An uplifting portrayal of the beauty of diversity and courage in the face of oppression.

A graphic biography of a queer Jewish writer and artist.

Born in France in 1894, a time of intense anti-Jewish sentiment, Lucy Schwob felt different—and not just for physically taking after their Jewish father’s side of the family and having an institutionalized mother. Sent to England for boarding school, Lucy got an education typically reserved for boys. When Lucy met Suzanne Malherbe, the two young people fell in love and began a lifetime of artistic collaboration. In 1914, they published a book under their new names, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. The couple used art to challenge social norms and explore gender presentation and expression. In 1937, they moved to Jersey, hoping for a quieter life, but when German troops occupied the island, they were faced with a choice: cooperate or resist. They used their writing talents to spread subversive messages and stoke discontent among the German soldiers. A powerful representation of gender diversity and queerness in history, this graphic biography serves as a reminder that LGBTQ+ folks have always existed (“Masculine? Feminine? It depends on the situation. Neuter is the only gender that always suits me”) and that as long as there’s been oppression, there has been resistance. Illustrations in black, white, and periwinkle inspired by the artists’ work imbue the story with whimsy and dreaminess and cleverly incorporate photos of them and their art.

An uplifting portrayal of the beauty of diversity and courage in the face of oppression. (timeline, author’s note, bibliography, photo credits) (Graphic biography. 13-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781947440074

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Getty Publications

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023


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


A tribute to young people’s resistance in the face of oppression.

In 1983 South Korea, Kim was learning to navigate university and student political activism.

The daughter of modest restaurant owners, Kim was apolitical—she just wanted to make her parents proud and be worthy of her tuition expenses. Following an administrator’s advice to avoid trouble and pursue extracurriculars, she joined a folk dance team where she met a fellow student who invited her into a banned book club. Kim was fearful at first, but her thirst for knowledge soon won out. As she learned the truth of her country’s oppressive fascist political environment, Kim became closer to the other book club members while the authorities grew increasingly desperate to identify and punish student dissidents. The kinetic manhwa drawing style skillfully captures the personal and political history of this eye-opening memoir. The disturbing elements of political corruption and loss of human rights are lightened by moving depictions of sweet, funny moments between friends as well as deft political maneuvering by Kim herself when she was eventually questioned by authorities. The art and dialogue complement each other as they express the tension that Kim and her friends felt as they tried to balance school, family, and romance with surviving in a dangerous political environment. References to fake news and a divisive government make this particularly timely; the only thing missing is a list for further reading.

A tribute to young people’s resistance in the face of oppression. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-945820-42-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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