Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: What's Your Story, Frederick Douglass? by Jody Jensen Shaffer, Cub Reporter Series

What's Your Story, Frederick Douglass?
$26.65 LB

See that^^? I am going to try to include the cover prices (as per either Barnes and Noble or Amazon) in addition to ISBNs from now on. I don't want to add too much data, but I know when I am surfing blogs for book orders, the more information I can put on my order card right off the more likely it is to make it into the next order pile!

Our juvenile biography section has whittled down from an entire wall to about half of one in recent years. It just doesn't seem to be an area kids browse any more, but rather one they go to for school reports. I moved the sports and entertainment biographies to their respective sections in nonfiction, which has helped them circulate, and I am working on updating the "old dead dude" sets I have.

I have also noticed that kids here will not pick up the thicker biographies, regardless of how attractive the covers are. I could debate what they SHOULD be reading or using for research until the cows come home, but the fact is, if they don't check out, it really doesn't matter what I think. I recently looked at two series from Lerner, and while one is very text-heavy with small print, I think this series will be more appealing.

The basic premise is that Cub Reporter (a cartoon bear) is interviewing each person and getting them to answer questions about themselves. The result is a more informal tone that students might find easier to relate to. The obvious issues of slavery are presented sparingly (slave families separated, risk of recapture). The book is written around a 4th grade reading level, and has the appropriate factual information; however, I'm concerned the cartoon bear may put off a child of that age as seeming too babyish. That puts me on the fence about it, but I do plan to order more in the series and see how they do.

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