A powerful read for this time of unprecedented refugee movement across the globe.

A refugee who survived the Second Sudanese Civil War tells her story.

Co-authors Hutton and Deng open with historical and political context for the brutal civil war that wracked Sudan from 1983 to 2005 before recounting Deng’s harrowing tale. This compelling first-person narrative moves swiftly through short and often suspenseful chapters that chronicle Deng’s life from 1988 through 2010, mostly focusing on the horrors she endured between November 1991, when she was 6 and fled a rebel soldiers’ attack on her village, through her August 1992 arrival at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya after an arduous 1,000-mile trek. Deng grew up at the camp, enduring ongoing deprivation and loss but also receiving some education and making deep friendships. At age 16 she resettled in Texas in a situation that brought its own challenges. Woven throughout are themes of unresolved grief (she does not know if her parents are alive), her Christian faith (where is God in all the atrocities she has witnessed?), patriarchy (she must cede to older male relatives’ wishes), and hope (modeled for her by loving adults). Deng is now a mother who has built a life in the U.S., working in human relations in a South Dakota meatpacking plant. This is a gripping account of an extraordinary journey.

A powerful read for this time of unprecedented refugee movement across the globe. (authors’ note, family tree, Deng’s letter to readers) (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-374-38972-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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