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 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020


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


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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