From knowledge comes power over emotions.

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE NEWS SCARES YOU

A KID'S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING CURRENT EVENTS

Short, interactive lessons about media tactics and source reliability are interspersed with exercises to help kids cope with the strong emotions that can accompany exposure to “scary news.”

Ten short chapters are preceded by a note to caregivers, clarifying that using the book requires adult supervision and that the intended audience does not include children who “have themselves experienced trauma or loss.” That sensible caveat makes more palatable the initial example of a White, middle-class nuclear family in which the children worry as Dad watches news simultaneously on TV and the internet, and Mom calls Grandma. The frequent black-and-white illustrations do offer varied representation in subsequent vignettes. Both the art and the conversational text imply readers under 10. From the start, the text acknowledges that frightening things do happen in the world and that news media use techniques to keep news “interesting”—which can also make things seem scarier. Children are invited to become investigators, with the book providing spaces for them to jot down observations each time they learn a new aspect of reporting, including camera angles, opinions versus facts, and the famous W questions. Climate change anxiety gets its rightful due, as do relaxation techniques. Violent, systemic racism—recently forefronting scary news—is undermined by positive references to police. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

From knowledge comes power over emotions. (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3697-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too...

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

From the Children in Our World series

With this series entry, Roberts attempts to help readers understand that their peers in many parts of the world are suffering and becoming refugees because of “wars, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.”

The book also speaks about migrants as people who “leave for a happier, healthier life, to join family members overseas, or because they don’t have enough money and need a job.” This effort aims to educate child readers, reassuring them that “most people have a safe and comfortable home to live in” and while “it can be upsetting to think about what life is like for refugees and migrants,” kids can do something to help. Some practical suggestions are provided and websites included for several aid organizations. Companion title Poverty and Hunger, by Louise Spilsbury and also illustrated by Kai, follows the same format, presenting a double-page spread with usually one to three short paragraphs on a topic. A yellow catlike animal with a black-and-white striped tail is found in every picture in both books and seems an odd unifying feature. Mixed-media illustrations in muted colors feature stylized children and adults against handsomely textured areas; they exude an empty sense of unreality in spite of racial diversity and varied landscapes. By trying too hard to make comparisons accessible, Roberts ends up trivializing some concepts. Speaking about camping and refugee camps in the same sentence is very misleading.

While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too much adult intervention to be very useful. (bibliography, websites, glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4380-5020-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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