YEAR OF IMPOSSIBLE GOODBYES

A moving fictionalized account of Choi's last months as a child in Pyongyang under the brutal Japanese rule that oppressed Korea for more than 30 years before 1945, and her harrowing escape with her seven-year-old brother south across the 38th parallel. Choi describes the Japanese persecution in an even tone that makes it even more chilling: deliberate destruction of everything of value or beauty, even Grandfather's favorite pine tree; interdiction of religions other than Shinto and of the Korean language; indoctrination of children; systematic starving of the population; the forcing of young women to serve as ``spirit girls'' for the Japanese troops' pleasure. Despite all, Choi's family preserved dignity, familial love, and loyalty to their heritage. When the Russians arrived (not the hoped-for Americans), they proved less vicious but even more effective propagandists than the Japanese. Choi's father, who had spent the war in Manchuria, arranged an escape that was partially successful, even though their guide turned out to be a double agent: the two children, who had already demonstrated their intelligence and mettle, made their way on their own after their mother was detained (miraculously, she joined them later); other relatives left behind to cover for them were executed in retribution. A vividly written, compellingly authentic story that complements Yoko Watkins's fine So Far from the Bamboo Grove (1986), which details a Japanese family's suffering en route from Korea to Japan during the same period. (Fiction. 11+)*justify no*

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-395-57419-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1991

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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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This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites.

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ART

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Curator, author, and activist Drew shares her journey as an artist and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Drew uses her own story to show how deeply intertwined activism and the arts can be. Her choices in college were largely overshadowed by financial need, but a paid summer internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem became a formative experience that led her to major in art history. The black artists who got her interested in the field were conspicuously absent in the college curriculum, however, as was faculty support, so she turned her frustration into action by starting her own blog to boost the work of black artists. After college, Drew’s work in several arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, only deepened her commitment to making the art world more accessible to people of color and other marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities, and widening the scope of who is welcomed there. Drew narrates deeply personal experiences of frustration, triumph, progress, learning, and sometimes-uncomfortable growth in a conversational tone that draws readers in, showing how her specific lens enabled her to accomplish the work she has done but ultimately inviting readers to add their own contributions, however small, to both art and protest.

This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09518-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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