Gripping reading; necessary for every library serving teens.

READ REVIEW

JANE AGAINST THE WORLD

ROE V. WADE AND THE FIGHT FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

An account of the tumultuous struggle for abortion rights in the United States.

Blumenthal kicks off her narrative with a thrillerworthy scene: the 1972 raid by Chicago police on the eponymous “Jane,” an underground abortion referral service. The book then pulls back to offer an engaging history of developments in reproductive rights that contributed to the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Along the way there are brief biographies of key figures—some as famous (or infamous) as Anthony Comstock and Margaret Sanger, some virtually unknown but no less fascinating—placed within a nuanced context and punctuated by “Pregnant Pause[s]”: occasionally humorous, sometimes infuriating, often poignant sketches detailing the history of biological knowledge, birth control techniques, legal issues, popular opinion, and religious proclamations. A deep dive into the circumstances, personalities, deliberations, and compromises involved in Roe v. Wade (along with the frequently overlooked companion cases) takes up a dozen chapters, followed by a brief consideration of the consequences, backlash, and steady succession of laws and court cases chipping away at the decision. An epilogue brings the discussion up to the appointment of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Blumenthal’s bibliography demonstrates the depth of her research, including online, archival, and primary sources. This riveting book, enhanced by historical photographs, also addresses racial bias, the eugenics movement, and other critical related subjects.

Gripping reading; necessary for every library serving teens. (glossary, timeline, significant Supreme Court cases, bibliography, notes) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-165-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

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DRAGON HOOPS

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.

THEY CALLED US ENEMY

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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