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An eye-opening and engaging tribute to a fascinating historical figure.

A biography of a woman born “one hundred years before her time.”

Born to freethinking White abolitionist farmers in New York’s Finger Lakes region in 1832, Mary Edwards Walker became an early advocate for women’s rights, especially clothing reform. She eschewed corsets as unhealthy and endured ridicule for wearing loose shortened skirts over long trousers. She became one of the country’s first female physicians when she graduated from Syracuse Medical College in 1855 and, after a brief, unhappy marriage, overcame considerable prejudice to become a surgeon for the Union Army during the Civil War, a part-time spy, Confederate prisoner, and the only female recipient of the Medal of Honor. But despite the award, which she cherished, the government for years refused her the pension male soldiers received. Walker became a popular paid lecturer, but her outspoken personality, insistence on dress reform, and open criticism of some influential suffragists’ lack of support for racial equality eventually caused her to be ostracized by the leaders of the suffrage movement and all but forgotten to history. Mary’s attire and appearance became more conventionally masculine as she aged, but she does not seem to have regarded herself as transgender. Latta’s carefully researched story, drawn primarily from contemporary accounts and featuring many photographs, places Walker in the context of her time and shows her as the complicated and principled person she was.

An eye-opening and engaging tribute to a fascinating historical figure. (author’s note, source notes, selected bibliography, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72841-391-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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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

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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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