Author: Sandra McLeod Humphrey
Author Website: http://www.kidscandoit.com/firstpage.html
Length: 133 pages
Reviewer: Sassy Brit
Giveaway details below! (THREE lucky commenters will receive an autographed copy of this book)
Written for children aged 10 and up, Sandra McLeod Humphrey tackles common problems that some kids may face such as confrontations with bullies, peer pressure, popularity and verbal put downs. Each story covers serious, often painful issues, which read from the child's point of view and they are asking for help. At the end of each vignette, the author poses questions under "More to think about" and "Trading Places" headings. The latter of which asks the reader how they would feel if they were that child and treated in the same manner. Even topics such as substance abuse are covered in a way the young reader can easily relate to as one of the characters and form an opinion and draw their own conclusions of the stressful situations some children face. Not necessarily for themselves, but maybe a friend who is being bullied or is facing another problem and they don't know how to help them.
To me, whether in a class setting or reading the book at home alone, there are ample opportunities to make the reader think, while raising important ethical and moral issues in a way that children of that age will be able to relate to and reflect upon by putting themselves in the shoes of both the bully and the victim. An invaluable achievement, and I'd recommend this book to parents, teachers and anyone who works with children.
Very importantly, Hot Issues Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity and Put-Downs is a cool looking book. It has great cartoons of older kids that are not corny or "babyish", the writing is not condescending, and it does not look like a boring "self-help" book that many kids wouldn't look twice at or be embarrassed about reading.
Another good aspect I like about the book is the authors say these case studies are based on real stories from teachers and pupils who have either seen these events happening or experienced them for themselves. And when you read some of these stories that really makes an impression. Another reason why this works is that there are no "adult" this is what you should've done, this is where you went wrong - type answers. It is written in a way where the reader has to draw their own conclusions based on their own moral and ethical findings.
Sandra McLeod Humphrey ends with a short summary of her own research into bullying statistics, and for further information lists website references. In the afterward she expresses her concerns for both the victim and the abused, suggesting ways to observe, act upon, and prevent bullying. She also explains how to understand the bullies themselves, or how to cope if you are an innocent bystander too scared to step in and stop the bullying in fear of becoming a target. It's not until the very end of the book, tucked right at the back, that the author steps in with her own views and solutions - and I like that. It gives a sense that every reader is given the opportunity to read the stories without adult input and aids its success by improving the overall affect that this is written for children in an influential and understandable manner where other manuals and text book versions fail.
Hot Issues, Cool Choices has received very positive endorsements from nationally recognised educators and is the recipient of a 2008 Mom’s Choice Gold Award and the 2009 Young Voices Foundation Silver Award.
Sandra McLeod Humphrey has very kindly donated THREE autographed copies of her book: Hot Issues Cool Choices: Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity & Put-Downs. Open to UK/International entrants. Closes Monday 11th January 2010.
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