Monday, July 19, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Media Literacy series from Capstone Press

This series includes the titles:
At the Controls: Questioning Video and Computer Games
Coming Distractions: Questioning Movies
Music Madness: Questioning Music and Music Videos
Pretty in Print: Questioning Magazines
TV Takeover: Questioning Television
Virtually True: Questioning Online Media
What's Your Source?: Questioning the News, and
Yourspace: Questioning New Media
On the one hand, these definitely fill a niche. While there have been general books about internet safety out for years now, there aren't too many for kids addressing specific sites like MySpace. Kids (and adults) tend to automatically go to the internet for report information, but do not understand in the least how to evaluate the information they find there. Our library ordered this series to fill that niche, and so far they have been checking out (mostly via parents wanting their kids to read them. Kids already know everything.)
On the other hand, we are a bit confused as to what the intended niche/audience is. If a child is computer-savvy enough to set up his own Facebook page, would he really need you to define a "wall post"? At times, the books read as more of a primer for older folks (like Miss Ami) who aren't up to speed on all the new technology and lingo.
Language and tone issues aside, these books contain a lot of good information, and give important warnings without sounding too preachy. Readers are shown how to find out who created a web site - and why that matters - and how to spot product placements in TV shows. Both kids and adults may learn some things they didn't know. Warning: reading the entire series back to back can make you extremely paranoid and suspicious of everything you see and hear - which, these days, may not be a bad thing! The layout of the pages is very kid-friendly, lots of sidebars, familiar pictures, and varying page designs.
For more great reviews of nonfiction finds, click on over here. And stay tuned - in a couple more weeks, we will be hosting Nonfiction Monday ourselves! (We almost feel like real bloggers!)


  1. I am author of one of these texts and I can tell you that the thrust of each of the books is a list of "critical thinking questions." Each book was designed around getting young people to question media/technology and not believe everything they see. Thanks for your review.

  2. Thanks, Frank! The "Question It" box at the start of each book gives a great framework teachers can teach kids to use in other areas, too. I have a question for you, as an author - do you decide which words are included as glossary terms/lingo, or does someone at the publishing company do that? That was where we mostly felt the content didn't match up. For example, "Yourspace" is written around a fourth grade reading level, but they felt the need to define "anonymous" and "offensive". Trust us, fourth graders know what "offensive" means:)