These three titles are part of Lucent's The Other America series, covering groups marginalized by our society. Each book has four people tell their stories in their own words, the purpose of the series being to reveal members of these groups as individuals rather than faceless masses. The four accounts are preceded by an introduction giving a brief overview of the topic to be covered. An epilogue tells how each person has progressed in the months following his or her initial interview. Places to write for more information and a suggested reading list are also included. Unlike some books on topics such as these, the author does no editorializing, but allows readers to draw their own conclusions from the representative voices. The Other America provides a variety of views on each given topic. Some of the stories are hopeful, while others seem dismal. Some of the people are engaging, others reinforce the stereotypes against which they're battling. All make their situations real to the reader. Though opinion-based rather than fact-based, this series furthers the reader's understanding of, and hopefully empathy for, those outside of mainstream society. Other titles included--though not reviewed--in the series are: Battered Women, The Elderly, Gangs, Gay and Lesbian Youth, The Homeless, People with AIDS, Teen Mothers, Teen Runaways, and Teens in Prison. This is probably a useful addition to most young adult collections. Index. Photos. Biblio. Note: This review was written and published to address three titles: Mothers on Welfare, Teens & Depression, and Teen Fathers. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 8 UpBrief introductions that cover some general aspects of their respective subjects followed by the stories of four teens, from childhood to adolescence. The narratives do not spare details or emotions in describing the past and present lives of the young people. The accounts of those suffering from depression are often hard to read as some of their lives have been quite difficult. These teens, however, are never portrayed as pathetic or as victims. Rather, there is a realistic and empathetic tone to the book. Both titles have an epilogue that reports on the changes the teens have undergone since they were interviewed; some are hopeful, some not. Organizations to contact and lists for further reading are appended. Black-and-white photos of the interviewees, their families, and friends help solidify the intimate portraits of them. Students looking for research material or statistics about these subjects will not find much substantive information here. What they will find is the very human face of adolescents struggling with tough situations.Carol Fazioli, Cardinal Hayes Library, Manhattan College, NY