WATCH THIS SPACE

DESIGNING, DEFENDING AND SHARING PUBLIC SPACES

Dyer believes that kids have an important stake in how public space is used because they do not have their own truly private spaces. She tackles her broad subject by examining various subtopics in a column, page or double-page spread. This allows her to cover a variety of issues including age discrimination, bicycle commuting, sexual harassment and urban design. Examples from different nations are a welcome reminder of the diversity of possible approaches to common human concerns. Some may feel that the author’s efforts to be inclusive combined with the book’s design is a bit scattershot; others will enjoy the magazine-style snippets of information and opinion. The text is direct, conversational and colloquial. Ngui’s illustrations both extend and punctuate the text and range from stylized black-and-white spot art to full-color depictions of specific places and times. While this topic may not be on most tweens’ radar, the kinds of problems addressed, from unfair curfews to unsafe streets, are surely familiar to many, and the book’s straightforward examination may empower them to take positive action. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55453-293-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of.

SCARED STIFF

50 PHOBIAS THAT FREAK US OUT

Part browsing item, part therapy for the afflicted, this catalog of irrational terrors offers a little help along with a lot of pop psychology and culture.

The book opens with a clinical psychologist’s foreword and closes with a chapter of personal and professional coping strategies. In between, Latta’s alphabetically arranged encyclopedia introduces a range of panic-inducers from buttons (“koumpounophobia”) and being out of cellphone contact (“nomophobia”) to more widespread fears of heights (“acrophobia”), clowns (“coulroiphobia”) and various animals. There’s also the generalized “social anxiety disorder”—which has no medical name but is “just its own bad self.” As most phobias have obscure origins (generally in childhood), similar physical symptoms and the same approaches to treatment, the descriptive passages tend toward monotony. To counter that, the author chucks in references aplenty to celebrity sufferers, annotated lists of relevant books and (mostly horror) movies, side notes on “joke phobias” and other topics. At each entry’s end, she contributes a box of “Scare Quotes” such as a passage from Coraline for the aforementioned fear of buttons.

Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of. (end notes, resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936976-49-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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JAM!

THE STORY OF JAZZ MUSIC

A busy page design—artily superimposed text and photos, tinted portraits, and break-out boxes—and occasionally infelicitous writing (“Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie became . . . bandleader of the quintet at the Onyx Club, from which bebop got its name”) give this quick history of jazz a slapdash air, but Lee delves relatively deeply into the music’s direct and indirect African roots, then goes beyond the usual tedious tally of names to present a coherent picture of specific influences and innovations associated with the biggest names in jazz. A highly selective discography will give readers who want to become listeners a jump start; those seeking more background will want to follow this up with James Lincoln Collier’s Jazz (1997). (glossary, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8239-1852-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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