An exciting if uneven volume that offers much to inquisitive kids seeking LGBTQ+ information.

RAINBOW REVOLUTIONARIES

FIFTY LGBTQ+ PEOPLE WHO MADE HISTORY

This colorful compendium covers 50 boundary-breaking LGBTQ+ figures from across history and around the globe.

Starting at A with Adam Rippon, each hero receives a straightforward one-page biography that includes an account of how they changed the world, broke a barrier, or fought for LGBTQ+ rights and is accompanied by vivid, blocky illustrations. This list of potential role models includes big names like Harvey Milk as well as some that may be unfamiliar to many Americans, like Simon Nkoli. The selection showcases a diversity of races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities, with some gaps; for example, the glossary explicitly includes intersex people, yet none are identified as such within the text of their biography, and the only East Asian included is from the second century B.C.E. Stylistically, many of the sentences are wordy and sometimes awkward, including unclear or unusual constructions and tone shifts. Add a handful of cringeworthy word choices, such as “between her legs” and an instance of “female” used as a noun, and readers may find themselves shaking their heads. Nevertheless, this does not diminish the book’s fundamental value as a resource for young people. Prager presents each figure with enthusiasm and provides lots of interesting details that allow readers a glimpse into that person’s world, be it 1970s San Francisco or 1600s Mexico.

An exciting if uneven volume that offers much to inquisitive kids seeking LGBTQ+ information. (timeline, LGBTQ+ flags and symbols, selected bibliography) (Collective biography. 8-14)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-294775-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Ultimately adds little to conversations about race.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK BOY

A popular YouTube series on race, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” turns how-to manual and history lesson for young readers.

Acho is a former NFL player and second-generation Nigerian American who cites his upbringing in predominantly White spaces as well as his tenure on largely Black football teams as qualifications for facilitating the titular conversations about anti-Black racism. The broad range of subjects covered here includes implicit bias, cultural appropriation, and systemic racism. Each chapter features brief overviews of American history, personal anecdotes of Acho’s struggles with his own anti-Black biases, and sections titled “Let’s Get Uncomfortable.” The book’s centering of Whiteness and White readers seems to show up, to the detriment of its subject matter, both in Acho’s accounts of his upbringing and his thought processes regarding race. The overall tone unfortunately conveys a sense of expecting little from a younger generation who may have a greater awareness than he did at the same age and who, therefore, may already be uncomfortable with racial injustice itself. The attempt at an avuncular tone disappointingly reads as condescending, revealing that, despite his online success with adults, the author is ill-equipped to be writing for middle-grade readers. Chapters dedicated to explaining to White readers why they shouldn’t use the N-word and how valuable White allyship is may make readers of color (and many White readers) bristle with indignation and discomfort despite Acho’s positive intentions.

Ultimately adds little to conversations about race. (glossary, FAQ, recommended reading, references) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80106-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

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