Compelling and accessible for a younger generation energized to build a better world.



Adapted for teens from the 2020 adult bestseller, this timely work urges readers to complicate conversations around American race and class divisions.

“What does racist mean in an era when even extremists won’t admit to it?” asks Wilkerson, who introduces readers to caste, “an artificial construction” not solely based on race or class but “a fixed and embedded ranking of human value.” In America, she writes, there’s a “shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based caste pyramid” persisting through generations. The parallels between caste and race are palpable throughout the book, though, Wilkerson writes, they “are neither synonymous nor mutually exclusive.” Unlike race, which is a mutable social concept, and class, which can shift through luck and achievement, the author makes the case for caste as a permanent fixture which can be traced to the 1619 arrival of enslaved Africans in the Virginia Colony. Prior to defining caste rankings and outlining its eight pillars, Wilkerson draws comparisons between India and the United States, referencing the treatment of Adivasi and Native Americans, Dalits and African Americans. Additionally, the book provides provocative insights into America’s influence on Nazi Germany, whose researchers carefully studied U.S. race laws. Vignettes and memoir intertwine, illuminating the book’s arguments. With easy-to-digest storytelling and elaborate metaphors embedded in extensive research, Wilkerson challenges readers to resist validating any semblance of hierarchy and to refer to history as a pathway for eradicating its stronghold.

Compelling and accessible for a younger generation energized to build a better world. (index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-42794-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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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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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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