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A delightful combination of text and images delivered with humor and heart.

A Black cartoonist looks back at her school years and her path to career success.

Montague opens her graphic memoir as an adult working through a creative block by remembering how she came to be an artist. On Sept. 11, 2001, she was only 5 and living in New Jersey. In the following years her dyslexia became obvious. As Montague moved on to middle school, she began to see journalism as her path, but her thoughts were consumed by struggles with academics and fitting in. While receiving praise for her artwork, she also realized she had a talent for track. High school brought its own challenges, as Montague felt invisible and overwhelmed as she grew to understand both the pressures of being a racial minority in her suburban community and the expectations to make the most of the opportunities provided by her parents’ sacrifices. In college on a track scholarship, Montague took an art class and found a fulfilling and successful direction for her life, breaking through as a published New Yorker cartoonist at age 22. The author maintains a youthful voice throughout: Her descriptions of school and social struggles are well done and will resonate with readers. Her growing self-awareness is handled with insight and wit. The lively, expressive drawing style combined with a soft color palette and clean white background works perfectly with the tone of the narrative.

A delightful combination of text and images delivered with humor and heart. (Graphic memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30781-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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