Monday, April 30, 2012

Friend Me! by Francesca Davis DiPiazza

It's hard to think about getting through the day without Facebook, Twitter, text messages, phone calls, or your favourite website. Many of the sites, devices, and technologies that we use are fairly recent. But the history of social networking goes back a long time. People and communities had their own ways of gathering together, sharing information, and keeping in touch. What does a smart phone have in common with a barn raising? It sounds like the set-up to a bad joke, but they are each a form of social networking. Learn more about the history of communication and networking in this photo-filled book of facts and stories from Lerner Books' Twenty-First Century Books series.

I really like non-fiction books that look at culture and society, especially when they are geared toward young readers. The beginning of the book points out that for many of today's teens and tweens, ideas around communication have been heavily influenced by the computer - whether it is a computer in the house or a computer on someone's phone. Being able to keep in touch with people around the world in an instant is something that not many other generations have experienced. The information is presented in easy-to-follow chapters, and I really liked that in looking at North American history it began with a chapter on Native Americans and their traditions around communication (something that many books overlook). All of the usual suspects are here: telegram, television, phone, computer, morse code. But there are also different modes, like songs, coded messages, Dungeons & Dragons, crowdsourcing, and mail-order catalogs. The layout is clean and clear and uses lots of pictures and images. The text breaks down bigger terms and concepts (comparing banishment to being unfriended on Facebook by all your friends at once, for example) and that means that a lot of information can be explored. This is a solid choice for school, classroom and public libraries.

I read a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Lerner Books.

Find it at Amazon.

Read it with:
When Did George Washington Fight His First Military Battle? by Francesca Davis DiPiazza
From Typewriters to Text Messages: How Communication Has Changed by Jennifer Boothroyd
Same-Sex Marriage by Tricia Andryszewski

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