Written by Cynthia Levinson
Everyone loves the circus! What better way to bring young people together from across cultures that might not otherwise every meet one another. Certainly, they would not understand each other.
This beautifully done, fascinating book tells of just such a program call the youth social circus. It is an arts education program that brings nine teen-aged troupers from two circuses together. They learn professional level skills of juggling, twirling burning hoops and entertaining audiences all over the world. At the same time, they are learning from one another about rural, suburban, and city life. They are learning about tribal customs of the Middle East, Jewish traditions in Galilee and inner-city life in St. Louis.
It is a wonderful example of learning about others by walking in their shoes, or, in this case, dancing and performing in their shoes. The students learn about each other in down time and by traveling together. The photographs were taken during the project and show lifelong friendships being made.
This would be a wonderful addition to every middle school, high school and public library. Teachers and librarians will fulfill many core curriculum standards in English, Social Studies, Literacy, and Geography by reading and discussing this text with students. It could easily lead to an Eagle Scout project or some sort of graduation project.
Even if it doesn’t bring about another encounter, it will begin worthwhile thoughts and dialogue concerning how we treat people from another culture and how we might get to know them better in the future.
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- Title: Watch Out for Flying Kids
- Author: Cynthia Levinson
- Publisher: Peachtree, 2015
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardcover, 216 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-56145-821-9
- Genre: Nonfiction, Circus
- Grade level: 5 to 8
- Extras: Photographs throughout, Index, Lengthy Author’s Note
Written by J.J. Johnson
This new book is recommended for anyone who eats. Heartfelt and very readable, this is a memoir from a recovering bulimarexic, an eating disorder featuring low weight and purging. She shows how personal issues, especially those with food, can affect everything you do and your relationships with everyone.
At fifteen, Jennifer had gotten very good at hiding her problems from her family and friends, but it became obvious to her that she needed help. So, when she suggested to her parents that she check into the eating disorders unit of a psychiatric hospital, they thought she was looking for attention. Turns out, she really did need help and so did her family. Of course the unit was way worse than she could have imagined, with forced eating, monitored bathroom visits, nasty co-patients, and despicable staff. Jennifer did find the help she needed, though, to set her on the road to a healthy life and a better relationship with her family. Jennifer also learned that, even though others around her also need help, she couldn’t always provide the help they needed.
The subject matter is often complex and for mature students. Sixth graders and up should have no problems with it, though. They can learn a lot about health – both physical and mental – and about interpersonal relations. Despite the page count, the book reads very quickly, as it’s set up as a diary.
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- Title: be*liev*a*rex*ic
- Author: J.J. Johnson
- Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2015
- Reviewer: Sue Poduska
- Format: Hardcover, 464 pages
- Grade Level: 5 Up
- Genre: Memoir, Eating disorders
- ISBN: 978-156145-771-7