Compact Research: Current Issues Reviews

Genetic Testing: ISBN 978-1-60152-115-6 / eBook: 978-1-60152-217-7
Online Social Networking: ISBN 978-1-60152-116-3 / eBook: 978-1-60152-219-1
The Death Penalty: ISBN 978-1-60152-158-3 / eBook: 978-1-60152-369-3
Voya, October 1, 2013

This series is an all-in-one resource for teens' research needs in an easy to read, magazine-like layout style. Each book contains a primary source quote section, and a key people and advocacy group section, as well as a chronology, and a related organizations section. Having such a well-balanced amount of various research outlets in one book is a great way to introduce students to research basics. The illustrations, maps, charts and graphs will help foster and reinforce comprehension. Also, the user-friendly style is visually appealing while reinforcing comprehension. Each section contains colorful pull-quotes, which helps the reader gain interest in the reading. Reluctant readers will appreciate the compact size, easy-to-read content and pop culture references. This research series contains good overall coverage of each topic as the current, past, present, and future of issues are discussed, as well as controversial issues with each topic. In Genetic Testing, family planning, using DNA to catch criminals, privacy issues, diseases, and personalized medicine are discussed. In The Death Penalty, methods of execution, deterrence effect, gender and race biases, the mentally ill, and the challenges with the Constitution and the death penalty are discussed. In Online Social Networking, privacy issues, sexting, addiction to social networking, and bullying and regulation vs. freedom of speech are discussed. This series is well rounded in the issues it discusses and visually appealing to its readers. It would be a great addition for school and public libraries.
—Julia Bowersox.

Biomedical Ethics: ISBN 978-1-60152-157-6
The Death Penalty: ISBN 978-1-60152-158-3
The Green Movement: ISBN 978-1-60152-163-7
School Library Journal, January, 2012

Gr 7 Up These concise volumes explore three controversial topics by combining objective narratives, opinion-based primary documents, and relevant supporting data. Each book begins with a useful overview of the issue before moving on to the fundamental questions that surround it, such as "Should Doctors Be Allowed to Help Patients Die?" "Does the Death Penalty Deter Violent Crime?" "Do the Benefits of Going Green Outweigh the Costs?" While the questions are pertinent and the answers solid in construction, the brief primary-source quotations, divorced as they are from the context of their complete arguments, are of little use to student researchers. The same can be said for the "Facts and Illustrations" sections that, while eye-catching, may only provide prefatory material for much larger issues. Although rounded out by chronologies, lists of related organizations, and print and online resources for further research, these books attempt too much while readers come away with too little.

Gangs: ISBN 978-1-60152-114-9
Genetic Testing: ISBN 978-1-60152-115-6
Online Social Networking: ISBN 978-1-60152-116-3
Booklist, April 1, 2011

Each title in the Compact Research: Current Issues series gives young researchers a good beginning point in examining controversial subjects, using a lively style and real-life stories to keep interest along the way. Each title begins with an "...at a Glance" look at its topic, within which it defines terms and outlines subtopics. The books then flesh out each subtopic, providing plenty of statistics presented visually along with pages filled with quotes. Opposing points of view are bracketed together for easy contrast. Gangs looks at the different types of gangs, such as street and military, why young people join them, and whether or not they can be stopped. Genetic Testing supplies information about the genetic diseases revealed by testing, the reasons for those tests, and how results might be used in both positive and negative ways. The statistics in Online Social Networking about sites like Facebook and LinkedIn will quickly become out of date in such a fast-moving field, but the background information on subjects like cyberbullying and sexting will probably stay pertinent for a while. Copious back matter in each volume includes lists of significant people, contact information for organizations, a well-rounded resource list, source notes, a time line, and an index.
—Susan Dove Lempke

Immigration: ISBN 978-1-60152-095-1
Booklist, August 16, 2010

The Current Issues subset of the Compact Research series presents different points of view on topics students may be researching for papers or debates. Brightened with colorful graphics and charts as well as the occasional photo, each volume opens with a broad overview followed by four chapters and sections of related quotes and statistics. Immigration explores social and economic issues related to immigration policy in the U.S. Back matter in each book includes a chronology, annotated lists of "Related Organizations" and "Key People and Advocacy Groups," and bibliographies of books, periodicals, reports, films, and Internet sources. The books' "Primary Source Quotes" sections, which define the term primary source rather broadly, offer quotes out of context (and sometimes with ellipses or bracketed additions) and identify their sources. Each volume's cover uses the same design and photos. Although the books' reading level is higher than the colorful, accessible format suggests, students may find the books more usable than the densely packed essays in comparable series.
—Carolyn Phelan

Drugs and Sports: ISBN 978-1-60152-105-7
Booklist, August 16, 2010

The Current Issues subset of the Compact Research series presents different points of view on topics students may be researching for papers or debates. Brightened with colorful graphics and charts as well as the occasional photo, each volume opens with a broad overview followed by four chapters and sections of related quotes and statistics. Drugs and Sports looks at performance-enhancing substances and testing policies for students and professional athletes. Back matter in each book includes a chronology, annotated lists of "Related Organizations" and "Key People and Advocacy Groups," and bibliographies of books, periodicals, reports, films, and Internet sources. The books' "Primary Source Quotes" sections, which define the term primary source rather broadly, offer quotes out of context (and sometimes with ellipses or bracketed additions) and identify their sources. Each volume's cover uses the same design and photos. Although the books' reading level is higher than the colorful, accessible format suggests, students may find the books more usable than the densely packed essays in comparable series.
—Carolyn Phelan

DNA Evidence and Investigation: ISBN 978-1-60152-102-6
Booklist, August 16, 2010

The Current Issues subset of the Compact Research series presents different points of view on topics students may be researching for papers or debates. Brightened with colorful graphics and charts as well as the occasional photo, each volume opens with a broad overview followed by four chapters and sections of related quotes and statistics. DNA Evidence and Investigation discusses the usefulness of such evidence as well as civil-liberties concerns raised by DNA databases. Back matter in each book includes a chronology, annotated lists of "Related Organizations" and "Key People and Advocacy Groups," and bibliographies of books, periodicals, reports, films, and Internet sources. The books' "Primary Source Quotes" sections, which define the term primary source rather broadly, offer quotes out of context (and sometimes with ellipses or bracketed additions) and identify their sources. Each volume's cover uses the same design and photos. Although the books' reading level is higher than the colorful, accessible format suggests, students may find the books more usable than the densely packed essays in comparable series.
—Carolyn Phelan

DNA Evidence and Investigation: ISBN 978-1-60152-102-6
Drugs and Sports: ISBN 978-1-60152-105-7
School Library Journal, June 2010

The first book discusses how conclusive the science is in solving crimes, whether DNA testing is effective for correcting justice-system errors, whether prisoners have a right to such testing, and whether databases of samples threaten civil liberties. The second examines whether drug abuse is a serious problem among athletes, how effective drug-testing policies are, whether more rigorous testing is needed for student athletes, and whether drug use should be legalized in competitive sports. Several pages of primary-source quotes, including excerpts from newspaper and magazine articles that interview law enforcement personnel, lawyers, families, and others, are included at the end of each chapter. In addition, the narratives include quotes from other relevant parties, all making the books helpful for reports, debate research, and general interest. Numerous brightly colored, easy-to-read graphs, charts, and maps enhance the coverage. Both books have solid end matter that includes listings of key people and advocacy groups, and related organizations.
—Debbie S. Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI

Teen Smoking: ISBN 978-1-60152-098-2
Immigration: ISBN 978-1-60152-095-1
School Library Journal, March 2010

This series has a tried-and-true format for providing reliable and up-to-date information for students' reports, debates, or other class projects. After an overview of the issue, chapters posed as questions ("How Can Teen Smoking Be Prevented?" or "How Should the United States Address the Issue of Illegal Immigration?") get thorough and balanced answers incorporating viewpoints from both ends of the pro/con spectrum. The "Primary Source Quotes" and "Facts and Illustrations" sections allow readers to zero in on information that would be particularly helpful in supporting arguments. The attention to citing sources properly also teaches how to research, while the inclusion of "Key People and Advocacy Groups" and "Chronology" sections will point students to sources of further learning. While photo illustrations are sparse, the straightforward presentation of serious subject matter, graphics, and easy access to facts make the books excellent choices for reports and debates.

Religious Fundamentalism: ISBN 978-1-60152-082-1
School Library Journal, December 2009

Marcovitz focuses this study of the social and political effects of fundamentalism on Christianity in America and Islam in other countries, although fundamentalist Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism also receive mention. The strength of this series is its statistics-heavy format: each chapter has a section on primary-source quotes and useful bar and pie graphs showing demographic information. Chapters in this title cover the extent of religious fundamentalism in different communities, its influence on individual rights, its impact on violence and terrorism, and the question of how governments ought to respond to it. End matter includes a spotty time line of the history of fundamentalism beginning with the birth of Islam through the attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
—Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NM

School Violence: ISBN 978-1-60152-057-9
Video Games: ISBN 978-1-60152-053-1
School Library Journal, January and February 2009

Gr 6-9 The introduction to School Violence looks at the prevalence of the problem; causes such as bullying and gangs; the influence of the media, including online sources, on behavior; and the roles of alcohol and drugs, etc. The "...at a glance" spread and "Overview" prepare readers for the more detailed information to come and provide facts about safety issues. Each of four chapters then addresses both sides of a question, followed by four pages of quotes and a section of colorful graphs, charts, and illustrations. The second book opens with descriptions of the growing popularity of video games and the regulation and legislation of content and sales; ratings; connections with violent crime; and health effects, including addiction. An overview provides further background and context to these issues, and as in School Violence, chapters follow addressing related questions and providing other related material. These chapters look more closely at the influence of the pastime on users' health and also cover the games'effects on perception of right and wrong, intelligence, development of analytical and social skills and negative stereotypes, etc. The accessible and objective presentations and lists of key people and advocacy groups make these useful resources for research.
—Susan Shaver, Hemingford Public Schools, NE

Drunk Driving: ISBN 978-1-60152-072-2
Disaster Response: ISBN 978-1-60152-081-4
School Library Journal, November 2009, Series Made Simple Supplement

Gr 6 Up Each book provides a great array of facts, statistics, graphs, and primary-source quotes. The first title has an overview of the problem as well as topic-specific chapters such as “Who Drives Drunk?” and “How Should Drunk Drivers Be Punished?” It offers differing ideas on questions that have more than one answer. The colorful graphs and charts contain current information, sometimes through 2008. Robson covers disasters ranging from manmade to weather-related and bioterrorism. The author doesn’t just focus on the United States; how the world responds to disasters takes up a good part of the book. Hurricane Katrina is discussed in the overview and leads into chapters that question the ability of the United States to handle natural disasters and how it can be improved. Once again, colorful graphs and up-to-date statistics are included. Both titles would be great additions for students needing print materials to help with research projects, and for those who require some kind of first-person account included in their research.
—Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR

U.S. Border Control: ISBN 978-1-60152-052-4
School Library Journal, February 2009

Gr 6 Up An effective presentation of a multifaceted issue. McCage poses questions via the chapter headings ("Does increased border security protect the United States?"), then answers with succinct explanations composed of statistics and quotes from reliable sources. Also covered are impediments to border control, the Minuteman Project and its surrounding controversy, and future border control policies. Each section closes with "Primary Source Quotes" and "Facts and Illustrations"; the latter consists of material such as graphs, pie charts, and maps. While these sections make it easy for students to pinpoint the information they need, some graphics (such as the full-page pie charts that illustrate only one question each) seem superfluous.
Though the text lacks photographs or personal accounts, the well-structured information provides a solid platform for all sides of the argument.
—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

Drug Legalization: ISBN 978-1-60152-012-8
School Library Journal, December 2009

Gr 9 Up Normally books on drugs, particularly those about marijuana, contain a section devoted to legalization. This book looks at marijuana, but also includes information regarding the legalization of a variety of other controlled substances. A beginning overview provides readers with relevant background and context. Chapters begin by posing questions such as, "Would legalizing drugs decrease crime?" or "Would legalizing drugs increase drug addiction?" The book provides different opinions, documented facts, and primary-source quotes to guide readers in forming and articulating their own responses. Color photos, charts, and graphs are interspersed. Lists of key people, advocacy groups, and related organizations complete the volume. Useful for persuasive writing and speaking assignments.
—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School Library, Lancaster, PA

Cloning: ISBN 978-1-60152-081-4
School Library Journal, December 2008

Gr 9 Up Rather than a series of point/counterpoint articles, this book contains single chapters that each pose a question, e.g., "Is human cloning ethical?" and provide background and information in support of different responses to a specific controversy. Each chapter also includes a useful selection of related primary-source material. Throughout, Roleff gives necessary background in genetics to help students understand how cloning works. The technical language becomes a bit overwhelming in the chapter "Is Embryonic Stem Cell Re-search Ethical?" when the difference between pluripotent embryonic and multipotent adult stem cells is discussed. Those concepts are tackled and explained in as simple a way as possible, but the vocabulary and concepts are understandably daunting. Still, compared to titles such as John Woodward's The Ethics of Human Cloning (Gale, 2004), this is a more visually appealing and user-friendly title. It includes full-color graphs, charts, and photos, and the text is broken into manageable subsections. The book has information on key people and advocacy groups and a useful list of related organizations with print, phone, and Web contact information.
—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School Library, Lancaster, PA

Obesity: ISBN 978-1-60152-040-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-311-2
Booklist, October 2008

With obesity skyrocketing in the U.S. among young people as well as adults, this addition to the Compact Research: Current Issues series will attract teens driven by both research assignments and personal interest. The browsable text is packed with snippets of up-to-date facts; clear, full-color diagrams; and quotes from a wide range of authorities, who discuss health consequences, treatment, prevention, and causes, including the degree to which genetics, social class, and personal choices influence body weight. Full back matter, including citations for the abundant quotes and an annotated list of key people and advocacy groups, provides sturdy support for this timely overview. This provides a nice, research-based backbone to accompany such titles as Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the American Meal (2001) and Scott Ingram’s Want Fries with That? (2005).
—Hazel Rochman

Illegal Immigration: ISBN 978-1-60152-009-8
Booklist, April 15, 2008

Given the overwhelming volume of information available on the Web, students will welcome this in-depth, clearly organized volume in the Compact Research: Current Issues series that does an excellent job of looking at the arguments about immigration from all sides. After the detailed overview, Miller discusses conflicting opinions on assimilation, effects on the economy, amnesty, border enforcement, guest worker programs, and more. The design is highly readable, including extensive primary-source quotes, as well as facts and color charts with each chapter; in fact, browsers may start with the visuals and then go on to the in-depth arguments. The debate is balanced; opposing sides have their say, whether the argument is about immigration policy reforms or about whether illegals threaten American society. Extensive source notes, a bibliography, chronology, and an annotated list of key people and advocacy groups will help those who want to find out more.
—Hazel Rochman

World Energy Crisis: ISBN 978-1-60152-011-1
Gun Control: ISBN 978-1-60152-010-4
School Library Journal, May 2007

Gr 8 Up These books are intended to allow one-stop shopping for researchers by providing an overview, primary and secondary information, and charts and graphs on a contemporary topic. World Energy Crisis covers the diminishing quantity of available oil, nuclear power, and renewable energy sources. It discusses the current problems of energy use and supply without any mention of global warming or the green-house effect. In Gun Control, the discussion includes subjects such as youth violence, the Second Amendment, and bans on assault weapons. Both volumes include the names of key people and advocacy groups, a timetable showing the development of the issues, and additional re-sources. The colorful charts are sometimes difficult to understand and no explanatory text is provided. Although both sides of controversial issues are given, often the very short quotations provided as primary-source material are taken out of context and may not give readers enough information. The "Opposing Viewpoints" series (Gale) gives readers a fuller understanding of these topics, although Kallen's and Milite's books could be used to supplement more thorough explorations of the subject because of their additional statistical information.
—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY

The Death Penalty: ISBN 978-1-60152-008-1
Illegal Immigration: ISBN 978-1-60152-009-8
Biomedical Ethics: ISBN 978-1-60152-013-5
School Library Journal, May 2007

Gr 9 Up These books are deceptively thin as they are packed with well-organized, useful information. They include primary-source quotes, several types of graphs, lists of facts, and brief time lines of seminal events. The design is well thought out and the presentations are much more user-friendly for ELL learners and lower-ability researchers than the "Opposing Viewpoints" series (Gale). The authors touch on many of the areas that teens need when researching for reports or speeches, and each volume presents the most current information feasible in books on such ever-changing, timely topics. They also cater to different research styles with straight text, photos, lists, charts and graphs, and illustrations about each topic. Students will welcome these information-rich titles.
—Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI

Animal Experimentation: ISBN 978-1-60152-037-1
Genetic Engineering: ISBN 978-1-60152-038-8
School Library Journal, July 2008

Gr 9 Up Each of these comprehensive guides contains a thorough explanation of the scientific field and dispassionately presents the arguments for and against its practices. The format is identical in each, and includes an overview, several long chapters examining sub-topics, and a chapter on key organizations. What makes the books different is that each discussion chapter ends with a collection of primary-source quotes as well as clear, colorful illustrations, including maps, charts, graphs, and photographs that provide excellent visual aids. Unlike the "Opposing Viewpoints" series, which contains longer essays, allowing each writer the chance to make a persuasive argument, these titles summarize the opinions from each side in individual entries such as "Are Animal Experiments Conducted Humanely?" and "What Policies Should Govern Genetic Engineering?" If a teacher's goal is for students to learn to research, these books will completely undermine that effort. If the goal is for students to take a controversial topic, learn about it, and write persuasive arguments of their own, these titles will be a goldmine.
—Denise Schmidt, San Francisco Public Library, CA

Global Warming and Climate Change: ISBN 978-1-60152-019-7
Nuclear Weapons and Security: ISBN 978-1-60152-021-0
Energy Alternatives: ISBN 978-1-60152-017-3
Obesity: ISBN 978-1-60152-040-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-311-2
School Library Journal, June 2008

Gr 9 Up Through primary-source quotes and many graphs and illustrations, this book gives quick bytes on the subject of obesity, including its causes, prevention, and treatment. The quotations, which are both focused in separate chapters and scattered around the text, add depth to the many charts, graphs, and other visuals. Both general readers and serious researchers will find something useful in this volume. It facilitates research for less-motivated students and supplies excellent information for better researchers.
—Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI

Genetic Engineering: ISBN 978-1-60152-038-8 / eBook: 978-1-60152-309-9
Media Violence: ISBN 978-1-60152-035-7 / eBook: 978-1-60152-306-8
Animal Experimentation: ISBN 978-1-60152-037-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-308-2
Obesity: ISBN 978-1-60152-040-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-311-2
Conflict in the Middle East: ISBN 978-1-60152-016-6 / 978-1-60152-300-6
VOYA, April 1, 2008

The strongest element of this series, which currently includes sixteen titles such as Genetic Engineering, Media Violence, Conflict in the Middle East, and Animal Experimentation, is the amount and quality of documentation and further resources provided. Source notes are provided for every quote and statistic within the narrative chapters. The back material includes a chronology, a list of key people and advocacy groups, a list of related organizations, and a bibliography of books, periodicals, and Internet sources, none of which are more than five years old. The obesity volume covers causes, prevention and treatment, as well as the question of whether obesity is a matter of personal responsibility. Genetic Engineering covers the safety of genetically engineered food, the safety of genetic engineering in humans (including the use of stem cells and genetic screening), and the issues surrounding cloning. This series is recommended for students not yet ready to tackle the Opposing Viewpoints or Current Controversies series, as well as those who respond to visual interpretations of the facts.

Conflict in the Middle East: ISBN 978-1-60152-016-6 / 978-1-60152-300-6
School Library Journal, June 2008

Gr 9 Up Naff has tackled a complex and broad topic in a concise and accurate manner, providing an easy-to-grasp and evenhanded re-source on the subject.
Although his outlook is grim, it is realistic and objective. The author provides a brief look at each topic, including the history, the current situation, and potential resolutions. The book covers many conflicts in the Middle East, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as well as the Iraq War, and looks at America's involvement and the effects the fighting has and will continue to have on this country along with an overview of reactions from the global community. Each section includes several pages of direct quotes, statistics, and short summarizing statements. The layout is open, the illustrations (primarily graphs and maps) are colorful, and the back matter has plenty of suggestions for further research.
—Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA

Global Warming and Climate Change: ISBN 978-1-60152-019-7
Nuclear Weapons and Security: ISBN 978-1-60152-021-0
Energy Alternatives: ISBN 978-1-60152-017-3
School Library Journal, January 2008

Gr 8 Up Useful for reports, these volumes provide concise, concentrated information on contemporary topics. Each one gives an overview of the subject and presents pertinent questions with appropriate and well-documented quotations from a variety of viewpoints and basic facts and diagrams. Most pages also include a pull quote from the text. Key people and advisory groups are briefly discussed, and related contact information is provided. A thorough list of materials for further research includes books, periodicals, and Web sites. Charts and maps are in full color. Global Warming presents the dimensions of the crisis while giving voice to those who have different views. Friedman gives a short history of nuclear arms and describes the current proliferation of such weapons. A section on world survival after a nuclear war discusses the devastating consequences of such an event. Energy Alternatives provides a variety of possible alternatives to fossil fuels. Wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, ocean, and geothermal power are examined with the possible benefits and problems associated with each. These books will be helpful to students looking for a one-stop information source on current and controversial issues.
—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY

Terrorist Attacks: ISBN 978-1-60152-022-7
National Security: ISBN 978-1-60152-020-3
School Library Journal, February 2008

Gr 7 Up Students writing current-events papers on these two front-page issues will undoubtedly find these books vital to their research. The first book introduces theories as to why people carry out terrorist attacks, how they are executed, and how the attacks might be prevented.
The second book includes information on the effect of security concerns on privacy, American foreign policy, and the Iraq War. Each volume includes people and groups associated with the issue, a chronology of events, related organizations, and suggestions for further research.
Chapters open and end with an array of quotes that argue for or against a particular argument or aspect of the issue, complete with full citation. Pull quotes from the text and illustrated maps, graphs, and charts assist readers in understanding the main content. However, the pages are a bit dense and crammed full of many quotes, figures, and other information, which may make the volumes daunting for reluctant readers. Still, they are balanced looks at two controversial issues.
—TJennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA

Religious Fundamentalism: ISBN 978-1-60152-082-1
Booklist, November 15, 2009

Part of the Compact Research: Current Issues series, this book on religious fundamentalism is timely and informative but has some organizational and definition problems that may limit its use. For instance, fundamentalism initially is defined in terms of a belief in scripture, ignoring practices and actions. Each religion has its own fundamentalists (which the text rightly points out in numerous spots), but throughout, the book jumps from one group to another so that readers move rather too rapidly from Hasidic Jews to Sikhs to the "New Atheists." Moreover, the chapters of primary source quotes are offered without much context. Despite these problems, students who have only a vague idea of the term fundamentalism will get up to speed as Marcovitz explores such topics as how governments should respond to religious fundamentalism and whether it fuels violence and terror. The book mentions some positive aspects of fundamentalism and has some pro-religion quotes. Illustrated primarily with charts and graphs.
—Ilene Cooper

Illegal Immigration: ISBN 978-1-60152-009-8 / eBook: 978-1-60152-294-8
Biomedical Ethics: ISBN 978-1-60152-013-5 (Out of Print but new updated edition available) VOYA, August 1, 2007

These two titles are part of a new series aimed at streamlining the research process. For novice researchers, locating, sifting, and organizing relevant data can be problematic, yet developing such skills in an age of information overload is critical. The key concept behind the books, self-described as user-friendly, is to help the process along by compiling information for students on a current topic into one place. Each volume is written by a different author, but the format is identical. The books begin with an at-a-glance section that introduces basic vocabulary. In Illegal Immigration, these words include border enforcement, amnesty, and guest worker programs. In Biomedical Ethics, genetic testing and physician-assisted suicide are mong those listed. That section is followed by an overview that offers historical and legal background necessary for understanding the issues. Finally four hot-button are presented with support for both sides of the argument. Each section includes subsections of related primary source quotes, bulleted facts, and full-color graphs and charts. The writing in both of these books is top-notch—clear, concise, and unbiased. The page layout makes it easy to skim, and the font size and minimum amount of text keep the information from overwhelming the reader. In addition, special sections at the end of the book offer significant people and advocacy groups, a chronology, related organiztions, a list of sources for further research, and the author's own source notes. This series is best suited to middle school and junior high students who are just beginning to practice their research skills. Although an argument could be made that the authors have done work that should be done by students, the basic purpose behind the series is to provide a complete research package. These books will undoubtedly help students recognize what organized, valid research looks like. One hopes that they can eventually move on to do the gathering and organizing on their own. Other series titles include The Death Penalty, Gun Control, and World Energy Crisis.

Genetic Engineering: ISBN 978-1-60152-038-8 / eBook: 978-1-60152-309-9
Obesity: ISBN 978-1-60152-040-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-311-2
VOYA, April 1, 2008

This series' stated goal is to present topics in a highly organized, compact fashion that will help students overwhelmed with the amount of information available on current issues to easily identify the content they need. The emphasis is on convenience and readability. Each author breaks down an issue into four subtopics, and covers each subtopic in three formats: a narrative Overview, Primary Source Quotes, and Facts and Illustrations (four or five pages of colorful charts). The narratives introducing each subtopic are objective, clear, thorough, and present all sides of the issues. The Primary Source Quotes comprise one or two sentences from an authority on the subject. They are well chosen to highlight conflicting opinions, but apart from identifying the speaker or writer, they are not placed in context. The Facts and Illustrations content supports the material presented in the overview, but the charts can be confusing, and younger students will require assistance interpreting them.