Another thoroughly engrossing look at a pivotal year.



As they did in 1968 (2018), Aronson and Bartoletti examine a single year through many different angles, focusing particularly on liberty, subjugation, and the question of who counts as a person.

Tanya Lee Stone opens the volume with the fishwives of Les Halles marching on Versailles. Bartoletti tells the story of Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, who painted Marie Antoinette wearing a casual cotton chemise—a small act of rebellion. Meanwhile, formerly enslaved West African Olaudah Equiano publishes his autobiography in London; the Swedish king, Gustav III, enacts a surprising degree of social equality; Jurij Vega, a soldier in Belgrade, calculates pi to 140 digits; and a Scottish geologist called James Hutton begins to understand the true age of the Earth. Mary Jemison, born into a Scottish Irish settler family but adopted into the Seneca Nation, relays messages between the new Americans and the democratic Haudenosaunee. Wesleyan missionaries—including Equiano, a convert and abolitionist—upset the social order by bringing Christianity to enslaved West Indians. And a mutiny on the Bounty disrupts the food chain to the sugar plantations. By the end, topics which start out as snapshots are shown to be pieces of a larger portrait, giving the reader a broad sense of the turmoil in the United States and Europe at this time. Each chapter is thoughtfully written and thoroughly researched, with extensive author notes, endnotes, and a bibliography.

Another thoroughly engrossing look at a pivotal year. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0873-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

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A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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