EPISODES

MY LIFE AS I SEE IT

Crushes, obsessions, friendships, family, Grand Theft Auto, Thanksgiving and Hilary Duff form the topics of just a few of the stories in the memoir of Blaze Ginsberg, high-functioning autistic son of writer Debra Ginsberg. The author repackages the stories from his life into “episodes,” IMDB-like entries complete with cast, plot synopses, quotes, notes, trivia and soundtracks. Instead of organizing his life chronologically, Blaze categorizes it by life events, such as his hilariously lovable crush on Duff from 2004 to 2006, during which he single-handedly purchased every album, saw every film and simultaneously most likely drove his entire network of friends and family crazy over it. Though original, this format isn’t so easy to follow. Many of the vignettes that make up the episodes are choppy and leave too much information to imagination, and even the most sophisticated teen reader will be left with questions. They will, however, come to understand Blaze, as each passage functions as a minimalist gateway into his passions, dreams, fears and desires. (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59643-461-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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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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This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites.

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ART

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Curator, author, and activist Drew shares her journey as an artist and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Drew uses her own story to show how deeply intertwined activism and the arts can be. Her choices in college were largely overshadowed by financial need, but a paid summer internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem became a formative experience that led her to major in art history. The black artists who got her interested in the field were conspicuously absent in the college curriculum, however, as was faculty support, so she turned her frustration into action by starting her own blog to boost the work of black artists. After college, Drew’s work in several arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, only deepened her commitment to making the art world more accessible to people of color and other marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities, and widening the scope of who is welcomed there. Drew narrates deeply personal experiences of frustration, triumph, progress, learning, and sometimes-uncomfortable growth in a conversational tone that draws readers in, showing how her specific lens enabled her to accomplish the work she has done but ultimately inviting readers to add their own contributions, however small, to both art and protest.

This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09518-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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