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Ardently, intimately political instead of passively inspirational: will galvanize young activists.

A radical sampling of disabled writers avoids mawkishness and inspiration porn.

This young adult adaptation of a 2020 collection of the same name diverges from the accepted, saccharine portrayals of disabled and chronically ill people who superheroically overcome adversity. Haben Girma’s essay isn’t about how the daughter of Eritrean refugees became the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, it’s about her deep relationship with her guide dog. Jeremy Woody, a White man, shares the petty abuses and deprivation he experienced as an incarcerated, deaf ASL speaker. Lateef McLeod, a Black poet and podcaster who uses an augmentative and alternative communication device, addresses the power and potential of assistive technology. The featured writers are male, female, and nonbinary; Black, Jewish, Asian American, Arab American, White, and multiracial; some self-identify as queer. Many of the essays are deeply personal. The topics the writers explore include disabled community spaces, fighting against institutionalization, and role models with dwarfism or multiple sclerosis. Bipolar disorder and intellectual disabilities share space with facial difference and incontinence. The essayists examine Christianity and Islam, dating, and the freedom to be loud. Some of the authors will be familiar to readers who engage with disability spaces online, such as Keah Brown, an African American woman with cerebral palsy who went viral with her #DisabledAndCute hashtag. A plain language summary and discussion guide are available online. This is a wide-ranging collection presenting diverse and compelling voices.

Ardently, intimately political instead of passively inspirational: will galvanize young activists. (contributor biographies) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-38167-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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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

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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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