________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 38. . . .June 9, 2017

cover

Human Rights & Liberty. (Our Values).

Charlie Ogden. St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2017. 24 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (List RLB), $18.36 (School RLB). ISBN 978-0-7787-3368-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3267-9 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-1898-1 (html).

Subject Headings:
Human rights-Juvenile literature.
Liberty-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4


cover

Equality & Diversity. (Our Values).

Charlie Ogden.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2017.
24 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (List RLB), $18.36 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3348-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3265-5 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-1896-7 (html).

Subject Headings:
Equality-Juvenile literature.
Cultural pluralism-Juvenile literature.
Multiculturalism-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4



cover

Identity and Gender. (Our Values).

Charlie Ogden.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2017.
24 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (List RLB), $18.36 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3369-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3268-6 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-1899-8 (html).

Subject Headings:
Identity (Psychology)-Juvenile literature.
Gender identity-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4



cover

Government & Democracy. (Our Values).

Charlie Ogden.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2017.
24 pp., pbk., hc. & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (List RLB), $18.36 (School RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3349-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3266-2 (RLB), ISBN 978-1-4271-1897-4 (html).

Subject Headings:
Political science-Juvenile literature.
Democracy-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4

   

excerpt:

Philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote about what life might be like for people without a government. He said that if there was no government, people would be more likely to commit crimes, such as harming or stealing from others, because there would be no laws or police officers to stop them. Governments help to provide protection and safety to the people that they govern…(From Government and Democracy.)

 

This snippet from one of the volumes in the “Our Values” series by Crabtree is representative of the entire series – simplistically and poorly written, badly edited, with incomplete and unclear information. It should not be purchased for classroom or library collection nor should a teacher rely on the series to prepare or deliver a unit on values, rights or institutions.

     This snippet from one of the volumes in the “Our Values” series by Crabtree is representative of the entire series – simplistically and poorly written, badly edited, with incomplete and unclear information. It should not be purchased for classroom or library collection nor should a teacher rely on the series to prepare or deliver a unit on values, rights or institutions.

     Using the excerpt as an example, note that the text does not explain who Thomas Hobbes is. Below the text on the page is a black and white drawing of a man labelled as Hobbes, looking as if he may have lived in the time of Shakespeare. But there is no information about Hobbes’s life, when or where he lived or why he is considered important as a philosopher. Why would children reading this book understand that Hobbes, who appears to have lived a few hundred years ago, matters?

     In typing the text for this review, a squiggly line appeared under the word “was” in the second sentence. A quick Google search of the correct usage informs that a verb becomes subjunctive when it expresses a condition, as it does in that sentence. Therefore, the verb “were” is to be used. The sentence should read, “He said that if there were no government…” “people would be more likely to commit crimes, such as harming or stealing from others..” People would be harming? People would be harming from others? This and other examples of author Charlie Ogden’s prose are imprecise, unclear. Such writing establishes a poor model for children to mimic as they try to express themselves in words.

     Other examples of why this series is not worth purchasing:

     -In 1991, a civil war broke out in Somalia and the Somali government was removed from power by some of the Somali public. (From Government & Democracy) Some people? Who? What did they stand for? Who stood for the people – the government of “some people?” These questions are not addressed.

     -Human Rights and Liberty includes a poorly designed chapter called “What is Liberty”. A paragraph states: During the first few years of every person’s life, they no not have the right to liberty, even though they have many other rights. Children do not usually have the right to choose where they live or what they eat… This statement is above a large picture of an adult’s hands shackled by handcuffs and the caption: “Today, over 10 million people around the world are in prison. Over 2 million of these prisoners are in the United States, making it the country with the highest number of prisoners in the world.” The topics are only marginally related and should have been dealt with on separate pages. A child reading the book could not be faulted for wondering about the connection between children’s rights and prison.

     -On page 11 of the same book, Ogden writes: “Human rights are considered natural rights. These are rights that are unalienable, or cannot be taken away by governments.” If that is the case, then why do governments routinely deny people and groups of rights? Why do human rights organizations exist? Why was the United Nations founded?

     -To make a child researcher even more confused, this page includes two pictures of South Sudan and DR Congo. The caption states that these countries make it difficult for organizations to protect human rights there. There is no explanation as to which rights are denied, nor why or how the governments make life difficult for human rights organizations. Crabtree, which has a penchant for bolding unimportant words that are defined in a glossary at the back of the book, labels one of the pictures “DR Congo”, without indicating, in the caption, the country’s abbreviated name. Furthermore, these pictures, which each have what appear to be family groups, (one standing and one sitting) are indistinguishable from one another. They show nothing distinct about either country.

     -On page 13 of the same book, Ogden writes: Human rights … prevent governments from stopping people from having children, not giving people a fair trial in court, and using people as slaves, among other things. Below is a picture of a couple, (perhaps coincidentally Asian) with one child. Has neither Ogden nor Crabtree heard of the one-child policy in China that stopped people from having the number of children they wanted? Have they not heard what happened to the millions of girls who were born to families obsessed with having a coveted male child? Has neither Ogden nor Crabtree read that slavery still exists in parts of the world, that human trafficking is a form of slavery?

     -In Equal Rights & Diversity, Nelson Mandela is pictured on page 14. The learner is told that he spent 27 years in jail. Which years, since he was elected to the post of President of South Africa in 1994?

     -On page 15 of Equality and Diversity, a black and white picture of a boy at a water fountain marked “coloured” illustrates the cruelty of segregation in the US, stating: “Though slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, racial laws in the country did not end. The Jim Crow laws were enforced from 1876 to 1965.” What is a Jim Crow law? The words are not bolded nor is the name explained.

     -In the chapter on Religious Discrimination on pages 18 and 19, a caption relating a stereotype about Jews fails to mention the consequences of that stereotype. Isn’t the Holocaust worth mentioning as a grievous result of stereotyping and discrimination? Other gross violations have also occurred in recent history but are not listed.

     There is not enough redeeming content or capable writing to justify making this series, each volume of which contains 32 pages with colour photographs, a table of contents, a glossary and index, part of any school collection.

Not Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - June 9, 2017
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive