Teen Lives Around the World: A Global Encyclopedia

ABC-CLIO. 2019. 715p. ed. by ed. by Karen Wells. ISBN 9781440852442. $204. REF
Characterizing teens as the group with the world’s largest population and the least amount of political and economic power, Wells (human geography, Univ. of London) sets out to understand the variety of adolescent life and the different global and local forces shaping it in 53 countries from Australia to Zimbabwe. Her primary focus is young adults most often on the margins of mainstream media, especially ethnic and religious minorities in the United States, the UK, Canada, and France. Each country review begins with a brief introduction followed by sections on schooling and education, extracurricular activities, family and social relations, religious and cultural rites of passage, rights and legal status, inequalities, and issues today. Profiles are written by authors who hail from the nations in question, lending credibility to the entries. Besides the outstanding content, what stands out are the lengthy resources of further reading in each chapter that will significantly assist report writers and researchers in need of more information on the subject. On one hand, the book expertly captures how local histories, geographies, and demographics mold the lives of young people. On the other, it seamlessly demonstrates the commonality of global teenage interests, physical development, and social identities despite huge variations in culture, economics, politics, and societies.
VERDICT Balanced and highly representative of contemporary teen life, this is an excellent introduction for anyone who wants to compare and contrast the lifestyles and interests of modern teens. It will be especially valuable to high school and undergraduate students.

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