Caregivers may find this useful as a starting point, but this brand-new title already feels dated.

READ REVIEW

ON THE INTERNET

OUR FIRST TALK ABOUT ONLINE SAFETY

From the World Around Us series

This “First Talk About Online Safety” focuses on interpersonal relationships.

Roberts, a child psychologist, explains social media, personal boundaries, and cyberbullying. Simple, cloying language in the primary narrative contrasts with more sophisticated sidebars, which define terms such as “inappropriate” (inadequately) and “crowdfunding” (well enough). Full-color illustrations and photographs show a multiracial cast of children looking concernedly at smartphones, bathing in the glow of a laptop, or gathering around a tablet. In an apparent attempt to avoid alarming children, the text sacrifices cleareyed communication for vague moralizing. Immediately, readers discover “there are things on the Internet that are not very good,” and while “Most people post things that are interesting or nice to see…sometimes people use the Internet to say unkind things or behave in ways that are inappropriate or mean.” On the subject of boundaries, children learn that “When people on the Internet share too much private information about themselves or someone else, the ones who see it often feel really uncomfortable.” A prescriptive explanation about “Online Friends vs. Real-Life Friends” doesn’t acknowledge differing realities of online friendship and support, and the closing pivots from serious (“Thinking about this stuff makes me kind of uncomfortable and angry”) to optimistic (“How can I use the Internet in a way that will be good for me and others?”) and borders on melodrama.

Caregivers may find this useful as a starting point, but this brand-new title already feels dated. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2094-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier.

FACTS VS. OPINIONS VS. ROBOTS

Charismatic robots populate this primer for kids growing up in an era when facts are considered debatable and opinions are oft expressed loudly and without empathy.

Rex tackles a very serious topic infrequently addressed in kids’ books: how to tell the difference between provable facts and far-less-provable opinions. To do this, Rex employs a handful of colorful and chatty robot pals who run through enough examples to make the distinctions clear. For instance, it’s a fact that the blue robot has two arms while the gold robot has four. However, while they both like to dance, it’s less certain there’s a definitive answer to the question: “Which of them has the coolest moves?” When the green and yellow robots share their preferences for ice cream (yes, robots eat ice cream, just add oil or nuts and bolts), it turns into a fight that might have come off a Twitter thread (“We are getting chocolate!” “No way, buckethead!”). Via a series of reboots, the robots learn how to respect opinions and engage in compromise. It’s a welcome use of skill-building to counter an information landscape filled with calls of “Fake news!” and toxic online discourse. Rex never says that these ’bots sometimes act like social media bots when they disagree, but he doesn’t have to. Perhaps most importantly, Rex’s robots demonstrate that in the absence of enough information, it’s perfectly fine to wait before acting.

Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Grit and imagination combine to turn “No” into a definite “Yes.”

A THOUSAND NO'S

Corchin and Doughtery combine talents in this metaphorical tale of creativity, resilience, and growth mindset.

This book’s noseless, bristly-ponytailed protagonist has a great idea (never named but represented visually as a glowing egg), but like many ideas, it runs into hiccups along the way to fruition, including daunting opposition. What seemed like a simple and clever idea at first quickly meets many, many “No”s. The naysayers and critiques are heavy and painful at first and quickly become overwhelming until “No”s in a dizzying variety of typefaces litter the page. But when she decides to solicit feedback, at first reluctantly, she becomes curious about her idea and how the “No”s might help it along, turning 1,000 “No”s into one big, brilliant “Yes.” The message is straightforward without being heavy-handed: Even though feedback can be difficult to hear, it ultimately leads to positive results. The black-and-white line-drawn illustrations have a Tim Burton vibe at the start, but they grow more colorful as the protagonist’s attitude changes and “No”s pour in, expanding the allegory visually. The final, humongous, multicolored “YES” is made up of all the myriad “No”s. Characters are uniformly depicted with paper-white skin, but hairstyle hints at racial diversity, and one character uses a wheelchair. This will surely find a home alongside similar favorites from the likes of Peter H. Reynolds and Kathryn Otoshi. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.3-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

Grit and imagination combine to turn “No” into a definite “Yes.” (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1919-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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