WOMEN HEROES OF WORLD WAR II—THE PACIFIC THEATER

15 STORIES OF RESISTANCE, RESCUE, SABOTAGE, AND SURVIVAL

From the Women of Action series

A worthy addition to military collections.

What is the true nature of heroism?

Atwood (Women Heroes of World War II, 2011, etc.) offers a quote from George F. Kennan in an epigraph to this engrossing history of heroic women: “Heroism is endurance for one moment more.” Fifteen biographies of women with roles in the Pacific theater of World War II follow. The women, both white and Asian (non-Japanese), came from a variety of countries and include nurses, spies, missionaries, journalists, and a brutalized sex slave for Japanese soldiers. Many endured inhuman mistreatment at the hands of Japanese military. Although the biographies are brief, they effectively convey the devastating effects of the war and offer graphic information about casualties. An epilogue clearly explains both the international situation in the summer of 1945 and the Japanese military stance that led up to the American decision to use atomic bombs to end the war in the Pacific. Photographs with useful captions and occasional well-placed text boxes offer additional information. Detailed endnotes, a lengthy bibliography, and suggested discussion questions round out the presentation. Only one of the admirable women, Elizabeth MacDonald, who served mostly in Washington, D.C., in the Office of Strategic Services (after beginning the war near Pearl Harbor), seems to fail to fully exemplify Kennan’s definition. Japanese women who demonstrated heroism are notably absent from this Allied-leaning overview.

A worthy addition to military collections. (index, not seen) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61373-168-0

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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

TAKING ON THE PLASTICS CRISIS

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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