Passionate, helpful primer about maintaining children’s dental health from a parent and expert.


More Chocolate, No Cavities


A pediatric dentist outlines his snacking plan to prevent cavities in this debut consumer health guide.

“Carb-rich foods such as crackers plus time on teeth equals cavities. It’s that simple,” says Seattle-based Lucas, who seeks to help parents avoid “surprise cavities,” even achieve “zero cavities,” in children in this diet-focused prevention guide. He details the science behind his assertions, noting that “sticky” carbs are the biggest culprits in leaving behind large quantities of simple carbohydrates on the teeth. Interacting with tooth and mouth bacteria, they can produce lactic acid that can lead to cavities. He advises parents not to allow their children to graze or sip on carbs all day (ditch the pretzels, crackers, even juice-filled sippy cups) but instead encourage them to eat six more contained “minimeals,” with water the only beverage allowed between repasts. Parents should also be involved in the daily brushing of their children’s teeth until age 6 or 7, starting with a 20-second scrub with nonfluoride toothpaste or just water for the under age 2 group. Then parents should progress to fluoride toothpaste, not overdoing the fluoride (grain-sized amount is enough), being sure to floss when a child’s baby teeth start touching. Lucas emphasizes that the health of baby teeth is important, with back molars, for example, often not falling out until age 12. Decay/extraction-causing problems in adult tooth formation can be stressful and costly. He concludes his book with a list of reference sources and points to additional material on his website, Lucas combines being a dentist and parent to compelling effect in this guide. He provides convincing research that “sticky” carbs are the No. 1 cavity problem, with crackers surprisingly worse than caramels, and shares how he realistically enforces this program with his own children. He also includes a handy infographic summarizing his tips. His narrative can be a bit repetitive as well as scientific at times, with molecule sketches, for example, not particularly illuminating to a lay reader. Overall, however, Lucas offers parents a solid plan to get more proactive regarding their children’s teeth.

Passionate, helpful primer about maintaining children’s dental health from a parent and expert.

Pub Date: March 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5177-0549-7

Page Count: 214

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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