Poignant and encouraging cheerleading from the trenches.

Drawing from the life experiences of teens, this collection was crafted by participants in the PATHfinder Club, which has merged with POPS the Club, the organization behind eight previous anthologies.

Created by and for “individuals who have been impacted by incarceration, detention, and deportation,” this anthology provides nourishment and support and increases awareness. The entries are grouped into sections by theme, including “It All Goes by So Fast,” “Emotions in Motion,” “To Your Health,” “We Are Family,” and “Teachers and Grades and Homework—Oh My!” Several writers reflect on the effects of absent parents. Readers also hear the voices of teens with disabilities. Some entries express their writers’ dreams for emotional contentment, love, and physical comfort. In keeping with the title, most of the content is practical counsel: Seek out those who allow you to be true to yourself, maintain good study habits, get involved with clubs, and don’t give up. There’s even advice on mastering public transit. Middle schoolers contributed to “Advice to My Future Self,” expressing their hopes and fears for the future and sharing guidance. Phrases that might seem hackneyed coming from an adult read as authentic when voiced by peers in the rhythms of spoken-word poetry or direct, heart-to-heart prose. The writing is punctuated by the teens’ original paintings, drawings, digital compositions, and photography.

Poignant and encouraging cheerleading from the trenches. (contributor bios) (Anthology. 13-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2024

ISBN: 9781952197024

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Out of the Woods Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023


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


Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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