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Review: DK Books Non-Fiction for Teens and Tweens

Heads Up!
Heads Up!
DK Publishing

DK Heads Up Book Series

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DK Books announced their intention to fill the non-fiction gap for teens with the launch of several new titles, including:

* Heads Up Psychology (May 2014) – Discover the six basic human emotions – surprise, anger, disgust, fear, happiness and sadness – to develop a better understanding of why people think and feel the way they do. Easy-to-read biographies of the founding fathers of psychology provide information that gives insight into relationships, shows how the mind works and more.

* Do You Know Who You Are? (August 2014) – A guided journal that leads the way to self-analysis and allows readers to evaluate how they relate to others through lighthearted quizzes and more deeply probing questionnaires.

* The Fashion Book (October 2014) – Fashionistas can learn about the historic, sociological, and contemporary aspects of the fashion industry and discover how garments and accessories have influenced, and produced, some of history’s most influential fashion icons.

* Heads Up Philosophy (November 2014) – Contemplate ideas about the core principles of philosophy - knowledge, truth, and the nature and meaning of life – while learning more about the founding fathers of philosophy. Exploring the relationships between science and spirituality as well as political and moral philosophy.

Designed exclusively for the 13-17 market, the teen-friendly, heavily illustrated books aim to expose kids to complex subjects in an easy way.

“While the YA fiction market continues to expand, there's a real void in nonfiction offerings for the teen audience,” said Rachel Kempster, Director of Marketing and Publicity DK US. “We are excited to offer teens something new to read—something that will help them better grasp their relationships (from parents to friends to teachers) and their understanding of the world.” Kempster adds, “Our hope is that the books will open their minds to the pleasures of reading nonfiction and the excitement of learning."

An unquestionably noble goal, these books are destined to be an excellent addition to any teen's library (especially ones with an upcoming report on any of the featured subjects).

But how well do DK's titles serve the gifted population?

An NYC teen entering the 10th grade at a specialized high-school reviewed Heads Up Philosophy by observing, "The language was adequate, making it possible to understand the book at a variety of levels. It's colorful, and it can be read in chunks, like a Listmania. I liked the biographies of historical figures, but I wished there was a lot more detail about everything. They summarized all of human society in one page! In fact, I'd say there was too much summary in general. Everything is simplified and it felt like they were talking down to the reader; patronizing without realizing they were being patronizing. I'm not an idiot. Who doesn't know who Thomas Aquinas is?"

On the other hand, an NYC 5th grader reviewing Heads Up Psychology said, "This book is great for people who like to know random facts. I liked the studies they summarized, like how people are less likely to help someone if they're in a large crowd. I wish there was more biology about how the brain works, and I hope they'll soon publish more books like these, but on subjects like plants, light, rockets, the solar system and sound. Also, it was annoying to read some of the words sideways in the fact boxes (maybe it's a psychological issue I have). I'd say this book was good for ages 8 and up."

Parents of precocious readers know what a challenge it can be to find books that match your child's intellectual level - without upsetting their emotional one, which for for highly-sensitive children can sometime be even below age level.

Though marketed towards teens, these titles turned out to be a perfect match for bright tweens passionate about the headline subject, without fear of them accidentally stumbling upon something inappropriate.

Learn more at: http://us.dk.com/