Hot Issues: Cool Choices!
Facing Bullies, Peer Pressure, Popularity, and Put-Downs
by Sandra McLeod Humphrey
No matter the town or school, kids are struggling with the social complexities of their peers. Bullying receives
huge headlines today, and mostly due to the heartbreaking, deadly outcomes. Author and psychologist Sandra McLeod
Humphrey addresses twenty-six real life problems for kids in Hot Issues: Cool Choices!
Each chapter of Hot Issues: Cool Choices! covers different issues, which are written as fictional tales
from a kidís point of view. The short stories cover a myriad of school and social issues, such as the physical
aggression in "Short, Shorter, Shortest!"; peer pressure of drug abuse and inhalants in "Truth or Dare"; cyber
bullying in "Warning: Minefield Ahead!"; suicidal thoughts in "When All Else Fails!"; and a bullyís perspective
in "How Do You Spell B-U-L-L-Y?" At the end of each story, kids can address the problem in-depth with open-ended
questions in "More to Think About" and "Trading Places". This guides kids into thinking about the storyís
consequences, the characterís feelings and the feelings of those kids on opposite sides, while it also helps them
form an opinion about their behavior in real life encounters.
Hot Issues: Cool Choices! can open the dialog between kids, parents, and schools about the all too
often damaging social problems affecting our youth. McLeod Humphrey adds bullying statistics (fifteen to twenty
percent of US students are bullied), website references (bullying and suicide, and Stop Bullying Now), and advice
on developing a future built on acceptance rather than bullying. As a former bullied high school student, Iíve
also seen my son deal with similar bullying in elementary school. Our society cannot chalk up these behavior
problems as a normal childhood phase. As the author points out from her research, some kids never make it out of
adolescence; the pressure and humiliation cause kids to commit suicide. McLeod Humphrey does not glaze over these
important issues, and I think her open approach is refreshing and honest. I highly recommend Hot Issues: Cool
Choices! to ignite conversations and solutions. Donate copies of this title to local schools to work toward
tolerance and acceptance. The solution starts, as the author quotes at the beginning of the book, with The
Golden Rule: "Do to others as you would have them do to you."
Children Non-fiction, ages 10 and up|
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