This valuable compilation shows that Earth’s salvation lies in the diversity of its people.

ONE EARTH

PEOPLE OF COLOR PROTECTING OUR PLANET

Conservation biologist Rao introduces 20 “environmental defenders” who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, inspiring young readers and environmentalists.

When Rao entered the environmental field decades ago, she didn’t encounter many people who looked like her. But, she writes, “my culture and my passion for the earth are linked,” and she shows how that is the case for the defenders she interviewed for this book. Indonesian Muslim urban designer Nana Firman had limited results talking about “sustainability” and “conservation” with communities; when she identified Islamic foundations for stewardship, she found language that connected people to the cause. Oakland native Rue Mapp founded Outdoor Afro to connect African Americans to nature by holding space for the histories of injustice and exclusion Black Americans have experienced in outdoor spaces and using a social justice lens to create safe and welcoming outdoor experiences. These environmental defenders hail from all over the world and vary greatly in ethnicity, culture, age, and religious background. The ways in which they protect the Earth vary too, but their messages echo each other with hope in what can happen when people come together and make small changes that add up. Each short biography, enhanced by attractive color photographs and engaging sidebars, also illustrates how the defenders came to their chosen paths—thought-provoking reading for young people figuring out their own contributions.

This valuable compilation shows that Earth’s salvation lies in the diversity of its people. (glossary, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1886-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

THEY CALLED US ENEMY

A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

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 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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