Calling All Heroes! Careers & Skills | Series Nonfiction

With a focus on high-action, often considered dangerous, jobs, this season’s selections promise to motivate and thrill readers with behind-the-scenes looks at smoke jumpers, molecular biologists, Special Forces, and more.

1604SMS-CareerSkillWhen asked to name a hero, children often have a variety of responses, ranging from athletes to parents. The latest crop of career nonfiction titles introduces readers to the men and women behind some very dangerous jobs from elite police task forces to scientists braving the extreme Antarctic terrain to chart climate change. Contributing to society’s well-being, these individuals are at the heart of this season’s well-researched, engaging, and eye-catching books.


Alexander, Richard. Zoo Workers. ISBN 9781508143772; ISBN 9781508143758; ISBN 9781508143789.

Forest, Anne. Sanitation Workers. ISBN 9781508143734; ISBN 9781508143710; ISBN 9781508143741.

Jeffries, Joyce. Farmers. ISBN 9781 508143611; ISBN 9781508143598; ISBN 9781508143628.

Jones, Emma. Fishermen and Fisherwomen. ISBN 9781508143659; ISBN 9781508143635; ISBN 9781508143666.

Morgan, Elizabeth. Construction Workers. ISBN 9781508143574; ISBN 9781508143550; ISBN 9781508143581.

Rogers, Kate. Mechanics. ISBN 9781 508143697; ISBN 9781508143673; ISBN 9781508143703.

ea vol: 24p. (Hands-On Jobs). chart. glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $23.60. pap. $8.25. ebk. $23.60.

Gr 2-5 –Exploring careers that mix brains with physically demanding work, the titles in this series shed light on often less frequently covered career choices, many which society could ill afford to do without. The subject is refreshing and the texts cover a range of topics, from tools of the trade and training to safety precautions and future opportunities. In each, vibrant photographs of individuals on the job, graphic organizers, and “Digging Deeper” sidebars supplement the primary text and should keep students interested and engaged. Despite the lack of extras, the series is a winning testament to the jobs that are crucial to our communities. VERDICT Strong additions to career collections.

Aronin, Miriam. Highway Patrol Officers. ISBN 9781943553143; ISBN 9781943553488.

Blake, Kevin. Air-Sea Rescue Officers. ISBN 9781943553129; ISBN 9781943553464.

––––. City Cops. ISBN 9781943553112; ISBN 9781943553457.

Goldish, Meish. K-9 Cops. ISBN 97819 43553136; ISBN 9781943553471.

––––. Sheriffs and Deputies. ISBN 9781943553167; ISBN 9781943553501.

––––. State Troopers. ISBN 9781943553150; ISBN 9781943553495.

ea vol: 32p. (Police: Search & Rescue!). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. maps. photos. Bearport. 2016. lib. ed. $19.95. ebk. $29.95.

Gr 4-6 –Filled with action-packed photos and straightforward information, the volumes in this set will have readers on the edge of their seats as they vicariously experience the often thrilling operations of police search-and-rescue workers. Although some of the real-life examples may be scary to some, the outcomes are generally positive and provide students with an honest look at jobs that are often dangerous, but satisfying for the brave individuals who risk their lives to save others. Vibrant spreads as well as brief yet fascinating text boxes add further interest to topics that will leave readers breathless and eager to learn more. VERDICT These well-written and highly engaging books earn high marks and will appeal to thrill seekers.

Barker, Geoff. Police Force. ISBN 9781482441147; ISBN 9781482441109; ISBN 9781482441123.

Levete, Sarah. The Army. ISBN 9781482441215; ISBN 9781482441192; ISBN 9781482441222.

––––. Special Forces. ISBN 9781482441178; ISBN 9781482441154; ISBN 9781 482441185.

––––. Undercover Operations. ISBN 9781 482441291; ISBN 9781482441277; ISBN 9781482441307.

Snedden, Robert. Air Force. ISBN 9781 482441086; ISBN 9781482441062; ISBN 9781482441093.

––––. The Navy. ISBN 9781482441253; ISBN 9781482441239; ISBN 9781482441260.

ea vol: 48p. (Defend and Protect). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Gareth Stevens. 2016. lib. ed. $31.95. pap. $14.05. ebk. $31.95.

Gr 3-5 –This series involves readers from the opening page of each volume. Real-life examples, engaging presentation, and striking photos work together to immerse students in the dangerous work of these brave men and women. Brief, easy-to-read blocks of text highlight the skills, training, and safety precautions needed in order to succeed and survive. Each chapter is followed by “Take the Test!,” a reading comprehension quiz that reads more like a training checklist than a means to review content. Coupled with the invigorating design and visuals, with paint-splatter graphics and star-shaped sidebars, the series is energetic and should appeal to reluctant readers and those looking for action-packed career choices. VERDICT Students will eagerly pick up these fact-filled volumes.

Coleman, Miriam. Designing Computer Programs: Software Engineers. ISBN 9781508145462; ISBN 9781508145448; ISBN 9781508145479.

Faust, Daniel. Building Computers: Computer Engineers. ISBN 9781508145387; ISBN 9781508145363; ISBN 9781508145394.

––––. Building Robots: Robotic Engineers. ISBN 9781508145424; ISBN 9781508145400; ISBN 9781508145431.

Hayes, Amy. Building Bridges and Roads: Civil Engineers. ISBN 9781508145349; ISBN 9781508145325; ISBN 9781508145356.

Roby, Cynthia. Building Aircraft and Spacecraft: Aerospace Engineers. ISBN 9781508145301; ISBN 9781508145288; ISBN 9781508145318.

Rohan, Rebecca. Working with Electricity: Electrical Engineers. ISBN 9781508145509; ISBN 9781508145486; ISBN 9781 508145516.

ea vol: 32p. (Engineers Rule). glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $26.25. pap. $11.75. ebk. $26.25.

Gr 4-6 –Showcasing six distinct branches of engineering, this descriptive set introduces students to the discipline in straightforward, concise language. Each information-packed book defines the field, exploring its history, current developments, and future directions, giving readers a greater understanding of the profession. Every page of text is followed by a page of photos or other images, providing readers with information for different learning styles. The subject matter is fresh and contemporary, and the design of the books, from the use of shades of blue to the inclusion of graphic organizers, is crisp and appealing. VERDICT An excellent addition to school and public libraries, especially those with growing STEM collections.

Fitzgerald, Lee. Bomb Squads. ISBN 9781508143963; ISBN 9781508143949; ISBN 9781508143970.

––––. Mounted and Canine Police. ISBN 9781508143857; ISBN 9781508143840; ISBN 9781508143864.

Forest, Anne. SWAT Teams. ISBN 9781508144007; ISBN 9781508143987; ISBN 9781508144014.

Jones, Emma. Smokejumpers. ISBN 9781499418538; ISBN 9781508143918; ISBN 9781508143932.

Kawa, Katie. Hostage Negotiators. ISBN 9781508143819; ISBN 9781508143796; ISBN 9781508143826.

Rogers, Kate. Air Marshals. ISBN 9781508143895; ISBN 9781508143871; ISBN 9781508143901.

ea vol: 24p. (Careers for Heroes). chart. glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $23.60. pap. $8.25. ebk. $23.60.

Gr 2-5 –In these thrilling volumes readers are introduced to six public service careers that are dangerous but necessary. Infomation on the education/training required and equipment and tools used provide students with a clear understanding of just how specialized (in both skill and commitment) these jobs are. Action photos, including an image of SWAT team members rappelling down a building, are memorable and illustrate the risky nature of the occupations. “Fast Fact!” sidebars offer bite-sized information that supports and advances the primary text in an engaging way. The inclusion of less-covered careers, such as smokejumper and air marshal, is a refreshing choice. VERDICT Solid options to fill collection gaps.

Gaddi, Rosalie. A Day at Work with a Chemist. ISBN 9781508144045; ISBN 9781508144021; ISBN 9781508144052.

Lee, David. A Day at Work with an Astronomer. ISBN 9781508144205; ISBN 9781508144199; ISBN 9781508144212.

Letts, Amelia. A Day at Work with a Geologist. ISBN 9781508144083; ISBN 9781508144069; ISBN 9781508144090.

Luz, Oscar. A Day at Work with an Electrical Engineer. ISBN 9781508144243; ISBN 9781508144229; ISBN 9781508144250.

McKinney, Devon. A Day at Work with a Software Developer. ISBN 9781508144168; ISBN 9781508144144; ISBN 9781508144175.

Olsen, Alana. A Day at Work with a Molecular Biologist. ISBN 9781508144120; ISBN 9781508144106; ISBN 9781508144137.

ea vol: 24p. (Super STEM Careers). glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $23.60. pap. $8.25. ebk. $23.60.

Gr 3-5 –Showcasing six high-interest careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, the volumes in this informative series give students an up-close look at these hard-working scientists both in the lab and in the field. While the jobs included here represent just a fraction of the numerous STEM-focused career possibilities, the books are unified in their emphasis that math skills are crucial regardless of the profession. The design of each volume is aesthetically appealing in that it reflects the focus of the book—Software Developer and Electrical Engineer, for example, include purple circuitry images at the top and bottom of many pages—and visually reinforces what the audience is reading; brief sidebars accomplish this textually. VERDICT A solid addition to library careers and science sections.

Murray, Laura K. Spies in the CIA. ISBN 9781608186167; ISBN 9781628322286; ISBN 9781566606639.

––––. Spies in the KGB. ISBN 9781608186174; ISBN 9781628322293; ISBN 9781566606646.

––––. Spies in the Mossad. ISBN 9781608186181; ISBN 9781628322309; ISBN 9781566606653.

––––. Spies in the SIS. ISBN 9781608186198; ISBN 9781628322316; ISBN 9781566 606660.

ea vol: 24p. (I Spy). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Creative Education. 2016. lib. ed. $19.95. pap. $9.99. ebk. $28.50.

K-Gr 2 –Focusing on agencies in the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, and Israel, these brief volumes introduce early readers to the world of espionage using easy-to-understand language and simple sentences. Students become acquainted with national agencies such as the CIA and KGB, spy history, various tools of the trade, and notable spies and their work. Archival images of people and artifacts, including fake passports and bullet pens, make the text more meaningful, while a “Top-Secret Activity” engages and supports relevant information introduced earlier in the text. Bright yellows, reds, blues, and greens pop against the white pages and work brilliantly as reminders that spies rely upon blending in, not standing out, in order to do their jobs effectively. VERDICT A fine introductory series for young readers.

Simons, Lisa M. Bolt. U.S. Army Green Beret Missions: A Timeline. ISBN 9781491487020.

––––. U.S. Army Ranger Missions: A Timeline. ISBN 9781491487013.

––––. U.S. Marine Raider Missions: A Timeline. ISBN 9781491487044.

––––. U.S. Navy SEAL Missions: A Timeline. ISBN 9781491487037.

ea vol: 32p. (Special Ops Mission Timelines). chron. further reading. glossary. index. maps. reprods. websites. Capstone. 2016. lib. ed. $19.49.

Gr 2-5 –Appealing to young military buffs and history enthusiasts, this collection spans the years between each unit’s earliest operations and their contemporary missions. Although slim in format and information, each title gives readers a glimpse of the subject operation including relevant information such as names and dates, while a corresponding time line at the bottom of the page identifies the conflict as well as the mission’s location, goal, and outcome. Archival photographs and reproductions accompany the accounts and underscore the valor and grit of the soldiers. Key words appear in bold and are defined in sidebars and the glossary; other sidebars provide readers with quick facts of interest, such as the SEAL in Navy SEAL standing for sea, air, and land. VERDICT While lacking in-depth information, the series provides a solid starting point for independent research.

Slater, Lee. Army Rangers. ISBN 9781 624039676; ISBN 9781680771251.

––––. Delta Force. ISBN 9781624039683; ISBN 9781680771268.

––––. Green Berets. ISBN 9781624039690; ISBN 9781680771275.

––––. Marine Force Recon. ISBN 9781 624039706; ISBN 9781680771282.

––––. Navy SEALs. ISBN 9781624039713; ISBN 9781680771299.

––––. Pararescue Jumpers. ISBN 9781624039720; ISBN 9781680771305.

ea vol: 32p. (Special Ops). diag. glossary. maps. ABDO. 2016. lib. ed. $18.95. ebk. $31.95.

Gr 3-5 –Focusing on lesser-known U.S. military units, this series is fascinating and informative. A riveting introductory narrative starts each volume and puts readers right into the action, then whisks them through each special force’s history and purpose. Each unit’s training regimen is explained in great detail, shedding light on the physical stamina, strong fortitude, and intelligence required of the men in these positions. Jaw-dropping facts—Delta Force estimates that more than 90 percent of Delta Force recruits drop out during the selection process—as well as time lines and each unit’s insignia, provide readers with a wealth of information. The sharp photos, several of which show these brave individuals in action, further illustrate the elite nature of these military forces. VERDICT Readers will be hard-pressed to put these down.

Staniford, Linda. Ambulances to the Rescue Around the World. ISBN 9781484627525; ISBN 9781484627563.

––––. Firefighters to the Rescue Around the World. ISBN 9781484627518; ISBN 9781484627556.

––––. Police to the Rescue Around the World. ISBN 9781484627501; ISBN 9781484627549.

––––. Rescue at Sea Around the World. ISBN 9781484627532; ISBN 9781484627570.

ea vol: 24p. (To the Rescue!). further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Heinemann-Raintree. 2016. lib. ed. $16.99. pap. $6.99.

K-Gr 2 –Celebrating the heroic work of civil servants in the United States and around the world, these books allow beginning readers to see the similarities in how these professionals work to make the world a safer place. Simple, straightforward language and sentence structure enable students to quickly digest and understand the material. The clean, uncluttered design allows readers to easily navigate the text, while large, colorful photos introduce them to a diverse, multicultural cast of people. A three-question multiple-choice quiz at the completion of each volume assesses reading comprehension in a low-pressure way (thanks to accompanying visual clues) that will build student confidence. VERDICT First-rate nonfiction that will appeal to readers interested in emergency services as well as those looking for a thrilling read.

Middle to High School

Abramovitz, Melissa. Careers in the US Special Forces. ISBN 9781601529428; ISBN 9781601529435.

Allman, Toney. Careers in the US Coast Guard. ISBN 9781601529367; ISBN 9781601529374.

Mattern, Joanne. Careers in the US Marine Corps. ISBN 9781601529381; ISBN 9781601529398.

Mooney, Carla. Careers in the US Navy. ISBN 9781601529404; ISBN 9781601529411.

Phillips, Melissa. Careers in the US Air Force. ISBN 9781601529329; ISBN 9781601529336.

Uschan, Michael V. Careers in the US Army. ISBN 9781601529343; ISBN 9781601529350.

ea vol: 80p. (Military Careers). chart. index. photos. websites. ReferencePoint. 2016. lib. ed. $28.95. ebk. $39.95.

Gr 6 Up –Exploring the numerous career opportunities available to individuals serving in the six branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, this text-heavy series moves beyond the standard look at what each branch does, focusing instead on nine specific jobs, from the entry-level to more advanced positions. Job descriptions address education, required skills and personality, working conditions, salary, and advancement opportunities. The text also looks ahead to the occupation outlook and employment prospects in the civilian world. The minimalist black-and-white design puts the emphasis on the information, and while a few color photos sporadically break up the blocks of text, their inclusion seems incidental and adds very little to the overall package. VERDICT These well-written overviews, although short on visuals, are excellent resources for the numerous career possibilities the military has to offer.

Burgan, Michael. Genetic Engineering: Science, Technology, Engineering. chart. websites. ISBN 9780531230015; ISBN 9780531232194.

Gregory, Josh. Sports Medicine: Science, Technology, Engineering. chart. diag. websites. ISBN 9780531230046; ISBN 9780531232224.

Mara, Wil. Software Development: Science, Technology, Engineering. chart. diag. websites. ISBN 9780531230039; ISBN 9780531232217.

Otfinoski, Steven. Recycling and Upcycling: Science, Technology, Engineering. chart. diag. websites. ISBN 9780531230022; ISBN 9780531232200.

ea vol: 64p. (Calling All Innovators: A Career for You). Children’s Pr. 2016. lib. ed. $30. pap. $8.95.

Gr 5-8 –Tracing today’s innovations to the past, with a nod toward their future, the titles in this engaging series will grab readers’ attention through their striking photography, archival images, and topical subject matter. Crisp, colorful photos share space with black-and-white images, giving readers a visual snapshot of each innovation’s evolution through the years; similarly, time lines at the beginning of each chapter progressively mark breakthroughs that are key to readers’ understanding the subject’s development over time. The subject matter is timely and interesting, especially in Recycling, which connects environmental science with salvage, repurposing, and art. The inclusion of career statistics at the end of each volume provides students with pertinent information such as median annual salary, projected job growth, and projected increase in the number of jobs. VERDICT Libraries can’t go wrong with these welcome additions.

Freedman, Jeri. Electrician. ISBN 9781 502609809; ISBN 9781502609816.

––––. Plumber. ISBN 9781502609823; ISBN 9781502609830.

Lew, Kristi. Engineer. ISBN 9781502609762; ISBN 9781502609779.

Schauer, Pete. General Contractor. ISBN 9781502609786; ISBN 9781502609793.

Small, Cathleen. Architect. ISBN 9781502609748; ISBN 9781502609755.

––––. Carpenter. ISBN 9781502609847; ISBN 9781502609854.

ea vol: 112p. (Careers in Construction). bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. photos. Cavendish Square. 2016. lib. ed. $42.79. ebk. $42.79.

Gr 8 Up –This thoroughly researched, text-heavy series introduces readers interested in construction to career possibilities and explores the training and skills necessary for the jobs. In each, four chapters that focus on educational requirements, activities and responsibilities, and current and future outlooks deliver an honest, realistic look at the profession. Vibrant photos provide much-needed splashes of color amidst pages of black-and-white text; captions enclosed in yellow rectangles, blue headings, and a blueprint at the top of each new chapter create a unified design scheme that allows readers’ attention to stay focused on the material. VERDICT Although a bit dry, this comprehensive series provides a strong introduction to the construction industry.

Holmes, Parker. Oceanographers. ISBN 9781508145196; ISBN 9781508145172; ISBN 9781508145202.

Honders, Christine. Cave Geologists. ISBN 9781508145158; ISBN 9781508145134; ISBN 9781508145165.

Kawa, Katie. Forensic Detectives. ISBN 9781508145233; ISBN 9781508145219; ISBN 9781508145240.

Linde, Barbara. Rocket Scientists. ISBN 9781508145264; ISBN 9781499418552; ISBN 9781508145271.

Mahoney, Emily. Antarctic Researchers. ISBN 9781508145073; ISBN 9781-508145059; ISBN 9781508145080.

Nagelhout, Ryan. Astronauts. ISBN 9781508145110; ISBN 9781508145097; ISBN 9781508145127.

ea vol: 32p. (Out of the Lab: Extreme Jobs in Science). chart. glossary. index. photos. websites. PowerKids. 2016. lib. ed. $26.25. pap. $10. ebk. $26.25.

Gr 4-6 –Fascinating overviews of scientists at work outside of the lab will certainly capture the attention and imagination of readers as they join these risk-taking professionals in the field. The exciting and the mundane are covered as the text details on-the-job dangers and everyday tasks. The inclusion of numerous color photos allows readers to see individuals working in such extreme locations as the Aquarius underwater lab and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Graphic organizers, such as charts, tables, and graphs, and informative fact boxes enhance the text by giving readers a better understanding of these STEM careers. The true allure, however, is in the series’ choice of subjects, which includes lesser-explored extreme jobs in cave geology and Antarctic research as well as familiar high-interest careers as forensic scientists and astronauts. VERDICT First-purchase considerations for most collections.

Petersen, Justin. Bomb Disposal Units: Disarming Deadly Explosives. ISBN 9781491480281.

––––. HAZMAT Teams: Disposing of Dangerous Materials. ISBN 9781491480298.

––––. Search and Rescue Teams: Saving People in Danger. ISBN 9781491480311.

––––. Smokejumpers: Fighting Fires from the Sky. ISBN 9781491480304.

ea vol: 32p. (EMERGENCY!). glossary. index. photos. websites. Capstone. 2016. lib. ed. $20.49.

Gr 5-8 –Four dangerous yet necessary professions are explored in this gripping series featuring dramatic narratives, fascinating facts, and sharp photography. Discussion of these high-interest, risky occupations include general job information, such as education and training requirements, daily activities, and tools of the trade, which are complemented by bright yellow “Fact” boxes (“Only four smokejumpers have died during a parachute jump since 1940.”). The inclusion of “Critical Thinking Using the Common Core” components allows students to reflect upon their reading, adding increased engagement. VERDICT Put these on display in careers or science and technology—they won’t stay on the shelves very long.

ABDO’s riveting “Special Ops” will absorb readers with its gripping real-life examples and action photos of the heroic men who serve as members of Delta Force. Rosen’s well-written “Hands-On Jobs” shines light on less-explored professions. Older readers will appreciate Rosen’s well-researched and vibrant “Out of the Lab” series. Similarly, “Calling All Innovators” from Children’s Press combines archival images, time lines, and solid research to link the past to the present while acknowledging the future. Depending upon collection needs, libraries can’t go wrong with the other series reviewed.

Audrey Sumser, Kent State University at Tuscarawas, New Philadelphia, OH

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