Subscribe to The Horn Book

Social issues

Why Do People Abuse Human Rights by Ali BrownlieBrownlie, Ali  Why Do People Abuse Human Rights?
Gr. 4–6  48 pp.  Raintree

Senker, Cath  Why Are People Refugees?
Gr. 4–6  48 pp.  Raintree

Woolf, Alex  Why Are People Terrorists?
Gr. 4–6  48 pp.  Raintree

Woolf, Alex  Why Do People Commit Crime?
Gr. 4–6  48 pp.  Raintree

Exploring Tough Issues series. These well-organized books examine their subjects in depth—no mean feat, given the short length of the books and how complex the subjects are. Well-chosen (if not always well-reproduced) photos feature both individuals known for their social action (or deviance) and everyday people who unite to work for what they think is right. Abuse and Refugees list relevant resources. Reading list. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Social issues; Crime; Human rights; Refugees; Terrorism

Friend Me! by Francesca Davis DiPiazzaDiPiazza, Francesca Davis  Friend Me! 600 Years of Social Networking in America
Middle school, high school  112 pp.  Twenty-First Century

From early Native American cultures to present-day scientists hoping to interact with possible extraterrestrial beings, people continue to reach out to others for a variety of purposes. Black-and-white photographs and diagrams combine with sidebars and a well-researched text to present the history and future of social networking and the means employed to connect with individuals and groups. Reading list, websites. Bib., ind.
Subjects: Social issues; History, American; Communication; Technology; Internet

Food: The New Gold by Kathlyn GayGay, Kathlyn  Food: The New Gold
Middle school, high school  96 pp.  Twenty-First Century

Maps, stock color photographs, and sidebars combine with a detail-rich text to present a comprehensive look at the world food crisis. Imbalances in access, quantity, and quality along with production, distribution, and ownership are fully explored; the influence of politics, technology, and climate on the food markets today and in the future are also addressed. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Social issues; Agriculture; Farms and farm life; Food; Food relief

Torture by Larry GerberGerber, Larry  Torture
Middle school, high school  64 pp.  Rosen

Jones, Molly  Health Care for Everyone
Middle school, high school  64 pp.  Rosen

Headlines! series. These useful hi-lo volumes address timely topics in the news. Health Care begins with President Obama’s 2010 legislation then discusses problems within the industry. Torture looks at the history and modern practice of torture, ending with discussion of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. Good organization, clear writing, captioned photos, and sidebars deliver the information cleanly. The bibliographies (including many websites) are up-to-date. Reading list. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Social issues; Medicine; Crime; Violence

I Have the Right to Be a Child by Alain SerresSerres, Alain  I Have the Right to Be a Child
Gr. K–3  40 pp.  Groundwood (House of Anansi Press)

Illustrated by Aurélia Fronty. Each spread in this picture book begins with the line “I have the right…” Serres emphasizes that all children have the same freedoms, including the right to food, clean water, shelter, and a peaceful existence. Vivid colors in Fronty’s naïve-style paintings enliven the occasionally ponderous text. A helpful author’s note discusses the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Subjects: Families, children, and sexuality; Books in translation; Children’s rights

From the June 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.



  1. Marianna McKim says:

    My family loves the UNICEF book, A Life Like Mine. As a librarian, I can vouch for its presentation and the quality of the information. It is an older book and possibly not in print but seems readily available on

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind