COURAGEOUS WOMEN OF THE CIVIL WAR

SOLDIERS, SPIES, MEDICS, AND MORE

From the Women of Action series

Although most people associate the Civil War with its innumerable male participants, many brave women also found ways to serve.

For this entry in the Women of Action series, Cordell has drawn together brief biographies of women both white and black who served in a variety of roles during the war. All of them defied gender expectations of their time but a few of them especially so. The first section describes five women who dressed as men and served as soldiers. In disguise as a man, Sarah Emma Edmonds was both soldier and spy. After deserting due to ill health, she resumed her female identity and worked as a nurse until war’s end. In addition to her more familiar role as a rescuer of slaves, Harriet Tubman also served as a spy for the Union. Mary Jane Richards, who was biracial, lived with white Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew in Richmond and at great personal peril worked in the Confederate White House, where she seemed almost invisible to the white inhabitants, giving her access to important records and conversations. Harriet Ann Jacobs, a freed slave, provided humanitarian relief to black “contrabands” who fled, impoverished and hungry, to Washington, D.C. The biographies include photos of some of the women and provide a fascinating and engaging look at their activities, motivations, trials, and later lives. Excellent, detailed backmatter adds to the volume’s usefulness.

A solid resource. (Nonfiction. 11-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61373-200-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

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.

CONTINUUM

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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