A flawed, facile work that too often conflates ISIS and Islam.

THE WAR ON ISIS

The cover, engulfed in flames, visually prepares the reader for an inflammatory presentation on ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

Plentiful color photos of Islamic militants, tear-gassed protestors, de rigueur black-clad women, radicalized youth, civilian casualties, and the NYPD presence at the Thanksgiving parade push the right buttons in creating a sense of fear and alarmism. The author, a former journalist (but not an area specialist), bears out his assertion that ISIS is “a threat to global security” through documentation of terrorist attacks on several continents. Although the subject matter is deadly serious, the accessible writing style leads to some oversimplifications that may be misleading, as in his citing of a Tel Aviv University scholar who writes that “the Prophet Muhammad tolerated slavery,” a rather incomplete and malevolent claim considering that the practice of slavery was widespread in the ancient world, accepted at the time also by Christianity and Judaism. Co-authorship with a specialist scholar might have fine-tuned these points and improved the credibility of the sources; there’s an overreliance on social media, popular magazines, and some obviously biased books. Save your money; better (and more credible) works are available. For nonfiction about Islam, look for Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash (2017), and for fiction showing the impact of ISIS in Syria, read A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi (2018).

A flawed, facile work that too often conflates ISIS and Islam.   (source notes, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68282-477-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: ReferencePoint Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2018

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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites.

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ART

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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