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. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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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 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Copious kid-friendly information on a vitally important topic, stylishly presented, makes this book essential. Knowledge is...



A comprehensive compilation of fast-food marketing practices aimed at youth and ways kids can recognize and combat them.

In this slim, 15-chapter book, Curtis begins with the basics, clearly explaining what marketing is: “the art and science of persuasion.” The author’s upbeat, nonpatronizing tone is a selling point in itself as she explains how fast-food marketers place product brands in entertainment culture—movies, TV shows, and video games—to persuade kids to identify with or become loyal to a type of junk food; how they infiltrate schools by creating fundraisers and teaching resources that feature their product; and how they create kid-friendly spokescharacters such as Ronald McDonald, among many other manipulative practices. The good news is that the book’s target audience—kids—will feel empowered as they learn how they are being influenced and are educated in ways to fight back. Segments labeled “Do This!” suggest ways readers can participate in anti–fast-food advocacy and tell stories of real-life kids and parents who exposed junk-food marketing practices. Facts about the unhealthy results of eating fast food based on statistics from countries around the world are included as well as information on what real food is. Collins’ snappy designs depict youth of many ethnicities and share space with clear, well-chosen stock photographs.

Copious kid-friendly information on a vitally important topic, stylishly presented, makes this book essential. Knowledge is power. (sources, glossary, author interview) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88995-532-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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