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



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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Small but mighty necessary reading.


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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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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