Difficult and necessary.




An account of a little-known Reconstruction-era massacre, how it came about, and its influence on U.S. history.

The prologue tells the story of the Colfax massacre itself, when over 100 black men were murdered by white supremacists in Louisiana in 1873. The book then backtracks to the early days of the U.S., chronicling individuals and events that would later affect the situation in Colfax: the formation of the Supreme Court, the Dred Scott decision, the racist attitudes of presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson, the passionate abolitionist Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens, the Ku Klux Klan, and more. While some moments of historical import help put the Colfax massacre in context, others are overly detailed, and readers may wonder if they are necessary at all. Colfax comes up again nearly halfway through the text, with lawyer J.R. Beckwith’s fight for justice for the slaughtered. His efforts were actively thwarted by the U.S. government, leading to the creation of the Jim Crow South. Despite being overly long, this book shines a light on a shameful sea change moment in U.S. history, although the message of injustice is weakened by the positive presentation of the Homestead Act which forcibly removed Native Americans from their land. Though the book ends abruptly, readers will come away with a thorough understanding of the Colfax massacre and its place in America’s past and present.

Difficult and necessary. (glossary, bibliography, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-23945-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic Focus

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Small but mighty necessary reading.


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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Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style....


As she does in previous volumes—Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (2008) and The Grammar Devotional (2009)—Fogarty affects an earnest and upbeat tone to dissuade those who think a grammar book has to be “annoying, boring, and confusing” and takes on the role of “grammar guide, intent on demystifying grammar.”

Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style. Fogarty works hard to find amusing, even cheeky examples to illustrate the many faux pas she discusses: "Squiggly presumed that Grammar Girl would flinch when she saw the word misspelled as alot." Young readers may well look beyond the cheery tone and friendly cover, though, and find a 300+-page text that looks suspiciously schoolish and isn't really that different from the grammar texts they have known for years (and from which they have still not learned a lot of grammar). As William Strunk said in his introduction to the first edition of the little The Elements of Style, the most useful grammar guide concentrates attention “on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.” After that, “Students profit most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work.” By being exhaustive, Fogarty may well have created just the kind of volume she hoped to avoid.

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8943-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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