Gr 6-9- These books spotlight individual teens from rural areas in the U.S. and Canada and add statistics and explanatory detail on the various topics. Despite the shared format, their quality is inconsistent from book to book. Rural Education presents interesting facts in a well-organized manner. Although the statistics date back a few years, the book is useful for reports. Rural Communities summarizes volunteer stories gathered from other sources; its purpose seems to be to inspire volunteerism. Farm also includes facts and statistics, but the stories are more entertaining than informative. Many are of adults reminiscing about their teen years, and it is unclear how long ago the events took place. Photos appear throughout, but only a few are specific to the teens featured in the articles. Several of the photos are of younger children and adults. The books use official government definitions-both Canadian and U.S.-and the statistics come from reliable sources. However, the books may reinforce stereotypes rather than dispel them. For example, readers may conclude that all rural teens are poverty-stricken. The reading level and short chapters make these titles accessible to reluctant readers, but they don't offer much substance.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
Teens and Rural Education: Opportunities and Challengesby Faith Stewart
Lockers clang shut, bells ring, young people call to each other about the night's ball game or the upcoming social event, halls are filled with jostling and pushing students. These seem like experiences that are universal to all teens in North America. However, while all schools have some common elements, education across North America varies as dramatically as the geography does. Schools and what happens in those schools look very different in inner-city Chicago than they do in a small fishing village in northern Newfoundland, a remote town in the mountains of North Dakota, an island community along the coast of British Columbia, or in upstate New York. A large portion of teenagers' lives, wherever they may live, is taken up with education. Schools matter to rural youth; they shape a large portion of teens' lives. Understanding what education is like in rural areas helps us understand the influences shaping this portion of North American young people.
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