CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 14 . . . . March 18, 2005
Identical in format and layout, these three titles, part of the "Deal With It" series, are designed to make young people aware of the reasons for peer pressure, competition and fighting and their own behaviours and to provide some skills to help them cope in real life situations. Information is presented by way of short articles, quizzes, FAQs, cartoon strips and a list of do's and don'ts. Various scenarios related to the book's topic give readers opportunities to problem-solve and to practise what they would say if they were faced with a similar situation. A section of each book explains what the witness of the featured behaviour can do to assist the person(s) with the problem. All of the titles include a mini table of contents (hardly worth providing) as well as a list of helplines and organizations, web sites and books, both fiction and non-fiction, for further information and help.
In Peer Pressure, the author talks about both positive and negative peer pressure and its sources, its consequences and effects on others and how to recognize traits in oneself that might lead to putting pressure on friends. Slavens also offers suggestions for some basic things to do when feeling pressured and different ways of saying "no" to one's peers. Readers will be somewhat surprised to find that adults, too, often succumb to peer pressure from the media, their friends and neighbours.
Very similar to the first title, Competition explains what competition is both in its positive and negative connotations and how to deal with it in a healthy way. The consequences of cheating on tests and in sports are discussed along with the effects of extreme competition on one's physical and mental health.
Physical fighting is the topic of Fighting. The book gives a list of common anger triggers- jealousy, paranoia, rejection, criticism, to name a few -- and ways to deal with fighting. Readers will learn to recognize body cues that indicate an impending loss of control -- increased heart rate, tense muscles, gritting teeth, for instance -- and strategies to calm down. Alternatives to fighting are provided along with suggestions for witnesses of fights so that no one gets hurt.
Text is simple and uses the popular language of tweens and young teens. Short sections and a good variety of presentation formats will keep the reader's attention, while sound advice, sample scenarios and suggestions for altering behaviour, without sounding preachy, will give young people plenty of ideas for gaining control of their own behaviours. The illustrations are fairly basic, neither detracting from nor particularly enhancing the text.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.