Physical and Emotional Wellbeing | Health & the Human Body Series Nonfiction

The topic of heath and the human body has controlled so much of our lives over the past year because of the spread of COVID-19. Due to the speed with which the pandemic overtook society, books published for kids about it were not readily available. Luckily, a few more quality series have arrived. 


The topic of heath and the human body has controlled so much of our lives over the past year because of the spread of COVID-19. Due to the speed with which the pandemic overtook society, books published for kids about it were not readily available. Luckily, a few more quality series have arrived. Two series examine the social and physical aspects of COVID-19. While disease and physical health may be a prime concern, childhood social-emotional growth, addiction, and disabilities still play a large role in a kid’s well-being and school curriculum. Series for younger readers explore social-emotional growth through identifying emotions and psychological growth. Living with disabilities comes to life with first-person narratives and the human body is examined in graphic format. Also, tweens are given an introduction to life with addiction. Not only do the books cover a variety of topics, but they range in reading level, format, and quality.



Lowe, Alexander. Adventures in the Circulatory System. ISBN 9781684508624.
––––. Adventures in the Digestive System. ISBN 9781684508617.
––––. Adventures in the Muscular System. ISBN 9781684508594.
––––. Adventures in the Nervous System. ISBN 9781684508631.
––––. Adventures in the Respiratory System. ISBN 9781684508600.
ea vol: illus. by Sebastian Kadlecik. 32p. (Norwood Discovery Graphics: The Bod Squad). Norwood House. Jan. 2021. Tr. $29.27.
Gr 1-4 –In these short, comic strip–formatted books, four characters microscopically travel into the systems of the human body to solve a problem while teaching readers. Though the intention may be to resemble “The Magic School Bus” series, the plotline about how and why characters travel into the body is rushed, resulting in a less engaging story. The basic science is informative and age appropriate for kids who want just a few facts. The illustrations are colorful, but too basic and flat to compensate for the hurried storytelling. VERDICT While the framing device is good, the execution of these books does not rise to the level of a necessary purchase.

Rustad, Martha E. H. Bullying. ISBN 9781977132161.
––––. Healthy Body Image. ISBN 9781977132185.
––––. Keep Trying! ISBN 9781977132215.
––––. Manage Your Emotions. ISBN 9781977132192.
Schuh, Mari. Being a Good Friend. ISBN 9781977132154.
––––. Communication Skills. ISBN 9781977132178.
––––. Mindfulness. ISBN 9781977132208.
––––. What Is Stress? ISBN 9781977132222.
ea vol: 32p. (Health and My Body). Capstone/Pebble. Jan. 2021. Tr. $29.32.
K-Gr 3 –This is a solid series that provides guidance for social interactions, emotions, self-esteem, grit, and other topics for social-emotional growth. The guidance is simple but important for this age group. Concepts are defined and scenarios are used to help readers relate to the information. The text is simple, encouraging, and easy to follow. Photos feature kids of many races in various social situations. A table of contents, glossary, index, read more section, and internet sites for further research make these books easy to use. VERDICT A solid choice for libraries looking to provide books on social and emotional growth.

Schuh, Mari. My Life with ADHD. ISBN 9781681519913.
––––. My Life with Autism. ISBN 9781681519920.
––––. My Life with Blindness. ISBN 9781681519890.
––––. My Life with Deafness. ISBN 9781681519906.
––––. My Life with Down Syndrome. ISBN 9781681519937.
––––. My Life with Dyslexia. ISBN 9781681519944.
ea vol: illus. by Isabel Muñoz. 24p. (My Life With...). Amicus/Amicus Illustrated. Jan. 2021. Tr. $29.95.
Gr 1-5 –These fantastic books, written in first person from the perspective of a real child whose photo and short biography are featured at the end of each title, explain what it is like to have a disability, how to accommodate for success, and how a person is more than their disability. Children with the same disability are shown to have varying traits and skills, and the person-first ­language makes children with disabilities relatable. With advice for interacting with a person with a disability, helpful terms, and ­further resources, these books are for readers with and without disabilities. While the explanation of the condition is well done, a standout feature of these books is the narrator’s positive self-image, the acceptance of limitations, the passion for hobbies, and the positive view of school and ­therapeutic support. VERDICT A must-purchase that will teach about and encourage ­positive images of children with disabilities.
Truly exceptional.

Stratton, Connor. I Feel Afraid. ISBN 9781646192939.
––––. I Feel Angry. ISBN 9781646192946.
––––. I Feel Bored. ISBN 9781646192953.
––––. I Feel Excited. ISBN 9781646192960.
––––. I Feel Happy. ISBN 9781646192977.
––––. I Feel Lonely. ISBN 9781646192984.
––––. I Feel Sad. ISBN 9781646192991.
––––. I Feel Worried. ISBN 9781646193004.
ea vol: 24p. (How I Feel). North Star Editions/Little Blue Readers. Jan. 2021. Tr. $27.07.
PreS-Gr 1 –Color photos accompany simple scenarios explaining why emotions happen, how they are expressed, and how to cope with strong ones. While the books are short, their transition from identifying emotions to coping mechanisms is successful at teaching younger kids about their strong new feelings. The color photos show various ethnicities and family types overlaid with a single word that reinforces word recognition. The glossary and index are unnecessary but befitting a nonfiction book. These beautiful books will be perfect for parents working to correct spontaneous behaviors resulting from strong emotions. VERDICT A highly recommended series for school and public ­libraries that need books on emotions.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Bender, Marie. Financial Free Fall: The COVID-19 Economic Crisis. ISBN 9781532194276.
––––. Invisible Invasion: The COVID-19 Pandemic Begins. ISBN 9781532194290.
––––. Living Apart, Together: American Life During COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194313.
Thomas, Rachael L. Healthcare Heroes: Medical Workers Take On COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194283.
––––. Leaders Take Charge: Guiding the Nation Through COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194306.
––––. A New Normal: Life After COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194320.
ea vol: 32p. (Battling COVID-19). ABDO/Checkerboard Library. Dec. 2020. Tr. $28.50.
Gr 3-7 –Focusing less on the science and more on the social impact, this series looks at the spread of COVID-19, daily life during the pandemic, political actions, health care workers, and the economic effects. Colorful graphs and photos support the easy-to-understand, well-organized text. Even though readers will have experienced some of what is explained, having all the information in one place presents a full picture and expands readers’ understanding. Statistics, dates, and charts make this a good series for research, as do the table of contents, index, and glossary. The information is as current as October 2020, so any later developments are not covered. Regardless, this is a solid choice for information regarding the pandemic thus far. VERDICT A thorough and appealing series for understanding the first 10 months of the pandemic.

Borgert-Spaniol, Megan. Taking on Colds. ISBN 9781532194245.
––––. Your Amazing Immune System. ISBN 9781532194252.
Olson, Elsie. Attacking Germs with Science. ISBN 9781532194207.
––––. Battling Ear, Nose, and Throat Infections. ISBN 9781532194214.
––––. Combating COVID-19. ISBN 9781532194221.
––––. Fighting Influenza. ISBN 9781532194238.
ea vol: 32p. (Germ Invaders). ABDO/Big Buddy. Dec. 2020. Tr. $29.93.
Gr 3-6 –These eye-catching books explore the body’s immune system, the science of fighting germs, and a few major respiratory infections, including COVID-19. With germ-fighting cartoon superheroes, the illustrations are colorful, bold, and engaging. Each book states the four types of germs (fungi, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa), then goes on to inform how the germs make you sick and how the body and medicine fight the germs to make you well again. Some history of scientific innovations is also included. Though the illustrations will have younger kids pulling these books off the shelves, the writing attempts to cover too much advanced content in a small space, leaving readers confused. VERDICT While the illustrations are appealing, the disconnect between the simple sentence structure and the breadth of advanced content makes these books easily confusing for readers.


Upper Middle School to High School

Artanne, K.A. Methamphetamines: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844957.
Ayarbe, Heidi. Tranquilizers and Depressants: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844896.
Bjornlund, Lydia. Steroids: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844964.
Ford, Jeanne Marie. E-Cigarettes: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844872.
––––. Prescription Opioids: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844902.
Havemeyer, Janie. Marijuana: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844858.
London, Martha. Adderall: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844889.
MacCarald, Clara. Heroin: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844919.
Martin, Holly B. Cocaine: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844926.
Rea, Amy C. Alcohol: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844865.
––––. Inhalents: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844940.
Storm, Ashley. Hallucinogens: Affecting Lives. ISBN 9781503844933.
ea vol: 32p. (Affecting Lives: Drugs and Addiction). The Child’s World/Momentum. Jan. 2021. Tr. $29.93.
Gr 5-9 –This series tells the stories of people with addictions and how they recover. These books are not focused on statistics or the science behind the drugs. Instead, they serve as examples for readers about how people start using drugs, become addicted, and find the help to quit. The people in the stories may resist treatment at first, but their desire to regain control of their lives leads them to therapy. These hi-lo books will serve as examples for younger teens about how addiction affects your life. This series is not intended for scientific, legal, or statistical information, but rather for social and emotional support for young teens who are exposed to drugs. ­VERDICT A solid purchase for teens who are considering drugs, already doing drugs, or looking for support to help a loved one with an addiction.

Dinmont, Kerry. Frontline Workers During ­COVID-19. ISBN 9781678200626.
Hodgkins, Fran. Finding a COVID-19 Vaccine. ISBN 9781678200589.
Moon, Walt K. The COVID-19 Virus. ISBN 9781678200565.
––––. Past Pandemics and COVID-19. ISBN 9781678200640.
Ternus, Lynn. Life During COVID-19. ISBN 9781678200602.
ea vol: 80p. (The COVID-19 Pandemic). ReferencePoint/BrightPoint. Mar. 2021. Tr. $30.95.
Gr 5-9 –This truly fantastic series explains general concepts through the lens of ­COVID-19. Topics include frontline workers, how life has changed during the pandemic, and efforts to develop a vaccine. Readers will gain comprehensive scientific knowledge as well as an ­understanding of COVID-19 through each book’s topics. For example, readers learn about vaccines in general, how they are developed, and the biochemistry of how they work, all while learning about the COVID-19 vaccine. Because of this foundational learning, these books will be useful long after the pandemic. Color photos, illustrations, and side notes beautifully support the text while still ­giving the book a research feel. The table of contents, “at a glance” section, ­index, glossary, source notes, and further research section make these data-filled books easy to use. VERDICT A standout series that should be a must-purchase for every ­library. ­Absolutely exceptional.

Two series stand out: “My Life With…” (Amicus/Amicus Illustrated) features positive, encouraging, and motivated role models and should be part of every library. The writing style and informational approach in “The COVID-19 Pandemic” (ReferencePoint/BrightPoint) will have readers learning general science concepts through the lens of COVID-19; the books will also prove useful to students long after the pandemic. “How I Feel” (North Star Editions/Little Blue Readers), “Battling COVID-19” (ABDO/Checkerboard Library), “Health and My Body” (Capstone/Pebble), and “Affecting Lives: Drugs and Addiction” (The Child’s World/Momentum) are all quality series that will adequately fulfill the need for their topics. “Germ Invaders” (ABDO/Big Buddy) is beautiful, but because of the undefined advanced concepts, the books may be confusing to young readers. Unfortunately, “Norwood Discovery Graphics: The Bod Squad” (Norwood House) had potential as a graphic nonfiction series about the human body, but the graphics and lack of a developed story line keep these books from being recommended.

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