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Social Smarts: Manners for Today's Kids

Social Smarts: Manners for Today's Kids

by Elizabeth James, Carol Barkin, Martha Weston (Illustrator)

In a conversational, interspersed with letters from fictional columnist K.T. ("Knows The") Answers, the authors offer advice on subjects of concern to middle graders.


In a conversational, interspersed with letters from fictional columnist K.T. ("Knows The") Answers, the authors offer advice on subjects of concern to middle graders.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This etiquette primer tackles a few issues that are of increasing concern to the target age group. . . . the writing throughout is clear; and it's noteworthy that that the authors do more than simply tell readers how to behave--they usually explain why." Booklist, ALA
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6This guide explores a wide variety of settings in which consideration of others and appropriate etiquette are importantintroducing people, speaking on the telephone, etc. Key chapters explain social conventions and procedures for behaviors at school, at the dinner table, at parties, on vacation, and in the general public (e.g., movie theaters, bus stops, malls). James and Barkin provide not only the "hows" but also the "whys." The explanatory text is neatly spliced with fictionalized question-and-answer advice-column letters to a mythical columnist, "K.T. (Knows The) Answer." The authors are to be commended for giving wise counsel for difficult situations such as supporting a friend who is mourning the loss of a loved one. However, they seem to aim their book chiefly at young women. Yes, boys' names are sprinkled throughout and boys are included in the cartoon-style pen-and-ink illustrations, but the examples in the text more often than not appear to be directed at girls. Shopping behavior, for example, describes the rude behavior of girls trying on clothing in a store with no intention of making a purchase. Clamorous, boisterous boys need good manners, too.Jerry D. Flack, University of Colorado
Kirkus Reviews
A book of advice, subtitled "Manners for Today's Kids," on how to deal with various issues of etiquette, including introductions, school dances, family vacations, meals, parties, hospitalized and bereaved friends, and many others. The chapters include relevant letters to a "mythical" columnist, K.T. Answers, and subsequent advice.

Important and useful information appears in this volume, especially in the chapter on "Difficult Times," and most of the tips are sensible and not overly starchy. As a whole, though, the book is rather dull, and the chapter on introductions, no matter how commonsense, will have many children giving up without an effort. The most interesting parts are letters to K.T. Answers, which show specific problems from a child's perspective and provide specific solutions. Funny black-and-white illustrations help James and Barkin (A Place of Your Own, 1981, etc.) make the point that manners are the oil that keeps social situations running smoothly; children facing new predicaments will be glad of the straightforward table of contents to help them locate their particular areas of concern.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.87(d)
1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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