A powerful selection of 25 poems by American women ranges from Anne Bradstreet to Naomi Shihab Nye. One of the strengths of this collection is its time line, from 1678 to this very year; another is the energy that flows from the choice of poems; a third is that even the oldest of these still rings sharp and true. Young readers of any age and gender will be taken by Bradstreet’s “The Author to Her Book,” which begins “Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain” and goes off from there, likening her publication to a recalcitrant child. Seeing all the verses of Julia Ward Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” set as poetry enables one to read it freshly; and all the verses that come after “Over the river, and through the wood” are quite charming in a delicious old-fashioned way. Sylvia Plath as a young mother, Lucille Clifton’s love song to her hips, and Nikki Giovanni’s giggling girls segue into Adrienne Rich’s paean to dream-bears (ideas? nightmares? uncloseted desires?) is the verso of Julia Alvarez’s lying awake, thinking of writing, to “the lonesome sound / of their sweet breathing as my sisters slept.” Alcorn’s bright, occasionally surreal casein paintings clearly use the poems as jumping-off places, sometimes they go to a slightly different place than the poetry does. There’s a long introduction by the editor and half-page biographies of each poet. (author, illustrator notes) (Poetry. 10+)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8109-4240-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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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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The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.

The Dragons, Bishop O’Dowd High School’s basketball team, have a promising lineup of players united by the same goal. Backed by Coach Lou Richie, an alumnus himself, this could be the season the Oakland, California, private Catholic school breaks their record. While Yang (Team Avatar Tales, 2019, etc.), a math teacher and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is not particularly sporty, he is intrigued by the potential of this story and decides to focus his next graphic novel on the team’s ninth bid for the state championship. Yang seamlessly blends a portrait of the Dragons with the international history of basketball while also tying in his own career arc as a graphic novelist as he tries to balance family, teaching, and comics. Some panels directly address the creative process, such as those depicting an interaction between Yang and a Punjabi student regarding the way small visual details cue ethnicity in different ways. This creative combination of memoir and reportage elicits questions of storytelling, memory, and creative liberty as well as addressing issues of equity and race. The full-color illustrations are varied in layout, effectively conveying intense emotion and heart-stopping action on the court. Yang is Chinese American, Richie is black, and there is significant diversity among the team members.

A winner. (notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-079-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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