A rigorous, relatable text about one of America’s all-time entertainers and social activists.

SING AND SHOUT

THE MIGHTY VOICE OF PAUL ROBESON

Focuses on Robeson’s rich, multifaceted legacy, including how his love for song served as a touchpoint throughout his historic life.

A veteran author for younger readers, Rubin provides a meticulously researched biography that integrates numerous archival images. This offering foregrounds Robeson as a powerful, studied voice of Negro spirituals, a black folk music tradition rich in religious symbolism that arose in response (and resistance to) enslavement in the U.S. Lyrics from Robeson’s repertoire form the titles of chapters, which cover his birth in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898; his childhood and youth; his triumphant global following in the 1930s and ’40s; the turbulent 1950s, when he became a primary target of Cold War McCarthyism; and his final years in Philadelphia. Harry Belafonte, Robeson’s mentee, provides a preface, declaring his significance as a champion of the oppressed as being on par with that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With such an exceptional man, it would be easy to simply submit to hero worship, but Rubin lays out Robeson’s lifelong evolution on a number of personal and political issues in dialogue with his wife, Eslanda, and other noteworthy figures. Readers can expect to sit with these lessons from the committed life of one of the 20th century’s most resonant voices.

A rigorous, relatable text about one of America’s all-time entertainers and social activists. (preface, foreword, note on terminology, personal note, bibliography, Robeson’s music, Harlem walking tour, source notes, index, picture credits, text and song permissions) (Biography. 12-adult)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62979-857-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

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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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A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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