Elem./MG – Can You Believe It? How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts

Grant, Joyce. Can You Believe It? How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts. Kids Can Press, 2022. 978-1-525-30322-7. 56 p. $19.99. Grades 4-7.

Students are constantly searching for information online, but not all that information is trustworthy, credible, or even particularly accurate. This book, which deals specifically with “fake news” ideas, attempts to show students what makes up a credible source, teaches about journalism and journalism techniques, and points out the ways in which students can become “investigators” instead of simply believing everything they find online. Concepts like bias, satire, social media advertising, and critical thinking are covered with fun, relevant examples that kids will easily understand, and each page is packed with details and questions that could be used for further discussion. 

THOUGHTS: This is a great resource for teaching students about fake news, with concepts like bias, clickbait, and a myriad of journalism techniques clearly explained. Whimsical illustrations, manageable chunks of text, and numerous side bars and helpful explanations make this book accessible and interesting. Would be a great addition to collections where news literacy and digital citizenship are part of the Reading, English, Library or Technology curriculum.

 070.4 Journalism and News Literacy          Erin Faulkner, Cumberland Valley SD

MG – Fake News

Jackson, Tom. Fake News. Quarto Publishing, 2020. 978-0-711-25034-5. 96 p. $14.75. Grades 5-8.

“Everyone and anyone can have an opinion, but not everyone’s opinion is fully informed.” Learn about censorship, secret agendas, conspiracy theories, and the battle between the media and politicians by reading Fake News. Chapters include the Myths and Meaning, Advertising, Memes, World Wide Web, and Freedom of Speech. This book encourages students to get all the facts before forming an opinion. Each chapter ends with a section of questions the reader can use to help reflect and make sense of what they have read. After reading this book, students will have the knowledge and skills needed to become responsible users of information and be able to make informed opinions about hot topics.

THOUGHTS: An important book for any person wishing to be a more critical thinker. The information presented is relevant to today’s current events and the book will be a valuable addition to any middle school or high school library collection. This book and others can be displayed together to make a compelling collection.

070.4 Media Literacy          Jaynie Korzi, South Middleton SD

YA – In Focus (Series Nonfiction)

In Focus. BrightPoint Press, 2020. $31.05 ea. $155.25 set of 5. 80 p. Grades 7-12.

Barton, Jen. School Shootings. 978-1-68282-721-5.
Cornell, Kari A. Fake News. 978-1-68282-715-4.
Erikson, Marty. The #MeToo Movement.  978-1-68282-717-8.
—. Refugees. 978-1-68282-719-2.
—. Transgender Rights. 978-1-68282-723-9.

The publisher declares this imprint as young adult nonfiction for struggling and ELL readers. The packaging works for young adults, who will find the physical packaging to visually blend with other on-level resources and may need to be encouraged to use these resources (if they have come to believe they cannot tackle typical young adult nonfiction).  Examples shared in the books cover current issues from worldwide perspectives. The monotony of the writing (subject-verb-complement) to suit the 4th grade reading level stunts the text and at times even deadens or disjoints the issue. For example, “Some colonists wanted to overthrow British rule. They wanted to be independent. This led to the Revolutionary War. Some colonists wrote exaggerated stories. These stories spread rumors about the government. John and Samuel Adams were cousins. They lived in Massachusetts. They wrote anti-government stories” (20). The most helpful chapters come at the end of the books, where tips to see through fake news, or how to support the #MeToo Movement, are shared.  Additional resources are few but useful.

THOUGHTS: Useful where there is a definite need for hi-lo nonfiction for young adults. (Titles reviewed were: Fake News and The #MeToo Movement.)

300s: Social Issues                Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD