School Library Journal Reviews!

Two, count two, great reviews from School Library Journal:

Gr 8 Up–A well-researched docu-comic. Covering topics such as comics, games, technology, and play, the chapters begin with a historical perspective on each subject. The authors then go on to explain how time after time, as new pastimes develop, they gain in popularity with youth until they enter the public limelight and are deemed potentially harmful to children. For example, the section on games begins with a description of the earliest archaeological discovery of dice and includes a reference to the poet Horace, who warned of the negative impact on youth who gamble with dice. The chapter explores the evolution of games and describes instances of adults trying to protect children from their negative impact, including Scientific American cautioning parents about chess in the mid-19th century and the attempts to legislate against Dungeons and Dragons and video-arcade games in the 1980s. In an examination of the current controversy about video games being responsible for violent behavior, the authors use countless scientific studies and other research as well as court cases to expose the fallacy behind the fear. Black-and-white graphic panels illustrate the text succinctly and add humor. Resources and references are included, with a more extensive list of references supplied on the book’s website. Pyle and Cunningham argue that under the guise of protecting children, adults have created a youth-phobic society, in which “fear of the new” is the overriding impulse. They attempt to expose this mind-set and encourage readers to think critically about what is supposedly bad for them. This book is funny, mind-boggling, entertaining, and completely educational. Make sure every teen gets a copy.


Who knew to what extent that some adults and the U.S. Government went to correlate comic books to crime and tried to regulate (and ban) them during the years 1948 to 1955? During this period, comic-book burning occurred across the nation. One person behind it was Dr. Frederic Wertham, a psychiatrist who claimed that “…as long as the crime comic books industry exists in its present form there are no secure homes.” Pyle and Cunningham discuss the scientific method (which Wertham never used) and cite other, tangential studies on comic books that turn Wertham’s theories upside down. Societal fears about the effects of Harry Potter, games, technology, and play are considered in the same manner. A variety of black-and-white illustrations, including graphic panels, maps, and charts are utilized. Classroom uses for this title abound. Teens, particularly fans of the graphic format, will glom onto this fascinating book, which will give them one more reason not to trust the “establishment.”

The second is part of a great roundup by Daryl Grabarek of books that connect well to classroom curricula.

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