A must-read for the modern, viral-content age.

TRENDING

HOW AND WHY STUFF GETS POPULAR

An overview of trends, how they are born—or made—and their dangers.

After contextualizing trends and fads with an introduction focusing on how a silly 17th-century fashion trend—the beaver-felt hat—had drastic and far-reaching consequences that included genocide, the book’s four chapters focus on what fads are, how fads spread, how they can be manufactured, and how much damage they can cause. Complex material is broken down into accessible language and explained with lively example stories, allowing for a surprisingly sophisticated overview. Each chapter is primarily organized into two-page spreads covering separate ideas: Pokémon Go illustrates the temporally linked rise and fall of a fad; stock market crashes and the rise of popular restaurants are both exemplars of an “information cascade”; Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino allows exploration of systematic strategies in corporate-driven trends; slime-making YouTubers demonstrate the power of the social media influencer; and the anti-vaccine movement exposes the persistence of logical fallacies. The design—punctuated with peppy cartoon drawings and comic-book pages that introduce each chapter—helps the book bounce along. Despite the book’s cautionary elements—how companies secretly use people’s internet browsing histories to manipulate their purchases and the ways that propaganda spreads hate—the text also offers empowerment, showing kids how not to be manipulated, and concludes with a call to action to harness the power of trends for positive ends.

A must-read for the modern, viral-content age. (index, sources) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: March 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77147-325-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A rich and deeply felt slice of life.

JUST PRETEND

Crafting fantasy worlds offers a budding middle school author relief and distraction from the real one in this graphic memoir debut.

Everyone in Tori’s life shows realistic mixes of vulnerability and self-knowledge while, equally realistically, seeming to be making it up as they go. At least, as she shuttles between angrily divorced parents—dad becoming steadily harder to reach, overstressed mom spectacularly incapable of reading her offspring—or drifts through one wearingly dull class after another, she has both vivacious bestie Taylor Lee and, promisingly, new classmate Nick as well as the (all-girl) heroic fantasy, complete with portals, crystal amulets, and evil enchantments, taking shape in her mind and on paper. The flow of school projects, sleepovers, heart-to-heart conversations with Taylor, and like incidents (including a scene involving Tori’s older brother, who is having a rough adolescence, that could be seen as domestic violence) turns to a tide of change as eighth grade winds down and brings unwelcome revelations about friends. At least the story remains as solace and, at the close, a sense that there are still chapters to come in both worlds. Working in a simple, expressive cartoon style reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s, Sharp captures facial and body language with easy naturalism. Most people in the spacious, tidily arranged panels are White; Taylor appears East Asian, and there is diversity in background characters.

A rich and deeply felt slice of life. (afterword, design notes) (Graphic memoir. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53889-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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