A necessary and empowering anthology.




Familiar voices address issues of harassment, exploitation, and gender equality.

This collection of 25 stories is diverse, compelling, and deeply haunting as YA authors share wise insights and relate real-life horrors. The situations range from verbal harassment to rape, misogyny, and pedophilia. The anthology begins with the harrowing child molestation experienced by Patty Blount at the age of 5. There are personal stories about harassment in the workplace, assault on the playground, and predatory victim grooming in high school. Others muse about sexual orientation and the impact of toxic masculinity on both straight and gay encounters. Many writers, such as Saundra Mitchell and Ellen Hopkins, offer dark, introspective cautionary tales and lessons in empowerment. Mackenzi Lee’s modern take on the biblical tale of Bathsheba is an entertaining, defiant standout. Given the staggering breadth of material, the book is guaranteed to hit a nerve. Readers will applaud the brave honesty and the senses of community, support, and inclusivity that have been the aspirations of the #MeToo movement. These stories hit pretty hard and editor Gurtler acknowledges in her introduction that the experience may be triggering but argues that the dialogue is essential and ultimately healing. Contributors include people who are queer and writers of color.

A necessary and empowering anthology. (resources, about the authors) (Nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-335-92908-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

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The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.

The Dragons, Bishop O’Dowd High School’s basketball team, have a promising lineup of players united by the same goal. Backed by Coach Lou Richie, an alumnus himself, this could be the season the Oakland, California, private Catholic school breaks their record. While Yang (Team Avatar Tales, 2019, etc.), a math teacher and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is not particularly sporty, he is intrigued by the potential of this story and decides to focus his next graphic novel on the team’s ninth bid for the state championship. Yang seamlessly blends a portrait of the Dragons with the international history of basketball while also tying in his own career arc as a graphic novelist as he tries to balance family, teaching, and comics. Some panels directly address the creative process, such as those depicting an interaction between Yang and a Punjabi student regarding the way small visual details cue ethnicity in different ways. This creative combination of memoir and reportage elicits questions of storytelling, memory, and creative liberty as well as addressing issues of equity and race. The full-color illustrations are varied in layout, effectively conveying intense emotion and heart-stopping action on the court. Yang is Chinese American, Richie is black, and there is significant diversity among the team members.

A winner. (notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-079-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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