Body Drama
Nancy Amanda Redd
ISBN 978-1-592-403-26-4
Publisher, Copyright date
Grade 6 and up
Genre Non-Fiction/Body Issues

Real girls, real questions – what is up with your body?

Summary:

Nancy Redd explores common questions about girls’ bodies in an honest and empathetic manner (she’s been there!). Covering the female body from top to bottom (dandruff to foot fungus) and everything in between (inverted nipples, bacne, labia shape, overall body image, tanning), Redd tastefully explains that there are problems that can develop with one’s body. Many of these issues are easily remedied, and if not, you are not alone.

Critique:

This is a fun and informative book about the female body. Redd’s tone is excellent, she lets the reader know that they are not unique in their problems by providing photos and stories from her own adolescence. Definitions and illustrative photos (rather than drawings), along with a cast of teen girls of varying sizes and ethnicities, are key to the importance of this book.

Curriculum Ties:

Body Drama could be successfully integrated into a sex education unit. When I was in high school I took a “Social Living” type of class, where we examined personal and societal issues, this would be a great read in a similar unit or class.

Controversy:

Nudity, including photos of breasts, butts, and vulvas. Discussion of STIs. Discussion of Birth Control.

Although many might find the nudity objectionable, it really shows the variations in the female form. There really is no other way to get the point across that your body is natural, normal, and beautiful. Girls will find themselves in the photos Redd provides. These are not photos sexualizing or even glamorizing younger girls, additionally, all of the girls pictured are over the age of eighteen. Refer challengers to reviews.

The inclusion of information on birth control may be objectionable to those who advocate an abstinence only program. However, Redd is not advocating pre-marital sex or selling The Pill.

Selection Rationale:

A great contribution to the body issues shelf due to the inclusion of real girl and a frank answer to practically any question one could have about their body and their body issues.

“I believe BODY DRAMA is a revolutionary stride forward for females everywhere; I dare any girl to take a peek inside and not keep on reading . . .for hours.” – YABooksCentral.com

ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2009

Quick Pick for Detainees, 2009 – School Library Journal

Booktalking:

What are the problems that Redd addresses in this book?

About the Author:

Nancy Redd is a Harvard graduate and Miss America swimsuit competition winner. She is a wellness author for many publications including FITNESS and AOL.

Additional information:

Nancy Redd’s and the Body Drama website: http://www.nancyredd.com

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How I Live Now
Meg Rosoff
ISBN 0-553-37-605-5
Random House, 2004
Grades 9 to 12
Science Fiction/Survival/Post-Apocalyptic

Sent to her cousin’s country home an ocean away, Daisy quickly learns about love, loss, and survival when war breaks out.

Summary:

Daisy is sent to her cousin’s in the English countryside. While there, England is attacked and Daisy is stranded, unable to get back to her native New York or contact her parents. Her aunt is lost to them as they become more and more isolated. But the children are happy. In this fleeting idyll, Daisy begins to fall for a younger cousin, Edmond, and they embark on a secret romance. Their happiness does not last, however, when the war comes literally to their doorstep. They children are separated and shipped off when their house is taken over for army operations. Daisy is sent off with her cousin Piper, nine. She is bent on finding Edmond and her other cousins, Isaac and Osberrt, from the first. When gunfire sounds the girls seize the opportunity to find their family. Arriving at the house where the others are supposed to be, they find only death and destruction. Although they are starving and exhausted Piper and Daisy make their way back to Piper’s house. The girls continue with their struggle to stay alive and the knowledge that they have had no news from or of Edmond or the other boys. Out of the blue the phone rings and on it is a voice Daisy recognizes. Daisy is sent back to New York, where she lives for the next six years, waiting for the war to end. Daisy receives a letter from Piper when the war finally ends and is one of the first people let back into England. The family is reunited but all is not as it was. Everyone is older, and Edmond seems permanently damaged from the trauma of the war and the shock of losing Daisy. But this is Daisy’s home, her family. Despite the hardships, the brokenness, the silence, these are the people Daisy lives and how she lives now.

Critical Evaluation:

This is a heartbreaking story about struggle, survival, love, and finally, acceptance. I enjoyed every moment of this book. Rosoff created characters that are mysterious and, at times, supernatural while still remaining real. Daisy’s voice is perfect.

Curriculum Ties:

Integrate into a unit on war for a history class.

Challenge Issues:

Teen sexuality, incest.

These elements really lend to the tone of the story and show how Daisy and Edmond are growing up too quickly. Ask challengers to read the entire book and see if their opinions change. Refer challengers to reviews and awards won by How I Live Now.

Selection Rationale:

How I Live Now is both highly touted and one I was very interested in reading. It definitely lived up to the rave reviews, which is why it is included here. Daisy’s personal development makes this an important read.

“This riveting first novel paints a frighteningly realistic picture of a world war breaking out in the 21st century.” – Publishers Weekly

Michael L. Printz Award Winner, 2005

Booktalking:

Use a passage where Daisy discusses how her approach to eating has changed.

About the Author:

Meg Rosoff is an American who has resided in London since 1989, she worked in advertising for years. How I Live Now was her first novel. Rosoff followed the book with Just in Case (2006) and What I Was (2007). Her next novel, The Bride’s Farewell is planned for release in 2009