GARY PAULSEN

AUTHOR AND WILDERNESS ADVENTURER

In an above-average entry to an established series and a useful, modestly engaging biography, the author demonstrates that a careful, close reading of the Paulsen oeuvre and the judicious mining of selected biographical details can be shaped into an involving read. Fine (Under the Lemon Moon, 1999) clearly has read most of Paulsen’s autobiographical adult work, notably Eastern Sun Winter Moon (1993), though she assiduously avoids any overt references to alcohol use, sexuality, or violence and skips the scatological details so vividly presented in such juvenile works as Harris and Me (1993). Despite the well-laundered “life,” though, Fine does truly get Paulsen’s essence, and she effectively communicates the immense appeal he holds—especially for teenage boys. She marches the reader smartly through Paulsen’s life to date and makes efficient use of his interviews, speeches, and letters. However, those expecting a unique take on his career or aesthetic will need to look elsewhere. Any insights here are Paulsen’s own. Paulsen’s life experiences and distinctive voice come through loud and clear and both are central to this biography’s readability. Anyone new to Paulsen and his work will find a clearly blazed trail to map future reading, while Paulsen’s fans will experience an acute desire to reach for a favorite book. Libraries that experience heavy requests for author biographies or YA author criticism may want to stock up. Unfortunately, the high price and short discount may make multiples prohibitive. Still, those seeking a single monograph on this popular ALA/YALSA Margaret Edwards Award–winner will find this a useful resource. To be illustrated with black and white photos. (Index, notes, Web sites, bibliography) (Biography. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7660-1146-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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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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