Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SIMPLE ACTS by Natalie Silverstein


The Busy Teen’s Guide to Making a Difference

by Natalie Silverstein ; illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Pub Date: July 12th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-63198-626-0
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

General advice for doing good on personal and local levels.

Following on her Simple Acts: The Busy Family’s Guide to Giving Back (2019), Silverstein proposes a limited program of “intentional acts of kindness and service, sprinkled throughout your busy everyday life,” geared to privileged teens. Along with an emphasis on collection drives to address a broad range of social needs, the author tallies fundraising ideas from bake sales to dance marathons without substantive practical tips on setting them up and perfunctorily recognizes that, yes, some young people don’t have much free time because financial necessity means they actually have to work, while promoting the value of community service as a way of raising social consciousness and doing good. She suggests turning birthdays and other celebrations into fundraisers (or…collection drives), argues that readers can “blast positive messages that can silence the perpetrator” of cyberbullying and online hate, and promotes head-shaving in support of children in chemo as a “Stretch Idea.” The text largely assumes that readers will benevolently give to others (advising that readers can establish a school diversity and inclusion board and “use this platform to give any marginalized individuals or groups a safe place to share experiences”), setting up an us-vs.-them framework (“We need to remember that we will all be in need of help one day”). Black-and-white spot art shows racially diverse human figures.

A bland offering next to the many more compelling guides available.

(resources, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15)