________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 25. . . .March 4th, 2011.


Taylor Swift. (Remarkable People).

Anita Yasuda.
New York, NY: Weigl (Distributed in Canada by Saunders Book Company), 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $11.95 (pbk.), $25.70 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-61690-158-5 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-1-61690-157-8 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Swift, Taylor, 1989- -Juvenile literature.
Singers-United States- Biography -Juvenile literature.
Women country musicians-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

***½ /4



Taylor’s parents have had a strong influence on her. From a young age, they recognized Taylor’s talent and supported her dreams. They moved to Hendersonville, a suburb of Nashville, so their daughter could live closer to the center of the country music industry. Since her success, Taylor’s parents have traveled on tours with her. This support has kept Taylor focused.

Taylor Swift is an AV2 media enhanced books published by Weigl. Weigl includes a code on page 2 of each book that links the user to enhanced content including audio, video, web links, quizzes, activities, and a slide show – at no additional cost. Students go to the book first and then are led to further material which adds to and supports the content of the book.

     Click on the audio links, and students will hear portions of the text read to them. This will be useful for students who are learning English or for less fluent readers. The web links lead students to research sites and interactive games. The video icons let them watch information videos on the specific topic of each book. For those students who need an extra challenge, there are opportunities for students to expand each topic as well.

     In addition to the usual biographical details, such as place and date of birth, family, early career milestones, etc., Taylor Swift includes general information about Pennsylvania, Taylor’s home state, and information about what it means to be a musician, and some brief notes on other musicians, including Canadian teen superstar, Justin Beiber. Many full-colour photos show Taylor in many different moments in her career.

     Also included is a “Think about it!” which explains the effort that Taylor put into learning to write songs and play the guitar. Young readers are then asked if they have ever had to learn a new skill in order to accomplish a goal. This is an excellent strategy for both engaging the reader in the content of the book and also building connections between the reader and the content.

     After the biographical information about Taylor, there is a section about how to write a biography, including a concept web. Young students will find this information useful as they learn how to research and write a biography for the first time.

     Taylor Swift includes a contents page, brief glossary and an index. In addition, the back page tells the readers how to log on to www.av2books.com and enter the special code inside the front cover of the book to access video, audio, web links, quizzes, a slide show, and activities that support and enhance the content of the book. When I tested the link, everything worked as it should, but there is a warning at the bottom of the page that the Internet is dynamic and links and content may change. This is another teachable moment if you are using this book and the website with students.

     In this issue of CM, you will also find a review for Taylor Swift (“Superstars!” series). Because Taylor Swift (“Remarkable People” series) has additional information within the content of the book, such as how to write a biography, as well as the enhanced content through the av2books link, (especially the read aloud function), I would recommend Taylor Swift” (“Remarkable People” series) if you want a book about Taylor Swift.

     Usually I would recommend hard cover for the library, but, because the content of this book will become dated very quickly, I recommend that you consider the paperback version.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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