book by chronicling his own story of how he grew up believing he was average until he began to master the sport.

The goal of this book is to help kids realize that they needn’t necessarily be born with a certain gift or talent—that maybe success is a combination of hard work, the right mentors, and a strong support system. In the chapter “What’s Holding Me Back?” Syed offers a variety of ways a young person can begin to reflect on who they really are and define what their true passion may be. The following chapters stress the importance of practice, coping with pressure, and honoring mistakes as human rather than failure. Throughout the book, Syed highlights those he terms “Famous Failures,” including Steve Jobs, Jay-Z, and Jennifer Lawrence, while also providing a spotlight for those who mastered their talent by perseverance, such as Serena Williams, the Brontë sisters, and David Beckham. Though this self-help book has good intentions, however, it is a little heavy-handed on the perpetuation of an achievement-oriented life. Perhaps it is also good to acknowledge that not everybody need aspire to someone else’s definition of greatness.

Maybe it’s “awesome” to be average. (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8753-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019



Who knew the biography of a germ could be so fascinating? (acknowledgments, picture credits, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction....

Murphy and Blank chronicle the story of the tuberculosis microorganism, the greatest serial killer of all time.

Tuberculosis has been infecting people for millions of years and has killed over a trillion humans. This fascinating tale unfolds as a biography of a germ, an account of the treatment and search for cures, and a social history of the disease. As Murphy treated yellow fever in An American Plague (2003), this volume offers a lively text complemented by excellent, well-placed reproductions of photographs, drawings, flyers, woodcuts, posters and ads. The images include an Edvard Munch painting depicting the death of his 16-year-old sister of tuberculosis, a flyer for a Paul Laurence Dunbar poetry reading with a discussion of how minorities were denied proper medical care, a drawing showing death coming for Irish-born author Laurence Sterne and a photograph of Anne, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, all of whom died of tuberculosis. The broad focus of the slim volume allows it to be about many things: medical discovery, technology, art and how people from all walks of life have dealt with a deadly disease that pays no attention to social distinctions. The bibliography is thorough, and even the source notes are illuminating.

Who knew the biography of a germ could be so fascinating? (acknowledgments, picture credits, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: July 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-618-53574-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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