School Library Journal
Hooking readers with a job scenario, these conversational narratives then flow into historical perspectives, adding illustrations of early pioneers. Chapters cover typical career-education content such as what happens at work, what it takes to do the job, and what the future holds. Color-blocked vocabulary is integrated into the text and defined in a glossary. Sidebar information is labeled as “Learning & Innovation Skills,” which often poses critical-thinking questions, or “Life & Career Skills,” which features, for example, a short inspirational biography. This series is more of a cover-to-cover read than the others reviewed here, requiring fact finders to consult the index for information such as salary.
Bottom Line: “Cool Careers: Helping Careers” and “Extreme Careers” are so eye-catching that there is no question about their value as reading motivators at their respective levels. Both integrate facts and vocabulary in a lively writing style with plenty of interesting asides. “Cool Careers: 21st Century Skills Library” is more structured and aligned to educational initiatives for middle grades than “Extreme Careers,” and it is better for report writing, yet it doesn’t sacrifice accessibility. High school collections should consider “Great Careers with a High School Diploma” for its inclusion of everyday occupations such as cable installer and groundskeeper.