A vividly written, richly layered portrait of a fascinating woman whose life and work influenced and inspired many.

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE

THE COURAGEOUS LIFE OF THE LEGENDARY NURSE

This complex portrait of the “Lady with the Lamp” offers an insightful look into the remarkable life and work of Florence Nightingale and the times in which she lived.

Nightingale was born into a privileged life to enlightened parents who embraced formal education for women and intellectual curiosity. Her parents were less than forward-thinking about her desire to pursue a nursing career, however. Through this struggle and attention to Nightingale’s relationships with women, Reef reveals how her subject defied the rigid conventions of Victorian society and the expectations of women. Reef is honest about Nightingale’s faults. She was cold and demanding of her underlings, insisting upon total obedience. Conversely, she had boundless compassion and mercy for the suffering. Her ambition and controlling personality led her to campaign to be placed in charge of all nursing services in the Crimea. Nightingale is best known for her work during the Crimean War, when she vastly improved gruesome and lethal conditions, dramatically reducing the mortality rate for soldiers. Her modern methods in nursing became defining standards still used today. This legacy receives generous attention, but it is the other aspects of her life Reef covers that make this a complete, nuanced biography.

A vividly written, richly layered portrait of a fascinating woman whose life and work influenced and inspired many. (photos, source notes, bibliography) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-53580-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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