Written by: Kira Vermond
Illustrated by: Clayton Hanmer
For ages: Middle grades (8-12 years)
Topics Covered: Global Community, Trends, Sociology, History, Critical Thinking, Self-Reflection.
This is a really cool book that is part critical-thinking skill development, part comic book, and part history lesson. Explaining in 4 chapters, the reader will learn why and how trends come to be, as well as lasting effects (both positive and negative) that come from brief but skyrocketing popularity of an item, hobby, or food.
This book talks about some innocuous trends like Crocs shoes, or Pokemon Go, as well as deeply nefarious and unconscionably destructive Nazi propaganda found in Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s and beaver pelt hats (which destroyed Indigenous communities in North America due to colonization and war in the search for these animals). Not only is it fascinating to learn about how much trends are driven by advertising agencies and internet data collection, but it’s eye-opening when the reader can take a moment of self-reflection and think back on what trends they have fallen for in the past. Capitalism thrives on mindless and needless consumerism, and a lot of these trends burned brightly and quickly, but made a lot of money for corporations in the process. In the last section of the book are a few pages devoted to doing some good with all of this newfound knowledge that the reader has, and using the power of trends to do good (like donating unused toys) and ensure that the information a person is intaking is accurate (vaccines DO NOT cause autism) and improves the lives of others (especially those with less privilege). Like getting vaccines! Please vaccinate if you’re able to. It is vital that young people develop the critical-thinking skills that will lay the foundation for working against the oppression and marginalization of some groups, as well as mindful and sustainable consumerism.
This book was sent to us by our friends at Owlkids Publishing, but all opinions are our own!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Kira Vermond received her first (friendly) rejection letter from a kids’ magazine when she was 11, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to be a writer.
Today, she’s a busy author and journalist for adults, teens and kids with over 1,500 articles and five books published, including the 2015 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction winning Why We Live Where We Live, and Red Maple nominated The Secret Life of Money: A kid’s guide to cash and Growing Up, Inside and Out, plus a money book for grownups that some readers say changed their lives. So, that’s cool.
When she’s not writing, she’s whistling while she works, singing with the windows wide open and cooking tasty stuff. Oh. And drinking coffee. She likes to do that too.
Kira lives in Guelph, Ontario with her husband, a couple of fabulous kids, a dog named Marbles – and a seriously old guinea pig.
Clayton Hanmer (aka CTON) is an illustrator whose award-winning, energetic comic style has given him a surprisingly broad range of clients from The New York Times to National Geographic Kids. He has illustrated several children’s books including his latest release, Tuffy Vs. Ultra Dog, written by Troy Wilson for Owlkids Books (2019). Clayton’s focus has been on illustration and comic-based projects, but he also dabbles in writing, graphic design, animation, typography and large-scale murals. He lives in Toronto with his super awesome wife, amazing daughter and a weird cat named Graphite.