________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 21. . . .January 31, 2014


Anxiety and Phobias. (Understanding Mental Health).

Carrie Iorizzo.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2014.
48 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $11.95 (pbk.) $21.56 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0088-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0082-1 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-9395-7 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-9389-6 (html).

Subject Headings:
Anxiety disorders-Juvenile literature.
Phobias-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13.

Review by Sophia Hunter.

*** /4


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (Understanding Mental Health).

Harry Tournemille.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2014.
48 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $11.95 (pbk.) $21.56 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0086-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0069-2 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-9393-3 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-9387-2 (html).

Subject Heading:
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13.

Review by Sophia Hunter.

*** /4



The truth is, if you have ADHD, you are not alone. Statistics show roughly five to eight percent of children (1 to 20) have some form of ADHD, and this carries into their teens as well. This means in any classroom, at any given time, at least one or two students could be dealing with ADHD. (From Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.)


Young adult mental health is one of those issues that crops up in the media every few months. The preteens that are experiencing these challenges, either themselves or through a family member or classmate, need resources. Crabtree’s series “Understanding Mental Health” aims to fill this need. It does so with mixed success; both books contain useful and age-appropriate information but both also have several shortcomings.

      Anxiety and Phobias and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder try to reach too wide an audience. At times, it is not clear if the books are directed at individuals struggling with a mental illness, individuals with family members that are struggling with mental illness or at a general audience looking for objective information about mental illness. The text jumps between first person, second person and third person, making a disjointed read. Both books would have benefitted from a more focused approach.

      The voices of adolescents are included throughout the books, along with a name and age. These are separated from the main text. Although these help to provide personal connection, they do not always clearly relate to the rest of the content on that page. As the reader has no additional information about these voices, they do not really enhance the books. Curiously, all but one of the voices included in Anxiety and Phobias are female.

      Both books focus on the significance of stigma as a barrier to seeking treatment and finding support. This is one of the stronger elements of the series. The authors make clear the connection between community support and successful treatment of mental illness. They also encourage readers to seek treatment if necessary.

      The books make good use of labels, images, and titles. They include a table of contents and index. Bolding is reserved for words that readers may not understand, whether they are related to mental illness or not. The bold words are then included in the glossary. This is an interesting and perplexing approach as it means that words like ‘income’, ‘preservatives’ and ‘contaminated’ make up the very limited glossary. Bolding words related to mental illness and using captions to define other words would have been a better approach. Additional resources are listed at the back of both books.

      Despite some of the weaknesses in these two books, the overall impression is positive. These titles would be a good addition to school libraries, public libraries and counseling offices.


Sophia Hunter is a teacher-librarian at Crofton House School in Vancouver, BC.

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

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