School Library Journal

Encouraging analysis through engaging, well-researched examinations of hot topics, these books are exceptional in both writing and design. Like many series of this type, the authors introduce the basics of an issue and then offer both sides of the debate. The first page of each chapter, “The Debate at a Glance,” offers bullet points that summarize common arguments pro and con. The design is spare, with understated graphics; bright, compelling photos; and text boxes that pull out interesting quotes. Easy-to-read graphs and charts add another layer of visual information. Powerful anecdotes make the issues more relevant. For example, Gun Control includes a story about a mother who acted in self-defense when an intruder came into her house and discusses the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting with great sensitivity. Stem Cell is particularly notable for its nuanced approach, deeply moving anecdotes, and clear scientific explanations. Through this series, young people can become better informed about these issues in mere hours and learn to synthesize and make sense of disparate information they may have gathered from news sources. Highly recommended.

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