A window into life in a refugee camp—portrayed as a place to wait to be rescued.

Profiles of 10 different young people from various ethnic groups who are stuck waiting in a refugee camp in Greece after fleeing Afghanistan and Iran.

The children, ages roughly 5 to 13, find ways to pass the time, some more successfully than others—playing with a bow fashioned from an old bedspring, reading, drawing, and engaging in pretend play. Older kids sometimes get to go to school outside the gated, guarded camp. The afterword by Nayeri, herself a former child refugee from Iran forced to wait for resettlement, stresses the importance of centering our common humanity, calling on governments and readers to act. The striking color photos and brief text sometimes tell different stories: Certainly, there is danger, boredom, and difficulty as emphasized in the text; there is also creativity, laughter, and resilience as shown in the photos. In contrast to more commonly seen narratives about dangerous flights from home or the challenges of settling in a new country, this work highlights the sometimes yearslong waits some refugees have in camps. Nayeri asks readers to extend kindness because refugees will be “ragged and tired and sad” upon arrival in the West; while true for some, this may reinforce discriminatory fears about mental health. The book’s often universalist depiction of refugees is a weakness, but its strength is offering a peek into real refugees’ lives.

A window into life in a refugee camp—portrayed as a place to wait to be rescued. (glossary, author's note) (Nonfiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1362-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

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 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020


From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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