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 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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


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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This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Curator, author, and activist Drew shares her journey as an artist and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Drew uses her own story to show how deeply intertwined activism and the arts can be. Her choices in college were largely overshadowed by financial need, but a paid summer internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem became a formative experience that led her to major in art history. The black artists who got her interested in the field were conspicuously absent in the college curriculum, however, as was faculty support, so she turned her frustration into action by starting her own blog to boost the work of black artists. After college, Drew’s work in several arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, only deepened her commitment to making the art world more accessible to people of color and other marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities, and widening the scope of who is welcomed there. Drew narrates deeply personal experiences of frustration, triumph, progress, learning, and sometimes-uncomfortable growth in a conversational tone that draws readers in, showing how her specific lens enabled her to accomplish the work she has done but ultimately inviting readers to add their own contributions, however small, to both art and protest.

This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09518-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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