A positive attempt at a difficult subject, this book will probably be most useful in situations where caring adults can help...

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ON OUR STREET

OUR FIRST TALK ABOUT POVERTY

In many communities, children will notice people living on the street and start to ask questions.

Carefully written for both U.S. and Canadian audiences, with references to organizations operating in both countries, this slim book combines photos with realistic watercolor illustrations of diverse children asking questions about adult and child homelessness, mental health, poverty, child abuse and neglect, access to education and health care, and refugees. In introducing poverty in both countries (with a focus on urban situations) and then expanding the focus to include international poverty, today’s refugee situation, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the authors (a Canadian child psychologist and Google’s “Chief Education Evangelist,” who himself grew up in urban poverty in New York City) may have created a book that is too broad in its reach, but astute adults can help navigate the information. The emphasis here is to help children of some privilege gain empathy and understanding about children and adults who lack these services. This is not a book for children who are living in conditions of poverty themselves. Suggestions about helping people through local, national, and international organizations are provided. The information provided about each topic is limited in scope due to the age range, but the writing is clear and accurate.

A positive attempt at a difficult subject, this book will probably be most useful in situations where caring adults can help children understand and work through their feelings about the topic. (authors’ notes, resources) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1617-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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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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This carefully thought-out explanation may surprise but should be widely appreciated.

SEX IS A FUNNY WORD

A BOOK ABOUT BODIES, FEELINGS, AND YOU

Moving up in target audience from their explanation of reproduction, What Makes a Baby (2013), Silverberg and Smyth explore various meanings for the word “sex.”

In their own ways, Zai, Cooper, Mimi, and Omar respond to information in chapters about bodies, “Boys, Girls, All of Us,” touch,  language, and “Crushes, Love, and Relationships.” With skin tones in unlikely shades (blue! purple! green!) and wildly diverse crowd scenes, chances are good that any reader can identify with someone in these pages. Refreshingly, these crowds are diverse in a way that does not appear assembled by checklist. Lively design, bright, clashing colors, cartoon-style illustrations, comic strips, and plenty of humor support the informal, inclusive approach. Each chapter ends with questions to think and talk about. The author’s respect for different approaches to the subject comes through. No actual sexual activities are described except for masturbation, in the chapter that also deals with “secret touches.” The gender chapter tells how gender is assigned but notes “there are more than two kinds of bodies.” The character Zai doesn’t identify as either boy or girl. Illustrations show body parts of kids and grown-ups (nipples, breasts, bottoms, and parts biologically specific to boys or girls) demonstrating wide variety. Puberty will be addressed in a third title.

This carefully thought-out explanation may surprise but should be widely appreciated. (glossary) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60980-606-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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