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An absorbing read about digital privacy and one man’s fateful choice to disclose government secrets.

The young readers version of the bestselling memoir by a man who revealed the scope of the U.S. government’s spying on its own citizens.

Snowden gained instant fame in 2013 when he released documents to hand-picked journalists that demonstrated the depth of the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional surveillance of ordinary Americans’ phone calls, emails, texts and more. His memoir uncovers the roots of his concerns and traces his journey from eager government intelligence worker to whistleblower. The book is divided into three parts. The first covers Snowden’s growing-up years, including his fascination with computers and the internet, his hacks for getting through school with minimal effort, his first job, a short stint in the Army, meeting his future wife, and eventually obtaining his first high-level security clearance at age 22. Part 2 focuses on his increasing unease as he moved up the intelligence career ladder. Part 3 details how he discovered the massive invasion of ordinary citizens’ privacy, his decision to alert the press, and the sobering aftermath. Snowden tells good stories that illuminate his thinking while also providing intriguing glimpses into the world of surveillance. His prose is crisp and clear, although the afterword written for this version, which focuses on staying digitally safe on the internet, is not as tight as the rest of the book.

An absorbing read about digital privacy and one man’s fateful choice to disclose government secrets. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76791-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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

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From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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