THE BOOK THAT MADE ME

A COLLECTION OF 32 PERSONAL STORIES

Familiar children’s and teen authors reminisce about the books that set them on their paths toward becoming writers.

For Simmone Howell, books were a road map for how to find romance. For Benjamin Law, they were the assurance that humor is buried in even the most tragic situations. For Brigid Lowry, stories were an escape from her chaotic and sometimes-tragic life. Whether inspired by classics like Dr. Seuss, Tolkien, or Dahl or paperback favorites penned by Francine Pascal or V.C. Andrews, authors talk candidly about their love of stories and how they changed their lives. Young would-be authors, ardent bibliophiles, and fans of autobiographies will enjoy the intimate look at the many paths that lead to writing as well as the many ways stories affect readers. While the list of authors leans heavily toward Australians and New Zealanders (editor Ridge is Australian), creators such as Shaun Tan and Markus Zusak are known worldwide. Pencil drawings by Tan as well as photographs of the authors when they were young are visually engaging. Short biographies are included, giving further background on each author. Somewhat limited in its appeal, this will likely be a favorite for those wanting a glimpse into the secret world of writers as well as a handy resource for book reports.

Candid and inspirational. (Nonfiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9549-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

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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A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys.

THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE (ADAPTED FOR YOUNG ADULTS)

The acclaimed author of Between the World and Me (2015) reflects on the family and community that shaped him in this adaptation of his 2008 adult memoir of the same name.

Growing up in Baltimore in the ’80s, Coates was a dreamer, all “cupcakes and comic books at the core.” He was also heavily influenced by “the New York noise” of mid-to-late-1980s hip-hop. Not surprisingly then, his prose takes on an infectious hip-hop poetic–meets–medieval folklore aesthetic, as in this description of his neighborhood’s crew: “Walbrook Junction ran everything, until they met North and Pulaski, who, craven and honorless, would punk you right in front of your girl.” But it is Coates’ father—a former Black Panther and Afrocentric publisher—who looms largest in his journey to manhood. In a community where their peers were fatherless, Coates and his six siblings viewed their father as flawed but with the “aura of a prophet.” He understood how Black boys could get caught in the “crosshairs of the world” and was determined to save his. Coates revisits his relationships with his father, his swaggering older brother, and his peers. The result will draw in young adult readers while retaining all of the heart of the original.

A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys. (maps, family tree) (Memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-03-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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