ROBERT F. KENNEDY

UP CLOSE

Bobby Kennedy was the “relentless, reckless third son of a clan determined to change history,” and the story of this clan ranges from the Irish potato famine to the Cuban missile crisis and beyond, a complicated tale of family, fame and fortune. The Mafia, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War and the coming digital age all figure in this fascinating portrait of a man and his times. Lively writing, a wealth of historical detail and wide-ranging references from Aeschylus to Philip Pullman contribute to a work that successfully portrays its subject not as a hero, but as a complex, flawed human being. Aronson points out where the historical record is incomplete or murky and lets readers in on how historians think. The bibliography and source notes are thorough and include a superb list of websites for listening to important political speeches. Exemplary history writing. (Nonfiction. 11+)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-670-06066-6

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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A must-read reminder that transformation is made possible through community.

THE AWAKENING OF MALCOLM X

Explores historical threads of race, faith, and family as they weave together in the transformation of youthful, imprisoned Malcolm Little into empowered, purpose-driven Malcolm X.

Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, partners with rising literary star Jackson to explore 20-something Malcolm’s growth through reading, debate, and dialogue. This dedication and rediscovery of purpose, made manifest through newfound faith, would catapult him to the global stage as the chief spokesman for the Nation of Islam under the tutelage of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Refusing to establish his transformation as the marker of an unjust prison system’s rehabilitation strategy, this fictionalized retelling spotlights the relationships, perspectives, lessons, and questions delivered by Black men imprisoned around him and the critical embrace of a family that never abandoned him. “Wake up, Malcolm” is a cue that resounds throughout, linking the familial legacy of Malcolm’s parents, who held ties to ministry and served roles in the racial uplift mission of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. Readers will make connections to persistent injustices faced by Black communities—and the beautiful ways which, despite that terror, Black families have found to craft visions of freedom and lives of dignity and love. This novel showcases the ways that becoming is a social process requiring care, commitment, and community but is ultimately world-changing work.

A must-read reminder that transformation is made possible through community. (more information, timeline, Malcolm X’s reading list, authors’ note) (Biographical novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-31329-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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