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An empathetic handbook that will support a broad range of readers.

This illustrated guide with a strong emphasis on joy and self-love offers readers a “queer teen survival kit.”

Through seven distinct sections—“Identity,” “Helpful Habits,” “Confidence,” “Relationships,” “School,” “Our Community,” and “Success & Future”—Rosswood and Anders present information on a wide variety of topics. The authors open by describing their own genders and sexual identities and offering some personal information about their lives. They also make others’ life stories an integral part of the book’s content: Portions of the text consist of speech bubbles containing brief reflections by queer teens from around the U.S. who represent diversity in sexuality, gender identity, race, religion, and other factors. Teens can go through the work cover to cover or dip into it according to their needs and interests. Each section is formatted similarly, using layouts that resemble a scrapbook or bulletin board. Many of the text-heavy pages feature solid black backgrounds with text boxes in bright, rainbow-colored hues and (mostly) black or white text; some may find the design visually exhausting and difficult to read. The density of information offered here is better suited to browsing than sustained reading; it reflects a well-meaning and important desire to provide readers with a wealth of options, information, and stories in a compact package.

An empathetic handbook that will support a broad range of readers. (resources) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9781684814800

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Mango

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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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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