Another Review at MyShelf.Com

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."

The Book

Prometheus Books
November 20,2007
Children Non-fiction, ages 10 and up
More at

The Reviewer

Jennifer Akers
Reviewed 2008
© 2008