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

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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 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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