WEST FROM HOME

LETTERS OF LAURA INGALLS WILDER, SAN FRANCISCO, 1915

In 1915 Laura Ingalls Wilder was 48 and the publication of the first Little House book was seventeen years in the future; in a sense the well loved chronicler of pioneer childhood had not yet been born. The author of these letters home is Mama Bess, a farm wife and occasional contributor to the Missouri Ruralist, who is enthusiastic over the journalist successes of her daughter and hostess Rose Wilder Lane ("the stories in it, although incidents, are true, and actually happened" she says admiringly of one piece), who marvels at the wonders of the San Francisco exposition and is fearful of city traffic. (Justly, it appears, since her sightseeing is cut short by a fall from a streetcar which lands her in the hospital.) Mama Bess is a dutiful, precise observer but her reactions are exactly those of a wide-eyed provincial more impressed by the Exposition's budget than its content: The "northern 'lights" show cost "$40 a minute. . . in salary alone" she reports triumphantly, but the "friendly and good-natured" Navahos receive only passing mention because their (reconstructed) dwellings "smell like wild beast dens and I did not like to be there." And though students of children's literature might be interested to know that Rose Lane gave her mother help with her writing, Mama's greater preoccupation with recouping a loan made to the Lanes can have mattered to no one but husband Manly. That we find these letters only intermittently interesting can hardly be blamed on Mrs. Wilder who intended them for her husband and friends, but at best they serve as an object lesson proving the English composition cliche "write about what you know.

Pub Date: March 1, 1974

ISBN: 0064400816

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1974

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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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This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites.

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ART

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Curator, author, and activist Drew shares her journey as an artist and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Drew uses her own story to show how deeply intertwined activism and the arts can be. Her choices in college were largely overshadowed by financial need, but a paid summer internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem became a formative experience that led her to major in art history. The black artists who got her interested in the field were conspicuously absent in the college curriculum, however, as was faculty support, so she turned her frustration into action by starting her own blog to boost the work of black artists. After college, Drew’s work in several arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, only deepened her commitment to making the art world more accessible to people of color and other marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities, and widening the scope of who is welcomed there. Drew narrates deeply personal experiences of frustration, triumph, progress, learning, and sometimes-uncomfortable growth in a conversational tone that draws readers in, showing how her specific lens enabled her to accomplish the work she has done but ultimately inviting readers to add their own contributions, however small, to both art and protest.

This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09518-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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