Families, friends, communities, social groups, international organizations: these are the social structures that can enable people to lead full, rich lives.
Canadian author Tate contends that “people working together are a powerful force for change.” Few would argue with that statement, and she includes many examples from different countries to bolster her thesis, but the book’s purported middle-grade audience may have difficulty following her argument. Sophisticated readers may be able to negotiate the many important topics covered, but personal references and odd facts detract from the narrative thrust. In speaking about friendship, the author writes about her daughter’s childhood friend’s becoming her maid of honor (illustrated with a picture of the two smiling white women at said wedding). This seems appropriate for informal conversation but not this text. On the next page, an engaging picture of brown-skinned twins is captioned with information about “cryptophasia,” the special language developed by some twins—interesting information, but it feels somehow out of left field. Sidebars entitled “I Believe in Love” throughout the book focus on Tate’s life and thoughts about creating a better world through cooperation, openness to new experiences, volunteering, and supporting local and global collaborative efforts. The attractive stock photos celebrating diversity of all kinds invite browsing, but it’s difficult to imagine children reading through the text.
Most useful for adults who want to encourage youth groups to engage in social action. (resources, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)