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A nuanced representation of being Asian and transnational in the contemporary U.S.

A Chinese American woman from Wuhan examines her multifaceted identity.

This autobiographical account opens in San Francisco in January 2020. Responding to xenophobic and racist attitudes brewing among sectors of American society as the Covid-19 virus spreads, the narrator recalls the Wuhan she knew as 3-year-old Yuyang, “with no internet and too much energy.” Comical sketches illustrate romps through rural landscapes with cousins and visits with her urban-dwelling grandparents, who nourished her with stories and food, before she is launched into the “strange, new world” of Texas. Yuyang celebrates her symbolic arrival as an American when her mother renames her Laura after the then–first lady. The narrative overlays immigrant community dynamics with the intersections of race, ethnicity, and gender in young adults’ identity development while drawing on Chinese cultural icons old and new, such as White Rabbit candies. Most compelling is Gao’s retelling of the legend of moon goddess Chang’e, who is able to “escape her suffocating home”—something Gao manages by attending college in a faraway state and encountering a diverse student body beyond the “white-washed” conformity of her high school. Gao comes out as queer and embraces her tangled roots as she continues writing her life story with pride and confidence. The dynamic, clean, and energetic artwork colored in soft tones features bold linework and ample white space. Splashes of red emphasize the emotional impact of many scenes.

A nuanced representation of being Asian and transnational in the contemporary U.S. (Graphic memoir. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-306777-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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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

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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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