While self-indulgent at times, readers will appreciate Witton’s frank, nothing-is-off-limits approach.


An informational guide to sexuality from a YouTube vlogger and sex educator that covers a wide array of topics for readers of all genders and sexual identities.

Maintaining an unapologetic, nonjudgmental tone throughout, it expansively deals with topics from sexual identity to sexually transmitted diseases and body image as well as some territory less commonly explored in books on sex for teens, such as porn, polyamory, sexting, and legal considerations. In a chapter dedicated to LGBTQ+ topics, she offers an overview of topics including cis, trans, and nonbinary genders, sexual orientation (including asexuality), coming out, heteronormativity and the privileges that come with it, and being an ally. A chapter on consent talks about alcohol, legal definitions, and more and refreshingly includes information from YouTube activist Rikki Poynter, who is deaf, about consent in the context of deaf-hearing relationships. Other topics covered include virginity, masturbation, porn, body image, sexual pleasure, contraception, sex shaming, and rape and porn myth busters. Anecdotes and testimonials from other sex-positive people help round out this volume. A particularly strong contribution appears in the section on healthy relationships and was penned by author Holly Bourne. The section on bodies includes several cartoon-style “Hannah Diagrams.” Witton’s writing style is not unlike her YouTube persona—simple, candid, accessible, and inclusive.

While self-indulgent at times, readers will appreciate Witton’s frank, nothing-is-off-limits approach. (resources, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6503-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Small but mighty necessary reading.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

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 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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

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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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