Racism: Changing Attitudes 1900-2000; Slavery Today; Women's Rights: Changing Attitudes 1900-2000
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This issue’s cover is from J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in what is already a classic new series. The first two titles were Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for their help. Cover image based on original artwork by Cliff Wright
Racism: Changing Attitudes 1900-2000
Women's Rights: Changing Attitudes 1900-2000
These new series from Wayland prove that you can produce ‘issues books’ for 14-18 year olds that are both good looking and authoritative. Gone are the days when you had to be sombre to be serious (like some of the titles recalled in Kaye Stearman’s bibliography to Women’s Rights) or resort to posed pictures of gloomy teenagers to get a discussion going.
The ‘Twentieth Century Issues’ series reminds us that we will shortly see a time when the twentieth century is itself history. The two books in this series offer surveys of two of the most contentious social questions of the last hundred years – racism and women’s rights, illustrated with well chosen photographs. The authors have been selected for their knowledge of their subjects and backed up with expert consultants. Women’s Rights is endorsed by Amnesty International. Neither issue can be said to be settled or easy to untangle. But both authors have a clear point of view and open up opposing opinions where necessary. For clarity, I prefer Grant’s approach, which is to group his information by topic, so that you can follow the fate of the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, separately from, but in parallel with, the Civil Rights movement in America. The difficulty with following a more chronological approach, as Stearman does, is that you have to pay attention to developments in several countries at once. Still, it is heartening that, within a series format, with the obligatory ‘Key Moment’ and ‘Opinion’ boxes, there is room for difference.
Differences of approach are apparent, too, in the ‘Talking Points’ series, which, although aimed at the same age group, is written more directly, deals mainly with current situations, and is intended to provoke and support discussion.
Stearman’s Slavery Today sensibly takes the approach that young people will need a step by step ‘case study’ guide to the many forms of modern slavery, bringing each situation home with references to particular life stories. Individual chapters of this book could easily be extracted for teaching purposes. Whereas Alison Brownlie’s Charities – do they work? concentrates on more general questions of the role and effectiveness of charities, inviting more reader participation.
All four titles have lists of books to read, glossaries, useful addresses and indexes. The quality of these is variable. Women’s Rights ’ bibliography is larger than Racism , including a video and games, but its index is a full page shorter. Slavery Today has an annotated book list. Charities – do they work? has no annotations. Charities … is the only title to provide websites for its useful addresses.