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

THE WAITING PLACE

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. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

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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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