VOTES OF CONFIDENCE, 2ND EDITION

A YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO AMERICAN ELECTIONS

Not exactly evenhanded but still a solid and timely foundation.

Updated edition of a frank, left-leaning 2016 guide.

The past four years have brought significant changes to electoral practices and procedures—on local as well as national levels—and there is an acerbic tone to the fresh examples and observations that Fleischer incorporates into his wide-angled overview of how elections work…or are meant to. Building around chapters on registering to vote, casting ballots, and getting involved in the political process as a volunteer or candidate, he offers broad looks at how the U.S. government has been organized and reorganized as well as relevant topics from the development of political parties to how primaries, the Electoral College, the legislative process, and campaign finances have been gamed (mostly by conservatives) through the years. His brave effort to encompass the widely divergent rules of down-ballot elections as well as state and national ones does here and there force him into generalities, but he has plenty of illuminating stories to tell. Moreover, along with frequent sidebar glances at third-party races, the long history of voter suppression, fake news and ways to counter it, and more, he appends refreshed, annotated lists of helpful information sites, both nonpartisan and otherwise. If, as he argues, just showing up is the key to making the electoral process more democratic, this searching study makes an effective spur.

Not exactly evenhanded but still a solid and timely foundation. (source notes, additional resources, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7896-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Small but mighty necessary reading.

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 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

DISCOVERING WES MOORE

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story.

This story, an adaptation for young people of the adult memoir The Other Wes Moore (2008), explores the lives of two young African-American men who share the same name and grew up impoverished on the same inner-city streets but wound up taking completely different paths.

Author Moore grew up with a devoted mother and extended family. After receiving poor grades and falling in with a bad crowd, his family pooled their limited finances to send him to Valley Forge Military Academy, where he found positive role models and became a Corps commander and star athlete. After earning an undergraduate degree, Wes attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. When the author read about the conviction of another Wes Moore for armed robbery and killing a police officer, he wanted to find out how two youths growing up at the same time in the same place could take such divergent paths. The author learns that the other Wes never had the extensive family support, the influential mentors or the lucky breaks he enjoyed. Unfortunately, the other Wes Moore is not introduced until over two-thirds of the way through the narrative. The story of the other Wes is heavily truncated and rushed, as is the author's conclusion, in which he argues earnestly and convincingly that young people can overcome the obstacles in their lives when they make the right choices and accept the support of caring adults.

Though awkward, this adaptation still makes for a hopeful and inspiring story. (Memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-74167-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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