FALLOUT

SPIES, SUPERBOMBS, AND THE ULTIMATE COLD WAR SHOWDOWN

An account of a gripping real-life adventure that isn’t over yet.

A heated account of the Cold War.

Sheinkin, known for his accessible, narrative-styled history books for young readers, tackles the arms race during the Cold War era. Opening with a James Bond–style introduction to spies’ tradecraft—hollow nickels, dead drops, and secret codes—it moves through the Eisenhower and Stalin administrations to focus on John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, culminating in an hour-by-hour breakdown of the Cuban missile crisis. Thoroughly sourced, this fast-moving history provides a good overview of massively complex topics, lighting on the science behind hydrogen bombs, Duck and Cover drills, a bit of cryptography, and a compelling account of Kennedy’s exploits during World War II. There’s not enough exploration, however, of why America was so opposed to communism, no discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of global capitalism, and insufficient exploration of whether America was morally equipped for its superpower status, leaving gaps in the narrative that would help readers gain a deeper understanding of these issues in context. Whipping back and forth between times, places, and people may make it hard for some readers to follow at times, but the adventurous tone will capture and sustain their interest.

An account of a gripping real-life adventure that isn’t over yet. (source notes, bibliography, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-14901-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

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

TAKING ON THE PLASTICS CRISIS

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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