A window into a uniquely magnificent and terrifying life.

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BEAUTY MARK

A VERSE NOVEL OF MARILYN MONROE

A poetic tribute to the life of Norma Jeane Mortenson, better known as the film star Marilyn Monroe.

Weatherford shows readers how the young Norma Jeane fashioned the construct of Marilyn Monroe out of a desire to be seen, known, and loved. Her adopted Aunt Grace’s vision gave Norma Jeane an escape from poverty and abandonment through the manipulation of her body, and she eventually found the will to live—and even thrive—in front of the camera. Though readers feel Norma Jeane’s pain and desperation, Weatherford also conveys her sense of power: Despite being dyslexic, she acquired an extensive personal library that revealed her search for knowledge. Ultimately, however, Norma Jeane was not able to escape “Marilyn Monroe,” a version of herself that became a prison. This is a meditation on a woman trying desperately to escape the personas constructed for her by her family, the foster-care system, the movie industry, and her fans. In a series of spare and precise first-person poems narrated by Norma Jeane, Weatherford captures her iconic contradictions and, by doing so, reveals traumas, professional successes, and moments of authentic joy. This searing, aching love poem to a widely known but often misunderstood icon will speak even to young readers who may not be familiar with her films.

A window into a uniquely magnificent and terrifying life. (photo credits) (Verse novel. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0629-6

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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