Kids with queer interests deserve better.



A brisk stroll down the road of LGBTQ+ history, primarily in the United States and Europe.

Lawson and Knight guide readers through a starry-eyed examination of queer history. The work is divided into 23 four-page chapters. Each begins with a full-page spread of bold artwork and an introductory sentence or two, which are followed by two pages of text discussing the chapter’s theme. Although the book introduces international movements and icons—Frida Kahlo, Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa, prime minister of Iceland Jóhanna Siguðardóttir—the history targets the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The text also stops with President Barack Obama’s term, excluding his successor’s strong anti-transgender and anti-queer policies. Within the text, the facts are presented somewhat breezily; Mead’s book is mentioned as being published “in the late 1920s” instead of noting 1928 as the publication year. The vibrant illustrations are presented without captions or even context, doing little to enhance or support the text. Readers already familiar with queer history may recognize Marlene Dietrich, Venus Xtravaganza, or Grace Jones, but readers new to the topic may be left frustrated. The backmatter includes a timeline, glossary, and spotty index; Venus Xtravaganza, although pictured and mentioned, is not listed, for instance, while Hector Xtravaganza (also mentioned) is.

Kids with queer interests deserve better. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62371-952-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Ocasio-Cortez may be a “trailblazer” who “walks her talk,” but this is addressed to readers who already know that.



An alphabetic double fanfare for the 116th Congress’ youngest elected member.

In a misapplied apparent effort to reach two tiers of future voters, Wilson runs through the alphabet twice, assigning a character trait or, more often, broad issue to each letter—“Democracy” and “Jobs” on up to “Xenophobia” and, finally, “Zeal”—and unpacking it…briefly at first, then later, on a second go-round, in slightly more detail but at the same general reading level. Thus, under A for “Advocate,” readers learn that “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez works to enact laws that will change lives for the better” in her community, and then, in the second alphabet, that she has a progressive platform and a Green New Deal. Unfortunately, the author renders moot her own argument that AOC is a true “Revolutionary” rather than just a “reformer” by describing how she won election to “Congress” by gathering “Grassroots” support, backs at least most of her chosen party’s policies, and places high value on “Teamwork.” Aside from mentions of the Afro-Latinx representative’s Bronx childhood and Jewish forebears, her family and private life remain largely unexplored. Leaving the second alphabet a set of boxed narrative blocks, Quiles illustrates the first with scenes of Ocasio-Cortez dancing, speaking, or hanging out with racially diverse supporters in urban settings.

Ocasio-Cortez may be a “trailblazer” who “walks her talk,” but this is addressed to readers who already know that. (endnotes) (Informational picture book. 10-12, adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-49514-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

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In no particular order and using no set criteria for his selections, veteran sportscaster Berman pays tribute to an arbitrary gallery of baseball stars—all familiar names and, except for the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, retired from play for decades. Repeatedly taking the stance that statistics are just numbers but then reeling off batting averages, home-run totals, wins (for pitchers) and other data as evidence of greatness, he offers career highlights in a folksy narrative surrounded by photos, side comments and baseball-card–style notes in side boxes. Readers had best come to this with some prior knowledge, since he casually drops terms like “slugging percentage,” “dead ball era” and “barnstorming” without explanation and also presents a notably superficial picture of baseball’s history—placing the sport’s “first half-century” almost entirely in the 1900s, for instance, and condescendingly noting that Jackie Robinson’s skill led Branch Rickey to decide that he “was worthy of becoming the first black player to play in the majors.” The awesome feats of Ruth, Mantle, the Gibsons Bob and Josh, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb and the rest are always worth a recap—but this one’s strictly minor league. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4022-3886-4

Page Count: 138

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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