A vivid account that will leave readers feeling there should have been lessons learned.



A narrative nonfiction account of a 1920s trial that gained international attention.

On April 15, 1920, in South Braintree, Massachusetts, the paymaster for a shoe factory and the security guard accompanying him were shot dead in the street. The money they were carrying—the wages of 400 employees—was stolen. Witnesses disagreed on the particulars, but about two weeks later, on a flimsy, speculative pretext, police arrested Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for robbery. They were later charged with murder. The two men had nothing to do with the crime but were in fact anti-capitalist anarchists, part of a growing post–World War I movement to secure workers’ rights and improve the lives of the poor. The government had begun a harsh campaign against these so-called radicals, and Sacco and Vanzetti fit right into the established narrative. The judge at the trial was known for hating anarchists. Not only were the men found guilty, but, despite international protests, the recanting of several witnesses, and a confession from another inmate, they were executed. Florio and Shapiro document the story well, including historic photographs and letters the defendants wrote. They put events into historical context up until the moment of execution but fail to show what, if anything, changed as a result of the deaths of innocent men, making the story feel incomplete.

A vivid account that will leave readers feeling there should have been lessons learned. (author’s note, map, source notes, bibliography, image credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-62193-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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