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The Book for Our Times: True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News by Cindy L. Otis

On Monday, you saw that TLT announced that it’s 2021 focus project will be #FactsMatter, a deep dive into nonfiction and information literacy. Earlier this year, I bought this book which seems like the book of our times. We hear a lot about “Fake News”, so this book is timely and so very needed.

A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News

by Cindy L. Otis

Publisher’s Book Description

“If I could pick one book to hand to every teen—and adult—on earth, this is the one. True or False is accessible, thorough, and searingly honest, and we desperately needed it.” —Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

A former CIA analyst unveils the true history of fake news and gives readers tips on how to avoid falling victim to it in this highly designed informative YA nonfiction title.

“Fake news” is a term you’ve probably heard a lot in the last few years, but it’s not a new phenomenon. From the ancient Egyptians to the French Revolution to Jack the Ripper and the founding fathers, fake news has been around as long as human civilization. But that doesn’t mean that we should just give up on the idea of finding the truth.

In True or False, former CIA analyst Cindy Otis will take readers through the history and impact of misinformation over the centuries, sharing stories from the past and insights that readers today can gain from them. Then, she shares lessons learned in over a decade working for the CIA, including actionable tips on how to spot fake news, how to make sense of the information we receive each day, and, perhaps most importantly, how to understand and see past our own information biases, so that we can think critically about important issues and put events happening around us into context.

True or False includes a wealth of photo illustrations, informative inserts, and sidebars containing interesting facts and trivia sure to engage readers in critical thinking and analysis.

Brief Thoughts

This book received Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal and is highly recommended for all YA and High School collections. It was also recommended by several people on Twitter today when I asked about books to beef up a library collection on information and digital literacy. It’s tone, mixture of graphics and text and insight are all greatly valuable and readable.


  1. Emily Cornell says:

    This is an insta-buy! Thank you for sharing.


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