CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 8 . . . . December 9, 2005
Part of the nine-volume “Deal With It” series, designed to help young adolescents cope with conflicts and situations in their daily lives, these titles seek to promote peace and harmony in homes, schools and communities by providing kids both with an understanding of the concepts and the skills to deal with them. The books are identical in format and layout and will appeal to their intended audience. They consist of comic strips, quizzes, letters to a “Conflict Counsellor,” a double-page spread devoted to dispelling myths, do’s and don’ts, and tips on how to deal with the featured concepts. “Did You Know” bands, running across the bottom of several pages, offer trivia and statistics. At the back of each book, lists of helplines, web sites, books and videos for further information are provided. The text is written in the “current” kids’ language, including some slang. Illustrations are basic and cartoonlike, but not very imaginative.
Misconduct explains to readers the need for rules and guidelines in society to keep people safe, to protect property and to respect the rights of others. Sometimes, however, the rules are unclear or unwritten, and this is when kids can often get into trouble. Examples of situations that can be considered “gray areas”- personal choices or guidelines rather than rules- will give readers much food for thought and will help them to examine their own actions or beliefs. The author explains the differences between assertiveness and aggression and between leaders and followers and offers suggestions to adolescents for managing their misconduct by taking responsibility, looking at the rules and consequences, and finding appropriate alternatives. She cautions that bending a rule is really breaking it, and the more it is done, the greater the chances are that this behaviour will become a habit. Throughout the book, there are timely examples of behaviours which could lead to trouble, one being the divulging of personal information on the Internet.
The volume entitled Authority explains that the concept of authority is based on mutual respect and is very different from exercising one’s power over others. People in authoritative positions earn them by virtue of their experience, trustworthiness and high degree of responsibility. Aikins discusses misconceptions about authority, why kids are rebellious, and what to do if one disagrees with the rules or the way in which a person in authority is treating them. She provides scenarios in which readers are asked to select a course of action from a list, and, by their choices, figure out whether they are “pushovers,” “future leaders” or “tyrants-in-training.”
In general, these three titles are an improvement over the previous ones reviewed because they present more complex scenarios, forcing readers to “think outside the box” and do a little more creative problem-solving.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, 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.