There are plenty of “current issues” books available, but there are several elements that set this series apart. The information is presented in the form of pro-con arguments, each introduced by a “big question”/thesis statement and a few supporting facts. The concise and well-organized pro-con essays, complete with footnotes and graphs, are excellent examples in themselves of small-scale argumentative research papers; and chapter notes, lists of related organizations, and recommended reading lists represent reliable sources. These Common Core-friendly books are as useful for modeling of a research paper as they are as sources of up-to-date information.
—Catherine M. Andronik, Teacher Librarian, Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk, Connecticut
Encouraging analysis through engaging, well-researched examinations of hot topics, these books are exceptional in both writing and design. Like many series of this type, the authors introduce the basics of an issue and then offer both sides of the debate. The first page of each chapter, "The Debate at a Glance," offers bullet points that summarize common arguments pro and con. The design is spare, with understated graphics; bright, compelling photos; and text boxes that pull out interesting quotes. Easy-to-read graphs and charts add another layer of visual information. Powerful anecdotes make the issues more relevant. For example, Gun Control includes a story about a mother who acted in self-defense when an intruder came into her house and discusses the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting with great sensitivity. Stem Cell is particularly notable for its nuanced approach, deeply moving anecdotes, and clear scientific explanations. Through this series, young people can become better informed about these issues in mere hours and learn to synthesize and make sense of disparate information they may have gathered from news sources. Highly recommended.