An important perspective on the atomic bombings, a controversial decision that continues to provoke passionate debate.

SACHIKO

A NAGASAKI BOMB SURVIVOR'S STORY

Books about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for young people are plentiful, but very few focus on the hibakusha, survivors of the bombings, and this important biography notably fills that gap.

Sachiko Yasui was 6 when an atomic bomb exploded half a mile from her home in Nagasaki. After briefly describing the impact of the war on Sachiko’s life, Stelson focuses on the immediate aftermath and the years that followed, culminating in 1995, the 50th anniversary of the bombing, when Sachiko began sharing her experiences publicly. The narrative effectively conveys the long-lasting effects of the bombings, including such radiation-related maladies as leukemia and thyroid cancer. Stelson acknowledges that the “necessity” of the atomic bombing to end the war with Japan is debatable. Although Stelson interviewed Sachiko extensively, direct quotes, which would add significant impact to the narrative, are not used, and oddly absent is any sense of Sachiko’s feelings about the bombing. Hibakusha typically speak of the atomic bombings as an important lesson to the world and display a sense of goodwill and understanding rather than animosity or bitterness. There is also no discussion about why the United States bombed Nagasaki so soon after Hiroshima, giving the Japanese so little time to assess and respond to the first attack.

An important perspective on the atomic bombings, a controversial decision that continues to provoke passionate debate. (photo, maps, glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-8903-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.

CONTINUUM

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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