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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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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