Teens of all ages need to know that they can make a difference in this world. Not only will they make the world better, they will make themselves better by helping others. Kallen has presented them with many different options ranging from working in a soup kitchen to helping out neighbors. He even discusses the possibility of setting up on-line donations.
One of the things that I particularly like was the list of web-sites that readers could go to to learn more about volunteering. I have supplied the list from the appendix of the book. Check these out to see what each site offers.
Once in a while I am given a book that demands my full attention. This is such a one. A friend of mine had suggested that I read this and tell him what I thought about it. To be honest, I thought that it would be a bunch of one-sided political ideas. It is that to some extent, but it is much more than that. Horowitz takes the reader on a stroll through history since the French Revolution to the present day. From the day that those revolutionaries changed the name of the Cathedral of Notre Dame to the “Temple of Reason” Christianity began to be under serious attack on the political front.
Horowitz then proceeds to inform the reader of step-by-step very calculated moves to bring the world in line with the position of Karl Marx that religion is “the opiate of the people and “the sigh of the oppressed.” We are very clearly seeing that happening in America. I have recently seen posts online of the “hatred” spewed by “evangelicals” in America. Speaking out against sin itself is now considered “hate speech.” These comments are the outgrowth of the movement to dismantle our religious freedoms and thus to take down our very country.
I celebrate the idea of free will. Horowitz says, “Free will is what makes us equal.” only as truly being individuals and expressing our thoughts, as such, are we really free men. Our society has begun to try to force us to think of ourselves ONLY as a part of a group (black, white, male, female, gay, straight, etc.) “In identity politics only collective rights matter.” This is truly “politics of hate.” He says, “The left has no conscience or restraint when it comes to destroying people that stand in its way.” We have definitely seen this played out in the riots after the election, the attack on the Supreme Court nominee, and now the blatant attacks on churches and evangelicals.
One term which the reader will have to come to grips with is “social justice.” Many churches are using that term to describe their philanthropic efforts. Horowitz says that the use of that term is just a synonym for “communism,” but since its use is more socially acceptable in America the leftists have latched onto it as a useful tool. There are many social issues that Horowitz explores in this book. Each one is carefully documented and fully explained.
One such issue is that of abortion. Horowitz discusses how that issue is playing out in America. He points out that Margaret Sanger was mostly interested in building a master race, and that in order to do that, all substandard people must go. Her movement for contraption and abortion was not to benefit the lives of the poor but to limit the growth of African Americans. Delores Grier, an American black woman pointed this out. She said, “Abortion is racism.” Yet, America has bought into this without even knowing what it was really doing. It is no accident that most abortion clinics are in predominately black neighborhoods. In 2013 more African-American babies (29,002)were aborted in New York City alone than were born there (24,788).
Another social issue is that of LGBTQ rights. Andrew Sullivan, a gay liberal activist, began to realize how the left was beginning to use gay rights as a tool to destroy America, In 2018 he warned “The whole concept of an individual is slipping from the bedrock of American experiment. Free speech, due process, and individual rights are now being understood as masks for “white male power.”…Any differences of opinion are seen as “hate.”” I found it interesting that a gay man would see the problem so clearly and to see it before some so-called “intellectuals” see it.
Horowitz ends with the conundrum of how religious institutions can support such a morally flawed individual as Donald Trump. It is probably best summed up by Tony Perkins. ” My support for Trump has never been based on shared values; it is based on shared concerns.” Trump’s message is clearly that of, “Our country has gone off-course, and we need to bring it back.”
Dark Agenda: Read it if you dare. You may or may not agree with his conclusions, but you will not look at what is happening in America the same way as you once did if you take time to read this book. Unfortunately, many people will blindly continue to ignore his warnings, and discussion of the content may become impossible. Many will see his writings as “hate speech.” The fact that they do see it that way only proves his position, but they will not see it.
This eye-appealing, full color book on a very controversial subject is sure to raise questions and controversies in the libraries that may chose to add it to their collection. The purpose of the book is to provide the reader with the history of abortion and abortion rights. The abortion controversy is not easily resolved, regardless of how simple the author makes it seem. The author presents the anti-abortion issue as one of the oppression of women, trans-gendered men, and non-binary individuals. However, she has chosen to only present one side of the argument. The pro-life stand of religion is passed off as totally one of men trying to control women. The Christian position of when life begins is not discussed anywhere in the book. Many very religious people, both men and women, take the stand that life begins at conception, but this position is not mentioned at all in the book. I would not expect the author to present a positive take on when life begins, but to not mention it at all is to allow the reader to continue to think it as merely a “fetus” or a “collection of cells” – not a baby human.
It never seems to amaze me that our society gets very upset over clubbing baby seals for profit, but refuses to consider it murder to slice up and vacuum out a little human from its first home. I do believe that it may absolutely be necessary at times for a woman to have an abortion, and I fully support using birth control for people who do not choose to get pregnant. I do not and cannot subscribe to the position that women should have unfettered, free access to all forms of abortions. I digress. The purpose here is to explain why I do not think this book is appropriate for teen readers.
Some things are also glossed over, or simply not discussed. The reader is told that one in four women in North America will have an abortion; however, the reader must read the definition of abortion that the author gives on page ten to understand that she is including all terminations of all pregnancy for all reasons – including spontaneous abortions. The fact about one in four pregnancies ends in abortion may very well be true, but the fact is misleading because the reader, especially a young reader, will read that statement as “one in four end in some type of induced abortion.” Not true.
On page 76 the reader is presented with a list of MYTHS and FACTS about abortion. The first myth given is: “Having an abortion is dangerous for your health.” The fact given here is that: “The risks of continuing a pregnancy and delivering a baby are approximately 10 times higher than the risks of an abortion during the first trimester of a pregnancy.” Although the author clearly states that she is speaking only about the first trimester of a pregnancy, a young reader will not pick up on that, and will assume that any abortion, if done by a qualified person, is safe at any time. In that same list the author states a myth that “Having an abortion makes it difficult to get pregnant in the future.” She states the fact that “A safe, legal and uncomplicated first-trimester abortion has no effect on future fertility.” Important words here that are glossed over are “uncomplicated” and “first trimester.” The last myth states: “ Fetuses experience pain during abortions.” The author states: “ Fetuses cannot feel pain until at least the 24th week of pregnancy.” This statement is controversial in itself, but, a glossed fact here is that not only can the fetus feel pain at 24 weeks, but also, most states simply do not allow abortions after that time because the fetus is viable outside of the womb. The author, in several places, decries the “lies” of the pro-life movement, but omission of facts, and miss-statements of other people’s beliefs are also lies. While there is a bibliographical list of all sources used, every single one of them is pro-choice. I cannot conscientiously recommend this book for young readers. I do think that adult pro-life advocates should read it for it is necessary to totally understand the position of the people on the pro-abortion side in order to be able to refute their arguments.
This first book in a new series, Creepy and True, is one of the most fascinating factual books I have ever read. Get ready to have your knowledge about ancient civilizations challenged. The author thoroughly researched each mummy presented in the book, and full color photographs accompany each selection. Some examples of mummies that are very unusual are the mummies of the Tarim Basin, dubbed Witches of Subeshi because they were dressed in outfits which match the description of our Halloween witches down to the tall pointy hats they were wearing, and they are called “myag” which means “magician” or “magi.”. The other one was a man, also discovered in the Tarim Basin. This place is in western China, but he is very European looking, round eyes, long nose, long arms and legs, and he is wearing pants and boots – not at all Chinese. Other mummies from around the world are covered and the history of their lives – down to the last meals they ate – can now be ascertained by scientific methods. The ancients are not to only mummies presented. The soap lady of Philadelphia who was discovered 1874, and the mummies of Lenin and Eva Peron are also discussed. Hollihan also has included delightfully informative “Factlets” in nearly every chapter. These tidbits add to the knowledge of the reader as he/she progresses. The book includes a glossary, chapter notes, a bibliography for each chapter which makes research on an individual mummy much easier. An index will conclude the book. The next two books in the series, Ghosts and Skeletons should prove to be equally thought-provoking. Readers of the supernatural and the macabre will be drawn to the title. They won’t be disappointed. I highly recommend the purchase of this book for middle and high school libraries.
Hollihan, Kerrie Logan. Mummies Exposed. 2019, 208pp, $16.99 hc. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 9781419731679. Grades 6-12
I rarely ever do not recommend a book, but that is exactly what I am doing with this one. While this book is about a highly acclaimed female sports writer (the first one ever inducted into the Football Hall of Fame) it is not a book that young people will pick up and read.
It is a memoir of the life of a woman in her 60’s. There are no chapter titles to help the reader find things. There is no index. There is a chapter of acknowledgements that goes on for 12 pages that are mostly a list of names – page, after page of them.
The writing is rambling and very disjointed. A written organization of some sort, perhaps chronological or a type of sport being covered would perhaps have helped. There are at least seven pictures that are clearly labeled, but the person standing with Lesley in these pictures are NOT mentioned in the text where they are placed. All pictures are grainy, but that might be better in true publication because the copy I read is an advanced publication. I see no possible use for this book in any school library.
The authors have provided the middle school to high school reader with a fascinating book of various experiments in all fields of learning – including Language Arts and Social Studies. Usually, books of experiments are limited to mathematics and/or science.
Each chapter begins with a topic to pique the interest of the reader. The “Content Area” and “Primary Skills’ being taught by the experiment, along with the “Mission Objective” begin each chapter. These sections are followed by “Learning the Lingo” in which the reader learns the terms pertinent to the topic at hand. Next comes the list of materials needed to perform the experiment, followed by the “Plan of Attack,” or the steps in the experiment. Finally each chapter ends with “Take it to the Max,” an attempt to get the reader to go beyond the given experiment and to discover more about the subject on his/her own.
This book is for younger readers, but it may well be used by a teacher or a homeschooling parent for extra activities. I recommend its purchase, but a librarian may have trouble cataloging it because of its broad range of subjects.
This is an interesting book of scientific and philosophic trivia. It poses 84 questions such as: What if we could be young forever? What if nanobots joined in the fight against cancer? What if walls could talk? and What if there were no luck? Each question is followed by a discussion about that question, and an activity related to it. A short biographical sketch about a person who is involved in some way with the topic under discussion is included.
The questions posed also have comments about them from various teenagers. Some questions have a technical corner explaining or introducing something that already exists and is relevant to the question.
The author also included a very detailed end-note section. Many of these references are on line and might lead the reader to do more exploration on their own. They have also included other resources that will help the curious minded to go on further thinking explorations.
I realize the copy I was reading was a reader’s copy for critics, but I would hope that the editors could make the student comments more readable before it hits the market. The typeface I was trying to read was grey-on-grey in that section and I found it very difficult to read those student comments.
I’m trying to pinpoint an audience for the book. Students who love trivia or are just naturally curious about many things will enjoy it; other than that I believe the student audience is limited. I truly liked the book, but its best audience might be for the teacher to use as class discussions or as writing assignments. It is intended for the high school audience, but good readers in elementary school might enjoy it.
I was enjoying the mental gymnastics asked for by the book when I ran across the question: What is awesome didn’t exist? – not an unusual question for that book. What blew my mind was that the example of “awesome” was Harvey Milk, and everything said about him related to the gay community and his actions for that group. This chapter seemed to be out of place because this was about a person – not about an idea, and that really didn’t fit into the concept of the book as a whole. It seemed to me that someone had told the authors they MUST have something in the book about the gay community, so this got stuck in to make some publisher happy. It was totally unnecessary! I do not think it is necessary to stress the sexuality of Milk and to do so in context with the word “awesome.” This inclusion will also make some homeschooling parents and libraries think twice about purchasing it.
When I found this book available for review, I hoped that this might be a book about the flora and fauna of New Zealand, a place that has long fascinated me. I was mistaken. It is about how to make a journal of one’s own environment. The author informs the reader what to look for in his/her own neighborhood, and gives examples of the materials needed. She also give suggestions of how to enter the findings into a nature journal.
The artwork is done by the writer. It is mostly watercolor and pen and ink drawings. It is very pretty and welcomes the eye to explore the pages, even as it encourages the reader to explore the out-of-doors. It does have a glossary and an index to aid in research. I recommend this book for the elementary reader, ages nine through twelve.
This well-researched, excellently written biography of Paul Laurence Dunbar will be one that middle school and high school libraries will definitely want in their collection. Along with Dunbar’s life story, Derby also gives the reader a sampling Dunbar’s poetry. She tells the reader how to read the dialect poems so that the words sound like actual speech.
The facts about Dunbar’s life are delivered in a chatty style that make the reader feel as if Derby were talking directly to him or her. She even uses the first person pronoun, “I” at times to make the reader think that she has first-hand knowledge of what she is telling him about Dunbar. Sean Qaulls completes the book with his pen and ink sketches for the book. I loved the use of pen and ink as the medium for the drawings since the book itself is about a man whose life was using pen and ink. Derby presents us with a chronology of events that affected Dunbar’s life. She includes extra notes and information about each chapter, a bibliography for those who want to know more about him, and an index for the researcher.
I suppose that Derby could not cover everything about Dunbar’s life, and perhaps some of the facts, such as his alcoholism and drug addiction, might be difficult for younger readers to fully understand. However, I think she paints his wife, Alice, as more of a villain than she actually is. Her parents were upwardly-mobile blacks and were very upset that she had married a man with such dark skin. Dunbar’s mother was upset that he had chosen Alice over her and that Alice was very light in color. I believe that both sides had a great deal to do with their separation, and I think it was especially sad that Alice did not receive any communication from his mother when he became very ill. Alice had asked a family friend that she be notified if he got worse because she wasn’t on good terms with his mother; however, that friend suddenly died shortly before Dunbar passed away. None of this changes my opinion about the quality of this book. I still highly recommend it for upper elementary and high school readers.
Finding non-fiction for young readers is sometimes challenging. Finding good biographies about women is also a challenge. This book meets those challenges in an exceptional way. Sojourner Truth’s belief in God shines through clearly without being “preachy.” Her strength of character is obvious, but she is also shown as having fears and sometimes doubts about herself. She is a very real woman.
Ann Turner tells the story of Sojourner Truth to younger readers using Truth’s own words. James Ransome has done a fantastic job with the illustrations. Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree. She was one of at least 10 children born to her parents. Her mother instilled in her a love for God and a good knowledge of right and wrong.
Her last owner was very cruel and worked Isabella like a draft horse because she was tall and strong. New York was set to abolish slavery in 1827 and her owner had told her that she would go free a year before that happened, but she was injured and her owner refused to let her go, so she escaped with her baby Sophia.
She had to leave her three other children with her former owner because she could not take all four of them on her flight to freedom. When she found out that Mr. Dumont, her former owner has sold her son, Peter, she went to court and won his release. (This was the first case of its kind in the U.S.).
She took the name Sojourner Truth many years later and became a strong voice in the abolitionist movement and with William Lloyd Garrison to free all slaves. I think the book will appeal to children of all ages; however, is specifically designed for grades 1-3. I would highly recommend its purchase for any elementary library.