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The Book Blogger Awards 2017


Surviving Hostage Situations

Surviving Hostage Situations coverSurviving Hostage Situations
Spear & Moak

Submitter: Given the cover photo, I was surprised that it wasn’t older. You can read this book to learn how to attack your kidnapper, escape safely from captivity, deal with a hijacker on board an airplane, build your own safe room (hermetically sealed to prevent chemical attacks, don’t you know?), and more!

Favorite artwork: — the eyeball gouging technique; selecting a hiding place (“Look how much fun we’re having kids!”); the Ninja-like rescue attempt; and the Japanese Red Army skyjacking (what on earth is the female passenger on the right wearing — go go boots and a bikini top? I don’t even know where to begin on the cover photo as it’s hilarious on so many levels, and I certainly don’t think that was the authors’ intention. At the end, the authors have thoughtfully included several appendices, including one titled “A fill-in-the-blanks family contingency plan for hostage situations.” Just what every American family needs.

I honestly can’t understand why anyone would have purchased this for a public library.  (Did we sit around 25 years ago in a constant state of paranoia, worrying about being kidnapped?)  I simply can’t imagine a patron checking this out and taking it home to review with the kids.  Leafing through this book reminded me of the Cold War era when school children were taught how to hide under their desks in the event of a nuclear attack and every school had a fallout shelter.

Holly: I can see teachers checking this out as part of a lesson, but not in the last 15 years. All of the real-life hostage situations that have happened since 1989 in the world news have made some of the examples in this book obsolete. Getting into an airplane cockpit, for example, is much more difficult now. The idea for the book is ok for public libraries, but this one is too old (and, yes, a bit over-dramatic in delivery).

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Gender Specific Survival!

Survive Anything cover

How to Survive Anything: Girls Only
Stride, Geremia, and Jones

How to Survive Anything: Boys Only
Oliver and Ecob

Submitter: I came across these two gems in the non-fiction section. According to the covers, they should be mirror images of each other, right? Both girls and boys doing awesome things. Maybe some school survival stuff. Maybe some non-school-related survival stuff. But the contents of the book were quite a different story.

According to these books, here are things boys can survive:
-a shark attack
-a plane crash
-an earthquake
-whitewater rapids
-a swarm of bees

And here are things girls can survive:
-a bff fight
-a fashion disaster
-truth or dare

To be fair, both books have “how to survive a zombie attack.” But what is the point of these matching books? That girls shouldn’t (or couldn’t) know how to survive disaster situations? That boys don’t have to know how to pass a test? This baffles me.

Oh, an addendum: upon closer inspection, in the zombie survival chapter, the boys’ book suggests hitting the zombies with baseball bats, while the girls’ book encourages running away. Ugh.

Holly: Kids in the “cooties” stage (who hate all things about the other gender) go for girls only/boys only kinds of things. I am surprised, in 2012, that this is so blatantly sexist, though. What a missed opportunity, Scholastic. I do like the comic book layout, though, which is appealing to kids.

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