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. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Small but mighty necessary reading.


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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A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

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A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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