A closer focus on biology than bloodshed makes this a natural companion for Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s more anthropological Seeing...




Newquist expands considerably on the premise that “[t]here is more to blood than that it’s red and kind of gross” without neglecting to keep the “kind of gross” parts in view.

Along with a suitably gore-spattered parade of Aztec and other bloodthirsty gods and blood rituals throughout history, the author takes quick looks at various kinds of blood in the animal kingdom and at vampires in modern pop culture. He also recaps the development of our understanding of blood and the circulatory system from ancient times through the scientific revolution, and thence on to modern uses for blood in medicine and research. In considerably more detail, though, he tallies blood’s individual components and the specific functions of each in keeping our bodies alive and healthy. Aside from a debatable claim that “[e]verything you put in your body ends up in your blood,” this transfusion of information offers a rewarding experience to readers whether they’re after the specific differences between blood types and other biological data or just gore’s icky lore. It's nicely enhanced by a generous array of photographs, microphotographs and artists’ renderings.

A closer focus on biology than bloodshed makes this a natural companion for Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s more anthropological Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood (2012). (bibliography, Web sites) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-31584-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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Tricked out with a ribbon, foil highlights on the jacket and portrait galleries at each chapter’s head by Ireland’s leading illustrator, this handsome package offers British readers an orgy of self-congratulatory historical highlights. These are borne along on a tide of invented epithets (“ ‘Foreigners!’ spat Boudicca”), fictive sound bites (“Down with the Committee of Safety!”) and homiletic observations (“By beating Napoléon the British showed how strong they were when they worked together”). Aside from occasional stumbles like the slave trade or the Irish potato famine, Britain’s history—from the Magna Carta to the dissolution of the biggest empire “there had ever been”—unfolds as a steady trot toward ever-broader religious toleration, voting rights and personal freedom. American audiences will likely be surprised to see Mary Queen of Scots characterized as “one of the most famous of all monarchs,” and the Revolutionary War get scarcely more play than the Charge of the Light Brigade. It makes a grand tale, though, even when strict accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to truthiness. Includes timelines, lists of monarchs and an index but no source lists. (Nonfiction. 11-13)


Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5122-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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A must-have book for libraries, schools, and churches.



A must-read guide for all queer and questioning Christians (and their allies, too)!

Queer youth still face a multitude of challenges while growing up, and these have the potential to be amplified by religious beliefs. Addressing that issue head-on, this guide for Christians seeks to provide counsel, understanding, and gentle guidance across a series of 40-plus chapters that address everything from coming out in a variety of contexts, positive ways to deal with haters, and helping start the conversation about gender-neutral bathrooms at school, to living authentically. The book acknowledges that the advice is sometimes vague, but that’s because the spectrum of queer life is so broad. In this regard, the book excels by speaking to a range of genders and sexual identities; asexuals, nonbinary people, bisexuals, pansexuals, etc., are all addressed with respect and will find useful tips for navigating their early years. The book works better for hunt-and-peck readers as opposed to those reading from cover to cover because some of the information is repetitious, but that repetition may be necessary to counterbalance years of incorrect, inaccurate, or purposely hateful misinformation. The contributors to this fabulous read include mental health experts and religious leaders. Text boxes, pie charts, graphs, and grayscale illustrations support and enhance the main narrative.

A must-have book for libraries, schools, and churches. (note on language, glossary, additional resources, sources) (Self-help. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020


Page Count: 260

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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It’s a topic of major concern, but there’s little here to kindle that concern in young readers or to set the book apart from...



A slim volume combines a background overview with a call to action.

Andregg begins by citing a 2011 figure for human numbers and vaguely noting that “[p]eople are planting crops in areas with poor soil in an effort to feed growing populations.” He goes on to explain the basics of demographics, then presents an eye-glazing continent-by-continent review of trends in birth rates, death rates, growth rates, life expectancies and similar indicators. In equally abstract terms he also covers population-related wildlife and environmental issues, plus international efforts to reduce human birth rates. Aside from intriguing posters and public-service advertisements from various countries promoting said family-planning initiatives, the illustrations are largely just generic crowd shots. The sound-bite quotes at chapter heads and elsewhere are more specifically sourced than the facts and figures in the narrative or the charts with which it is punctuated. Unappealing extracurricular activities proposed at the end include starting a club to discuss population issues and conducting a survey (suggested question: “What kind of population policy do you think the United States should have? Why?”).

It’s a topic of major concern, but there’s little here to kindle that concern in young readers or to set the book apart from the assignment-fodder herd. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6715-4

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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