Pubs and Videos for December 2003 – January 2004

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Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions, by A. Thomas Horvath, is a guide to acknowledging addictions large and small, and understanding what it takes to change addictive behavior. Horvath doesn’t try to pull people out of deep alcoholism or drug dependency. Rather, he offers a brief, informative explanation of addiction (its benefits and costs), followed by chapters that help readers understand the nature of craving, how to identify it and how to move beyond it. For some, the workbook might be all that is necessary to take that last step. For those who need more, Horvath shows how addictions are very human and very fixable. 224 pages. $15.95. Impact Publishers, P.O. Box 6016, Atascadero, CA 93423. (805) 466-5917,


City Schools and the American Dream: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education, by Pedro Noguera, contends that in order to improve the academic performance of low-income urban students, communities and policy-makers should not stress higher standards and more tests, but should invest in the youths’ communities. The author draws on his experiences as a teacher and researcher in the San Francisco Bay area to illustrate in each chapter a different problem that affects schools. These include the impacts of social class, segregation, poverty and violence, and the role of schools in closing the achievement gap. 187 pages. $50. Teachers College, Columbia University, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10027. (800) 575-6566,

Teaching the Restless: One School’s Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed, by Chris Mercogliano, analyzes the fascinating stories of nine of the author’s students at Albany Free School. The students, all diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), would typically be treated with medication like Ritalin. But the nontraditional private school rejects using drugs for children labeled with ADHD, and insists that the children learn to develop self-discipline, social skills and ways to focus their attention. Mercogliano presents a compelling case for a reversal of the expanding use of Ritalin on children, opting instead for nonpharmaceutical alternatives. 256 pages. $25. Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108. (617) 742-2110,

A.D.D. not B.A.D., by Audrey Penn, is a fun and colorful work designed to introduce children to what it is like to have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The story is about a boy named Jimmy, who has ADD, and how his classmates come to understand what it is like to walk in his shoes. Appro-priate for ages 5 to 9, the fantastic illustrations make this a simple and engaging mechanism for explaining a complex idea to children. 16 pages. $9.95. Child & Family Press, 440 First Street NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC 20001. (202) 638-2952,


Revolve: The Complete New Testament, by Thomas Nelson, is a stylized version of the New Testament (New Century Version) marketed to teenage girls. Bound like a thick, glossy fashion magazine, “Revolve” is brimming with full-color modern photos and illustrations. The books of the New Testament are annotated with brief biographies of biblical characters and text boxes that explain passages in clear language. It also includes hints for learning the Bible, relationship advice and affirming beauty tips with a moral bent (“Just make sure you look like a child of God.”). “Revolve” is attractive and fun, and doesn’t look like a Bible. It may lure some teens into reading the Bible, but it isn’t likely to reach much beyond youth who already have a faith background or interest. 384 pages. $14.99. Thomas Nelson Inc., P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214. (800) 441-0511,

Juvenile Justice

Causes of Conduct Disorder and Juvenile Delinquency, edited by Benjamin Lahey, Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi, is a collection of essays from delinquency experts weighing in on juvenile conduct disorder and its causes. Beginning with an essay on research strategy, the meat of the collection touches on integrative causal models and targeted causal models – good indicators of the book’s technical bent, making it a valuable resource for staff at the policy level. 370 pages. $45. Guilford Press, 72 Spring St., New York, NY 10012. (800) 365-7006,

Mental Health

More Than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression, by Harold Koplewicz, uses anecdotal evidence to illustrate the intricacies of adolescent moods. For teens, says Koplewicz, “being moody and crabby are as much a part of the territory as pimples and proms.” This makes it harder to distinguish between typical teen angst and major depression, but the well-armed youth worker can, and Koplewicz’s work is a good start toward recognition. 366 pages. $15.95. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014. (800) 788-6262,


Raising Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers: Guiding the Way for Compassionate, Committed, Courageous Adults, by Maurice Elias, Steven Tobias and Brian Friedlander, offers suggestions on how to identify what is best for children and implement those ideas with “laughter, limits and linkages.” A large portion of the book is dedicated to making teenagers more responsible by linking them to their community through service. 254 pages. $14. Three Rivers Press, Department of Library Marketing, 280 Park Ave., New York, NY 10017. (800) 733-3000,

Science Fiction

First Contact: A Reader’s Selection of Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Bonnie Kunzel and Suzanne Manczuk, is a reference guide for choosing science fiction novels geared toward sparking young adults’ interest in the genre. The authors provide a synopsis of each book and designate reading levels by grade. 168 pages. $26.95. Scarecrow Press, 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, MD 20706. (800) 462-6420,

Substance Abuse

Alcohol: What’s a Parent to Believe, by Stephen Biddulph, sets out to help parents understand different perspectives on alcohol by giving them straight facts about its effects on the human body and mind. While it doesn’t tell parents what rules to set for their children, it does explain why some teens experiment with alcohol, why others don’t and who is most at risk for addiction. 235 pages. $12.95. Hazelden Publishing and Educational Services, 15245 Pleasant Valley Road, P.O. Box 11-CO 3, Center City, MN 55012. (800) 257-7810,

“Just a Stupid Kid…”: Low Self-Esteem and Alcoholism, by John Candito, draws on the author’s experiences as a self-described “recovered alcoholic” and as a “small, boyish-looking man at age 50” to explore the idea that low self-esteem in youth can manifest itself as drug and alcohol dependency. The book raises intriguing questions about this relationship, but offers weak support for the author’s statements about the extent to which low self-esteem has an impact on all other aspects of a person’s life. For policy and research workers who already can make that connection, Candito’s life provides a good anecdote. $23.95. 270 pages. Vantage Press, 516 W. 34th St., New York, NY, 10001. (212) 736-1767,


Hang On In There, Shelley, by Kate Saksena, is a novel composed of a series of letters from a 14-year-old girl to her favorite star about her life. There are several lessons that readers can extract from Shelley’s letters, particularly insight into what it is like to be of mixed race, how a girl faces bullies at school, and what it is like to live with an alcoholic and sometimes abusive mother. Don’t worry: The book is actually upbeat. Despite the many problems she faces, Shelley always finds the silver lining. $16.95. 200 pages. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 175 Fifth Ave., Suite 712, New York, NY 10010. info@,


Kids’ Letters to Terrorists, edited by John Shuchart and Steve Scearcy, is a collection of anonymous letters that children wrote to terrorists after they completed an interactive course on violence and terrorism. Many of the letters have an overtone of anger, while others reveal confusion about why the terrorists acted violently. Some even offer advice on anger management. The collection offers a valuable starting point for youth workers seeking to understand how children feel about one of the most prominent issues facing the country, and to start discussions with other youth. $9.95. 148 pages. Personhood Press, P.O. Box 1185, Torrance, CA 90505. (800) 662-9662.

Murder Is No Accident: Understanding and Preventing Youth Violence in America, by Deborah Prothrow-Stith and Howard Spivak, provides a broad outline of ideas for youth violence prevention. The authors draw on their experience in Boston as public health officials beginning in 1982, during one of the city’s worst urban juvenile crime epidemics. Dismissing zero-tolerance policies and the juvenile justice system as limited and reactionary, the authors discuss their mistakes in developing prevention programs. They advocate a multifaceted, community approach focused on changing the environment in which youth live. Written in a clear, personable style, the book is a thoughtful read for anyone working in youth violence prevention. 276 pages. $35. Jossey-Bass, 989 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94103. (800) 956-7739,

Sexual Abuse

Uncle Willy’s Tickles: A Child’s Right To Say NO, by Marcie Aboff, is a picture book for young children that tells the story of a young boy who likes to be with his uncle, except when his uncle tickles him. It shows children that it is OK to tell adults when they don’t like being touched in a certain way by someone, and does so without having to use words like “molestation” or “abuse” with young kids. It also offers a discussion for parents to empower their children to express themselves in uncomfortable situations. $14.95. 32 pages. Magination Press, 750 First St. NE, Washington, DC 20002. (800) 347-2721,



Let’s Get Real is a riveting examination by Academy Award-winning documentarian Debra Chasnoff of the effects of bullying, not only on the victims, but on the bullies. Perhaps the most striking commentary is that of featured middle school students, who give unflinching interviews about the racial, homosexual, ethnic and sexist slurs that are commonplace in schools today. This video goes beyond similar efforts, because it talks to youths who bully, drawing out their explanations and what it would take to make them stop. Let’s Get Real is an extremely well-made video that can give youth an in-depth look at bullying and how to stop it. $75. 35 minutes. 2180 Bryant St., San Francisco CA 94110. (415) 641-4616,


Exploring Your Career Options gives students from sixth to 12th grades general guidance about choosing careers. The focus is on explaining what it takes to develop a career in a particular field, such as networking, interning and volunteering with professionals in different fields. The youths and career guidance experts featured here stress the importance of education and job training for opening up career opportunities. 23 minutes. $129. Jist Works. 8902 Otis Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46276. (800) 648-5478,


It’s Not About the Food: Eating Disorders and Childhood Trauma opens with interviews with seven women about how their eating disorders stemmed from traumatic childhood experiences, such as sexual abuse or emotional neglect. Paired with interviews with the women’s therapists, this film shows the importance of treating eating disorders by helping victims understand the causes. 30 minutes. $39.95. Cavalcade Productions, P.O. Box 2480, Nevada City, CA 95959.
(800) 345-5530,


Teen Parents: Making It Work revolves around interviews with teenage mothers struggling to raise children with the involvement of the children’s fathers and their own parents. While the video conveys a positive tone, emphasizing communication and compromise, it doesn’t portray teens who do not have strong family support or address how those teens can help themselves. Thus the video’s optimistic portrayals of the teen mothers gloss over the struggles that other young women face. 19 minutes. $89.95. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, P.O. Box 2053 Princeton, NJ 08543. (800) 257-5126,


The Fundamentals of Baseball and The Fundamentals of Soccer, by A.L.L. For Kids, employ two cartoon characters – Stinky Shoe (a sneaker) and Coach LaRoo – to provide corny comic relief while an actor/coach teaches teams of children baseball and soccer basics. And we do mean basics: how to hold a bat, how to throw a baseball, how to dribble a soccer ball and which part of the foot to use for a shot. The playful tone, the clear demonstrations by the kids and the focus on sportsmanship and listening to the coach make these videos instructive and entertaining for beginners ages 8 and under. Too bad the tapes spend some precious time on advanced strategies, such as double-plays and juggling a soccer ball from thigh-to-thigh, while providing little or nothing on certain fundamentals, like catching grounders. 30 minutes. $13.95 each, $17.95 for DVD. A.L.L. For Kids, P.O. Box 13663, Milwaukee, WI 53213. (888) 880-5437,

Substance Abuse

A Meeting at the Crossroads: Straight Talk from Real Teens About Substance Abuse is a cautionary tale for adolescents that stresses the importance of making sound choices in the face of peer pressure. The film opens with a series of interviews with young teens who are incarcerated for crimes they committed while under the influence of drugs. Their stories are juxtaposed with commentary from medical professionals and with interviews of members of Students Against Destructive Decisions, who have chosen to stay sober. The video culminates with kids from the latter group visiting the teens in juvenile detention to discuss peer pressure and how kids can deal with it to stay straight. 25 minutes. $129. Jist Life, 8902 Otis Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46216. (800) 648-5478,

Small Town Ecstasy: Getting High with Dad, is an HBO documentary that follows a suburban father who does Ecstasy with his second-oldest child and lets his two youngest children (15 and 13) try drugs. This bold concept for structuring a teen message video is ruined, however, by the video’s excessive focus on showing the drug scene rather than on serving as the “cautionary program” that it claims to be. While it does show some legal ramifications and explains negative side effects of drug use, such as emotional instability and brain damage, the educational value of the video is a low second to its sensational entertainment. It is sometimes graphic and contains adult language. 85 minutes. $149.95. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, P.O. Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08543. (800) 257-5126,

Stolen Dreams: The Reality of Ecstasy is a cautionary video for youth about the life-altering effects of Ecstasy. Teens who are in drug recovery programs talk about how their use of the drug damaged their families, futures and health. The video balances those stories with profiles of youth who have remained drug-free. Geared toward middle- and high-school youth, the documentary is a good introduction to both the biological and emotional harm of Ecstasy. 15 minutes. $15. University of Maryland, 4321 Hartwick Rd., Suite 501, College Park, MD 20740. (301) 405-9770,


Scene Smoking: Cigarettes, Cinema, and the Myth of Cool debates whether the film industry has a social responsibility to youth who may be influenced to start smoking when they see characters in movies smoking. Estimating that there are smoking scenes in nearly one-fifth of the films directed at children, the video uses interviews with top actors, producers and screenwriters and fairly addresses both the pro- and anti-smoking points of view. Facts, statistics and clips of movies with smoking break up what is mostly talking-head interviews. 45 minutes. $154.95. Films for the Humanities & Sciences, P.O. Box 2053, Princeton, NJ 08543. (800) 257-5126,