Entertaining, illuminating, and an accessible antidote to dominant histories.

NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY?

HIDDEN LIVES AND SECRET LOVES

A lighthearted celebration of select LGBTQ+ individuals throughout history.

“History was crafted by the people who recorded it,” writes Wind as he endeavors to “reclaim the queer history” of 12 individuals (and, tangentially, about a dozen more). Wind’s spotlight shines on those whose stories he deems “earth-shaking surprises,” ranging from Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1495-1458 B.C.E.) to Lesotho storyteller M’e Mpho Nthunya (1930-2013). Chapters provide helpful historical context before diving into the figures’ lives—and, importantly, loves. Throughout, Wind is careful to use correct or historically accurate pronouns (or, in the case of uncertainty, the singular they). Deftly weaving in primary sources (in bold text), cheeky sidebars, and his own narrative observations as a gay man, Wind keeps the tone conversational and playful. Open-ended questions allow readers to draw their own conclusions—a particularly nice touch for those histories that rely on speculative details. Though Wind is upfront about some racist or problematic attitudes, his rosy picture of Abraham Lincoln makes for an inconsistent treatment. Nonetheless, the careful (though not comprehensive) selection of figures achieves a rare sense of balance. The three overarching categories—“Men Who Loved Men,” “Women Who Loved Women,” and “People Who Lived Outside Gender Boundaries”—each cover four people of varying identities (including race and ethnicity). Unfortunately, the separation based on gender results in an unnecessarily binary organizational scheme.

Entertaining, illuminating, and an accessible antidote to dominant histories. (author's note, source notes, resources, index) (Biography. 11-18)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8162-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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SMILE

Telgemeier has created an utterly charming graphic memoir of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends, sweetly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s work. One night, Raina trips and falls after a Girl Scout meeting, knocking out her two front teeth. This leads to years of painful surgeries, braces, agonizing root canals and other oral atrocities. Her friends offer little solace through this trying ordeal, spending more of their time teasing than comforting her. After years of these girls’ constant belittling, Raina branches out and finds her own voice and a new group of friends. Young girls will relate to her story, and her friend-angst is palpable. Readers should not overlook this seemingly simply drawn work; the strong writing and emotionally expressive characters add an unexpected layer of depth. As an afterword, the author includes a photo of her smiling, showing off the results of all of the years of pain she endured. Irresistible, funny and touching—a must read for all teenage girls, whether en-braced or not. (Graphic memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-13205-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bantam Discovery

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A tribute to young people’s resistance in the face of oppression.

BANNED BOOK CLUB

In 1983 South Korea, Kim was learning to navigate university and student political activism.

The daughter of modest restaurant owners, Kim was apolitical—she just wanted to make her parents proud and be worthy of her tuition expenses. Following an administrator’s advice to avoid trouble and pursue extracurriculars, she joined a folk dance team where she met a fellow student who invited her into a banned book club. Kim was fearful at first, but her thirst for knowledge soon won out. As she learned the truth of her country’s oppressive fascist political environment, Kim became closer to the other book club members while the authorities grew increasingly desperate to identify and punish student dissidents. The kinetic manhwa drawing style skillfully captures the personal and political history of this eye-opening memoir. The disturbing elements of political corruption and loss of human rights are lightened by moving depictions of sweet, funny moments between friends as well as deft political maneuvering by Kim herself when she was eventually questioned by authorities. The art and dialogue complement each other as they express the tension that Kim and her friends felt as they tried to balance school, family, and romance with surviving in a dangerous political environment. References to fake news and a divisive government make this particularly timely; the only thing missing is a list for further reading.

A tribute to young people’s resistance in the face of oppression. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-945820-42-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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