This spiritual leader–as-superhero take is a middle-of-the-road retelling of the inception of the Middle Way.

BUDDHA

AN ENLIGHTENED LIFE

From the Campfire Heroes series

In the city of Kapilavastu, seat of power for the Shakya clan, the queen has a dream that presages the birth of her child, destined to be a great holy man or a great king.

When the baby is born (and the queen dies), his father, Suddhodana, decides to shield his son from the negative forces of the world. Prince Siddhartha sees no sickness, aged infirmity, or death until near the birth of his own son. When he does see the suffering of his people, the prince renounces his crown, life of luxury, and his newborn son; he sets out to be a bhikshu (a monk) to try to find a solution to suffering. He’s tempted by the demon Mara and works through the dharma of several teachers before reaching enlightenment and devising a dharma of his own: that of the Middle Way, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path. Then he takes his teachings to the world. Moore retells the life of Siddhartha from birth to death fairly straightforwardly, and the tale is adequately illustrated in graphic panels by Indian artist Nagulakonda, though his ancient India is largely populated by muscly, pale-skinned guys. Previous incarnations of the Buddha alluded to in the prelude are not explained, and the retelling as a whole is not particularly detailed, nor are there any historical notes.

This spiritual leader–as-superhero take is a middle-of-the-road retelling of the inception of the Middle Way. (Graphic biography. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-93-81182-29-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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