Sexual harassment and violence against women are truly important issues that need to be addressed, and certainly in a manner able to reach young adults as they form their value systems. These two books make a valid attempt and although not perfect, are certainly worth the effort. This Library of Social Activism series aims information at high school level students, yet the writing level and length (about sixty pages each), can be useful for the middle schooler as well. The books encourage joining organizations such as the National Organization for Women and the National Women's Political Caucus. Working Together Against Sexual Harassment, whose cover is a close-up of Anita Hill, contains very few details of individual cases. If one is not familiar with Clarence Thomas, Bob Packwood, or the incidents surrounding the Tailhook Convention, reading this book would not aid understanding of the outrage these people and events inspire. On the positive side, there is a very valid chart on the difference between harassment and flirting, which works well with a list of questions titled "How Do I Know It's Harassment?" Narrated as if real students were dealing with the issue in their school, it certainly works to stimulate questioning and thinking, making it worthwhile. Working Together Against Violence Against Women is more direct, stark, and effective. There are no "pretend" students-just the facts. My only concern is that although it is geared for the high school student, the author presents "Steps to Help a Friend" that involve serious adult responsibilities. That puts a great deal of pressure on the untrained, well-meaning teen friend, but it does a good job of bringing an important issue out into the open. Both books contain short glossaries of appropriate terms, as well as suggested reading lists and useful contact organizations. Each has a short index, but these books are meant to be read cover to cover. Glossary. Index. Further Reading. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: Working Together Against Sexual Harassment and Working Together Against Violence Against Women. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J S (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpMcFarland encourages young women to take control of their lives and not be the victims of unwanted sexual talk and touch from their peers or elders. She offers concrete advice on responding to such interactions. Activism is indeed the keynote, with passivity clearly not an option. The author begins with recent cases of sexual harassment, such as Anita Hill and the Tailhook scandal, and proceeds with a look at sexism throughout history. Examples of harassment are detailed, and the author considers the different ways males and females understand and react to specific behaviors and stimuli. Nearly half the book is devoted to responding politically to sexual harassment, from enacting an official policy at a school to organizing a chapter of NOW. The advice is specific and constructive. Unfortunately, the intermittent fictional scenarios about a group of high school political science students wrestling with the problem in their school distract from the forceful flow of facts. The subject of sexual harassment of males by females is barely mentioned, further intensifying the strong feminist slant of the book. Average-quality, black-and-white photos appear throughout. Elaine Landau's Sexual Harassment (Walker, 1993) and Kathlyn Gay's Rights and Respect (Millbrook, 1995) both offer greater depth for student research.Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS