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Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know by Shari Graydon, Illustrations by Warren Clark (Annick Press, 2003)

Ages 10 and up

According to Made You Look, a young person sees up to 16,000 pieces of advertising each day. Graydon's task is to help make young people more critically aware of the media that surrounds them. Kids will get a solid grounding in the tricks and strategies advertisers use to hook kids, including the ways they use images and language and how they make use of new kinds of media. It's very up to date, with information on product placement (showing products prominently in movies and TV shows) and other forms of "Guerilla Marketing."

Also included is a kid-language version of ad-industry rules for ads directed at children, as well as contact information for government regulatory agencies where consumers can register complaints. The book encourages activism throughout - in one example, Graydon tells the story of an ad campaign that was cancelled after just four complaints to the company.

Made You Look is fun and readable. The book's format has plenty of hands on "Try this at home" activities, sidebars, and other short bits that makes the book fun to browse even if you don't read the whole text presentation.

Any parent concerned about media awareness will find this book a rich source of dinner table and supermarket conversation. When your kids beg for the products they see on TV, you'll be able to turn the situation into a learning opportunity, encouraging them to think about how the ads got them to want the product so badly and whether those reasons are valid.

The book also makes a great resource for an after-school club or for any teacher who wants to bring the real world into literacy instruction.

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