A celebration of young female writers that would be a great addition to classroom shelves as an inspiring example of honest...

A diverse group of teenage girls from New York City offer glimpses into their lives in this collection of short autobiographical essays interspersed with pieces of advice from leading women authors of today.

As a shy eighth-grader, Diamond Abreu found a sanctuary that released her inhibitions in the world of a comic-book store, showing how passion can open doors and build bridges. Dominican immigrant Alexa Betances muses over a photo of the father, who unexpectedly abandoned her family when she was 3, while Charlene Vasquez claims her autism as her own normal and speaks out against stereotypes. Iemi Hernandez-Kim wisely points out the futility of the metal detectors installed in her school, referencing a student who used a house key as a weapon against a security guard. Jennifer Lee reflects on her mother’s sacrifices, both in leaving Korea and in all she has done for her daughters in America. This volume gives the girls a platform to share some of their most intimate stories. In between essays, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sums up this collection by encouraging young women to embrace the honesty of their stories and refuse to succumb to fears about likability. Elsewhere, Francine Prose speaks to the power of writing to allow us to freely express ourselves.

A celebration of young female writers that would be a great addition to classroom shelves as an inspiring example of honest writing. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-947793-05-7

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Tin House

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018


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


Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story.

This story, an adaptation for young people of the adult memoir The Other Wes Moore (2008), explores the lives of two young African-American men who share the same name and grew up impoverished on the same inner-city streets but wound up taking completely different paths.

Author Moore grew up with a devoted mother and extended family. After receiving poor grades and falling in with a bad crowd, his family pooled their limited finances to send him to Valley Forge Military Academy, where he found positive role models and became a Corps commander and star athlete. After earning an undergraduate degree, Wes attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. When the author read about the conviction of another Wes Moore for armed robbery and killing a police officer, he wanted to find out how two youths growing up at the same time in the same place could take such divergent paths. The author learns that the other Wes never had the extensive family support, the influential mentors or the lucky breaks he enjoyed. Unfortunately, the other Wes Moore is not introduced until over two-thirds of the way through the narrative. The story of the other Wes is heavily truncated and rushed, as is the author's conclusion, in which he argues earnestly and convincingly that young people can overcome the obstacles in their lives when they make the right choices and accept the support of caring adults.

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story. (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74167-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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