Monday, August 15, 2011

SLJ Nonfiction Round-Up

Because this is a record of everything I read, occasionally I link to reviews I write elsewhere. Here's a list of recent nonfiction reviews I've written for School Library Journal.

The New Cultural Atlas of ChinaThe New Cultural Atlas of China ed. Tom Cooke

From my review:
...tends to treat the more than 2000 years of the history of imperial China as one political, economic, and cultural monolith...The strongest feature of this atlas is the collection of maps... Unfortunately, even these are problematic, as maps of the "modern People's Republic of China" are woefully out of date. Hong Kong and Macau (returned to China in 1997 and 1999, respectively) are shown as European possessions, and Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are labeled as belonging to the USSR

Other notes-- Awesome for the maps, but the text isn't helpful. Only for people who know what bits to ignore.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution (Milestones in Modern World History)The Chinese Cultural Revolution (Milestones in Modern World History) Louise Chipley Slavicek

From my review:
Slavicek clearly explains this complex and confusing time for readers with little to no background in modern Chinese history, covering the social, economic, and political aspects of the era. The book is at its best when explaining Mao's political maneuvering. Numerous pull-out boxes provide context about and excerpts from primary sources.

Other notes-- a really excellent introduction to a very confusing time period. Unlike most introductory books about the Cultural Revolution, it clearly explains everything to a novice without simplifying a very complex time without simplifying it to the point of no longer being entirely accurate.

Multicultural Programs for Tweens and TeensMulticultural Programs for Tweens and Teens ed. Linda B. Alexander and Nahyun Kwon

From my review:
They outline several programs that librarians can use with their patrons to introduce different cultures. Each entry lists objectives, target age ranges, costs, activities, and a reading list. Within these parameters, there is a wide range of programs and quality.

Other notes: This is a collection of student projects. Some work really well in a real library, some are great in theory, some only work for inspiration, and some should just be ignored.

Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire (World History (Lucent))Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire (World History (Lucent)) Don Nardo

From my review:
Using new scholarship, Nardo paints a more nuanced and sophisticated picture of a man who united several nomadic clans and then went on to found history’s largest empire...Several detailed examples are given of Genghis Khan’s bravery, ingenuity, and compassion, drawing readers in and showing more depth to the man than they may be used to.

Other notes: For the type of book this is (series book usually used for reports) it had a surprisingly large amount of browsability and reader appeal.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (Landmarks of the American Mosaic)The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 (Landmarks of the American Mosaic) John Soennichsen

From my review:
Short chapters are clearly organized and well sourced. Nearly half the text is back matter, including biographies of key figures, several primary-source documents, and an annotated bibliography. The methodical analysis of the events leading up to the passage of the Exclusion Act helps students discover how the passage of such a law could happen.

Other notes:
So many primary sources in the back matter, it made my nerdy heart giddy with joy.

Books and ARCs provided by... School Library Journal for review for their publication

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