An altogether fresh, perceptive, well-written chronicle of this cautionary tale.

THE MIRACLE & TRAGEDY OF THE DIONNE QUINTUPLETS

The true story of the Dionne quintuplets—the first quintuplets to survive infancy.

On May 28, 1934, five identical girls were born to Elzire and Oliva Dionne in an Ontario farmhouse that lacked central heating, running water, or electricity. The combined weight of all five at birth was just 13 pounds, 6 ounces, and their struggle to survive (as copiously reported by the press, which rapidly descended on the farmhouse) captured people’s hearts in the midst of the Great Depression. Overwhelmed by publicity and in legal trouble from an ill-considered contract to display the quintuplets at the Chicago World’s Fair, Elzire and Oliva turned custody of the girls over to the Red Cross, which built a hospital/nursery for them. Instead of shielding the quintuplets from exploitation (one of the reasons put forward for custody), the Red Cross instead displayed them to the thousands of visitors a day who arrived, visitors who could also buy souvenirs at several shops—two owned by Oliva. Miller (Caroline, 2017, etc.) tells the story chronologically with a succinct perceptiveness that is riveting in its detailing of well-meaning intentions turning to exploitation, and her inclusion of dialogue—drawn from contemporary materials—and photographs delivers a fresh feel. Notably, she individualizes the girls by always referring to them by name rather than lumping them together.

An altogether fresh, perceptive, well-written chronicle of this cautionary tale. (afterword, note on dialogue, references, notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1381-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys.

THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE (ADAPTED FOR YOUNG ADULTS)

The acclaimed author of Between the World and Me (2015) reflects on the family and community that shaped him in this adaptation of his 2008 adult memoir of the same name.

Growing up in Baltimore in the ’80s, Coates was a dreamer, all “cupcakes and comic books at the core.” He was also heavily influenced by “the New York noise” of mid-to-late-1980s hip-hop. Not surprisingly then, his prose takes on an infectious hip-hop poetic–meets–medieval folklore aesthetic, as in this description of his neighborhood’s crew: “Walbrook Junction ran everything, until they met North and Pulaski, who, craven and honorless, would punk you right in front of your girl.” But it is Coates’ father—a former Black Panther and Afrocentric publisher—who looms largest in his journey to manhood. In a community where their peers were fatherless, Coates and his six siblings viewed their father as flawed but with the “aura of a prophet.” He understood how Black boys could get caught in the “crosshairs of the world” and was determined to save his. Coates revisits his relationships with his father, his swaggering older brother, and his peers. The result will draw in young adult readers while retaining all of the heart of the original.

A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys. (maps, family tree) (Memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-03-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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