Smashing Stigma: Dismantling Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination

Twenty-First Century Bks. Sept. 2023. 144p. Tr $38.65. ISBN 9781728477398.
Gr 8 Up–This engaging, speedy work of nonfiction debunks stigmas surrounding six important topics that many teens might confront in current times: mental health, relationship abuse, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, the unhoused, and fat shaming. Each section is thorough and accessible through expert explanations, pictures, text boxes, graphs and charts, stories of individuals who have dealt with that stigma, and ways teens can reduce and call it out. Stories of famous athletes and public figures are described, making each section relatable. The book is a clarion call for teens to address individuals as individuals and to confront their own stereotypes and prejudices. The book is also a self-help guide for teens living with these “stigmas.” Though LGBTQIA+ issues are addressed in the unhoused chapter, this topic could be an entire chapter. The insidious nature of racism is similarly overlooked. Librarians and teachers can use this book in displays and instruction around novels like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Lisa Fipps’s Starfish, Renée Watson’s Love Is a Revolution, John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down, Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep, or anything by Ellen Hopkins. A glossary, index, and resources in all media are provided.
VERDICT Even though most teens are aware of or living with some sort of supposed stigma, picking this book up could take some prompting. An important purchase for libraries serving teens where nonfiction circulates.

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