A guide on how to take on the role of an “Upstander,” someone who “supports fairness and respect while also trying to decrease bullying and injustice.”
Young people today live in a world where almost daily they have to navigate injustice, whether personally or as a witness to the suffering of their peers, and this book aims to give them help with that. Short quizzes opening each thematic chapter help readers understand where they may stand when confronted with challenging situations; these are followed by illustrative scenarios. In the chapter “Kindness and Anger Can Be Contagious,” a student learns that he wasn’t invited to a friend’s birthday gathering, then takes out his anger on his sibling. Following the story, the author provides bullet points of advice, suggesting how a young person can regulate negative emotions. This example is one of many where, in seeking accessible universality, the book unfortunately falls short as a 21st-century motivation guide. Moss fails to specifically address current issues that young people face daily. She briefly name-checks Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. but doesn’t address everyday racism. There is no mention of LGBTQ issues nor the intolerance that many immigrant students must confront daily. A two-and-a-half page section on stereotypes wanly makes an attempt but falls far short.
Lacking tough, real-world examples, this sanitized guide fails in its mission. (Nonfiction. 8-12)