This title allows students to create their own research-supported conclusion about a much-debated topic.
After a long day of school it’s nice to be able to come home and play your favorite video game, but could too much game time be helpful or harmful? It might keep you from getting the exercise you need, interacting with friends and family, or completing your homework. Featuring engaging reading activities and relatable content, the simple-to-follow book, Video Games, Yes or No?, allows young learners to construct their own persuasive statements.
The Seeing Both Sides series encourages young learners to research and support their own conclusions on a variety of long-debated topics. Readers will explore the pros and cons of each specific topic and gain a better understanding of differing opinions and why it is important to look at all the facts before making a decision. Each 24-page book features a teaching focus, before- and after-reading activities, writing tips, a glossary, and more, to effectively engage young learners and prompt them to explain their understanding.
Forming opinions and creating cogent arguments are important skills for students to learn, and this series strives to develop these abilities in young readers. Each book centers on a different issue, offers two opposing sides, and asks readers to choose one. The presentation is simple. Each page features two to three sentences, which sometimes take the form of questions (“Is it fair to say a color is just for girls or boys?”). Color photos are used heavily, taking up more space than the text. At the end of each volume is a set of “Writing Tips” (which are more advanced in level than the rest of the text) to help students write an opinion paper; these prompts stress the importance of using facts rather than feelings. VERDICT An uncomplicated look at complicated topics, but not necessarily a must-purchase.
School Library Journal
The books in the Seeing Both Sides are intended as instructional tools for opinion writing. A teaching page before the table of contents in each book introduces vocabulary and background knowledge, as well as comprehension and extension activities. The back matter includes a page of writing tips for opinion writing, although the tips are not customized for particular issues. The main content of the books presents arguments for and against each issue. Well-chosen stock photos clarify and emphasize the points. Occasionally the issue or question at hand is not well defined, and arguments may lean one way. For example, the arguments in Junk Food citing the convenience of junk food simply feel weak compared to the specific health and nutrition benefits of avoiding junk food. Similarly, Pink Toys makes a stronger case for avoiding gender bias than for color preference. Recycling presents surprisingly strong arguments about the environmental damage recycling can cause to counter its better-known benefits. School Uniforms has the most balanced presentation, with strong, child-friendly reasons and evidence on both sides. Despite some weaknesses, these books will likely help young readers and writers find their voice and express opinions on the mildly divisive issues they cover.
Booklist, November 2015