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Hard Drugs
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Gr 6-8-Written with a Harvard Medical School consultant, this series discusses drugs in a tone that is appropriately sober yet not alarmist or condescending. The authors demonstrate empathy toward teens and the pressures they face. Many graphics seem macabre and over-the-top, such as an image of the Grim Reaper in ADHD Medication Abuse, whose unintentional humour belittles the serious message. However, many diagrams convey useful content, including a diagram in Dangerous Depressants and Sedatives that shows parts of the body affected by depressants and another one demonstrating how the chemicals impact the brain. Readers will absorb vast amounts of information through the text and the sidebars, which lend themselves to discussion and further research. Despite some awkward moments, this series is mostly well written and expertly researched.Young readers-indeed, all readers-prefer compelling stories and dynamic design over didactic messages. In Weigl's "Let's Get Active" and Capstone's "Special Diets," colourful photographs of stunning outdoor scenes and fruits and vegetables make active, nutritious diets appealing. Scientific information about exercise's benefit to brain functioning and emotional health provide extra incentive to hit the gym, as we find in Mason Crest's "An Integrated Life of Fitness." Books that include content-packed charts and sidebars, and Common Core-inspired research questions, will provide the richest experience for readers-as we find with Mason Crest's "On My Plate." As the strongest in this collection shows, we are encouraged to take care of ourselves when provided with detailed, well-researched information in a lively manner.α(c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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