Children's Literature - Paula McMillenChild victims of neglect and abuse are especially susceptible to confusion and self-blame; this book offers a clear, strong message about where the responsibility rightly resides, and reassures readers that they are not at fault. Useful chapters on "Seeking Help" and "Coping Toolbox" highlight strategies for reporting problems and staying safe. Unfortunately many important terms are not defined in the glossary including genitals? PTSD, pornography? and penis. This volume is part of the "Straight Talk About..." series, which includes the titles Cutting and Self-Injury, Child Abuse, Date Rape, Racism and Prejudice, Suicide, and Teen Pregnancy. All the titles in this series share high quality production (e.g., photographs, reasonable chunks of informational text, interspersed quotes, colored blocks on focused topics, glossary terms in bold) and a common format (i.e., personal vignette followed by an introduction to the topic, content chapters which include coping and help seeking advice, Web-based and hotline resources, a glossary, and an index). The writing level is consistently targeted to the tween and early teen audience, although the topics seem more appropriate to older teens in some cases. The tone of the writing is uniformly non-judgmental, encourages appropriate help-seeking, and affirms individual worth and choice-making. Credibility of the books would have been enhanced by providing a note about the author qualifications (only the name of a consulting psychologist is noted in the title page verso); sources or references for data, statistics and other factual information; and more coherent choices for vocabulary definitions. Occasional typographical/editing errors are distracting. Overall, the accuracy of information and positive approach to dealing with these difficult issues outweigh these concerns, so that school counselors and librarians may want to add these to their collections. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
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