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Stirring and thought-provoking, this one will set many young people on their own paths to activism.

An adaptation of activist Brown’s New York Times bestselling memoir.

As an elementary schooler, Brown became accustomed to strange looks from White teachers during roll call—surely a Black girl couldn’t be called Austin? Her parents chose to give her the name because the assumption that someone named Austin would be a White man might well land her a job interview. It’s just one of the many examples she mulls of how gender and race have impacted her life. After her parents’ divorce, Brown split her time between predominantly White Toledo and, during the summer, Cleveland, where for the first time she was around many other Black people. Brown also considers the Black church’s powerful influence on her regular “small” acts of “claiming my own space” and voice. In high school, Brown and her classmates recognized that the predominantly White Glee Club received far more funding and support than the mostly Black Gospel Choir—which spurred students from both groups to approach the administration. It’s clear that action combined with education was instructive to the author’s self-determination, and she became increasingly confident in speaking up as she learned about Black American history. The book shines brightest when Brown encourages readers toward actionable steps such as finding community. Her thoughtful, buoyant writing will invite readers to follow her worthy example.

Stirring and thought-provoking, this one will set many young people on their own paths to activism. (Memoir. 11-15)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 9780593240182

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Convergent/Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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Born in 1880 in a tiny backwater in Alabama, Helen Keller lived a life familiar to many from the play and movie The Miracle Worker, as well as countless biographies. There’s no denying the drama in the story of the deaf and blind child for whom the world of language became possible through a dedicated and fanatically stubborn teacher, Annie Sullivan. But Helen’s life after that is even more remarkable: she went to high school and then to Radcliffe; she was a radical political thinker and a member of the Wobblies; she supported herself by lecture tours and vaudeville excursions as well as through the kindness of many. Dash (The Longitude Prize, p. 1483) does a clear-sighted and absorbing job of examining Annie’s prickly personality and the tender family that she, Helen, and Annie’s husband John Macy formed. She touches on the family pressures that conspired to keep Helen from her own pursuit of love and marriage; she makes vivid not only Helen’s brilliant and vibrant intelligence and personality, but the support of many people who loved her, cared for her, and served her. She also does not shrink from the describing the social and class divisions that kept some from crediting Annie Sullivan and others intent on making Helen into a puppet and no more. Riveting reading for students in need of inspiration, or who’re overcoming disability or studying changing expectations for women. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-590-90715-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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As in their previous collaborations (Colors of Freedom, Voices of Rape, not reviewed), Bode and Mack portray an issue through the voices of children and adults affected by it. Bode (recently deceased) interviewed preteens, their parents, and adult experts, and organized their responses into parts "For Girls and Boys" and "For Parents." In sections with titles like "Public Recognition" or "What's in Your Heart," her text, addressed directly to the reader, synthesizes many of the responses in a way that should comfort and challenge young and adult readers. At least half of the book is comprised of responses she gathered from her survey, some of which are illustrated in strips by Mack. The result is an engagingly designed book, with questions and topics in bold type so that readers can browse for the recognition they may be looking for. They will need to browse, as there is no index, and young readers will certainly be tempted by the "For Parents" section, and vice versa. A bibliography (with two Spanish titles) and list of Web resources (with mostly live links) will help them seek out more information. They may well have other questions—especially having to do with parents' sexuality—which they don't find answered here, but this is a fine and encouraging place to start. (print and on-line resources) (Non-fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-81945-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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