A forceful depiction of a global crisis viewed through the lens of one of the world’s most vulnerable cities.

How rising sea levels will test the resiliency of Florida's coastal city.

Miami-based journalist Ariza, who grew up in his native Santo Domingo and Miami, makes a compelling book debut with an urgent analysis of Miami’s vulnerability to climate change. Interviewing more than 150 sources, including city officials, geophysicists, realtors, climate scientists, and frightened residents; combing public records; and drawing on many scientific studies, Ariza argues persuasively that Miami must take “radical and swift action” to avert disaster. Although sea levels have risen 3 inches globally, in Miami, that figure is 5 inches, “influenced by the temperature of the ocean, localized atmospheric pressure, the persistent direction of the wind, and, most importantly, the relative strength of the Gulf Stream.” Because of its particular geology—the city is cut from a swamp, and its limestone soil “is ludicrously porous”—the land cannot sustain that influx of water: Roads, buildings, bridges, and septic tanks will be overwhelmed. Besides detailing Miami’s particular geography and geology, Ariza points out the economic inequality, greed, and myopic public planning that affect Miami’s future. The city, he asserts, “rests on a sodden foundation of merciless racial and environmental exploitation.” While realtors work to get the highest prices they can from properties, “the city’s already yawning gap between rich and poor” is stretched “past its breaking point.” Foreign investors, who often are absentee owners, exacerbate the problem, looking at Miami’s expensive real estate “as a good place to park capital instead of as places to live.” Ariza notes the popularity of the word “resilience” in discussions about climate change, but, he maintains, “resilience without massive carbon cuts and immediate state and federal aid is the policy equivalent of hospice care.” Miami’s problems, and the nation’s, require leaders “willing to tear down icons, bust norms, and shift debates rapidly toward recognizing the increasingly dire scientific reality.”

A forceful depiction of a global crisis viewed through the lens of one of the world’s most vulnerable cities.

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-8846-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bold Type Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020


From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020


A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.

Black Americans declare their love.

This anthology brings together dozens of love letters by prominent Black Americans. The entries, interspersed with illustrations, address an eclectic mix of topics arranged under five categories: Care, Awe, Loss, Ambivalence, and Transformation. In their introduction, editors Brown and Johnson note the book’s inspiration in the witnessing of violence directed at Black America. Reckonings with outrage and grief, they explain, remain an urgent task and a precondition of creating and sustaining loving bonds. The editors seek to create “a site for our people to come together on the deepest, strongest emotion we share” and thus open “the possibility for shared deliverance” and “carve out a space for healing, together.” This aim is powerfully realized in many of the letters, which offer often poignant portrayals of where redemptive love has and might yet be found. Among the most memorable are Joy Reid’s “A Love Letter to My Hair,” a sensitive articulation of a hard-won sense of self-love; Morgan Jerkins’ “Dear Egypt,” an exploration of a lifelong passion for an ancient world; and VJ Jenkins’ “Pops and Dad,” an affirmation that it “is beautiful to be Black, to be a man, and to be gay.” Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Home: A Reckoning” is particularly thoughtful and incisive in its examination of a profound attachment, “in the best and worst ways,” to Louisville, Kentucky. Most of the pieces pair personal recollections with incisive cultural commentary. The cumulative effect of these letters is to set forth a panorama of opportunities for maintaining the ties that matter most, especially in the face of a cultural milieu that continues to produce virulent forms of love’s opposite. Other contributors include Nadia Owusu, Jamila Woods, Ben Crump, Eric Michael Dyson, Kwame Dawes, Jenna Wortham, and Imani Perry.

A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781638931201

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Get Lifted Books/Zando

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023

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