Every Body's Talking by Donna M. Jackson

Every Body's TalkingCindy: Here’s a nonfiction book that targets a new topic and will make an easy sell to teens. Every Body’s Talking: What We Say Without Words (Twenty-First Century Books 2014) has an eye catching cover and an appealing, colorful layout inside with large font and a combination of photographs of teens, cartoon drawings and informative diagrams. There’s the requisite advice on how to read body language…from facial expressions and hand movements to what we do with our feet or how we use our voice or our silence…but there’s more. There are interesting facts presented in boxes (Palo Alto’s city council once considered banning rude body language like eye rolling during political debates) and lots of advice for teens on how to control their body language to better present themselves in job interviews or classroom presentations. The next time Lynn and I give our Best Books presentation you might see us each striking a super hero pose first to ease our nerves and make us more confident!

Lynn: I’m leaning forward as I write this, I’m smiling and if I could see faces, I’d be making eye contact!  This is a very informative and also a very fun book.  Jackson writes with just the right touch to engage teens, a bit breezy and drawing on common experiences.  She clearly respects her audience though and I especially liked the inclusion of the fascinating scientific studies about body language and those findings, making this far more than just anecdotal.  There’s real science here and much that anyone can learn.  Having lived for a short time in Europe, I was especially interested too in the chapter on Multicultural Moves and Global Gestures.  It is surprisingly difficult to shift cultural gestures although it is also quite easy to pick up new ones.  I finally shifted myself to indicating “one” of something with my thumb but I spent a lot of time confusing shopkeepers by saying “one” slice and indicating two by holding up my index finger.  I was surprised to learn, however, that the thumb’s up is also extremely rude in Greece!  Many of the gestures I picked up fall in that rude category so the less said about those the better!

This is a great choice for any school or public library.  There is surprisingly little written for teens on a subject that is not only fascinating but touches on everyone’s life and interactions every single day.  I’m happy to give this one an American thumb’s up.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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