Musical-theater lovers, whether front-of-curtain, backstage, or audience, will revel in this journey in which “Every moment...

SONDHEIM

THE MAN WHO CHANGED MUSICAL THEATER

With a deft hand and unbridled admiration for her subject, Rubin presents the career of a musical theater giant.

Stephen Sondheim’s life as composer and lyricist is the stuff of legends, starting with his fabled apprenticeship with Oscar Hammerstein, moving on to his Broadway beginnings with West Side Story, and his subsequent successes (and some failures) in the coming decades. Much has already been written for adults about the collaborative process for West Side Story, but Rubin succinctly captures the genesis of the production for confirmed young fans while no doubt hastening the rush of others to listen to the music and attend revivals. She then moves on to describe Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeny Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods. Readers will come away with an understanding of the difficulties involved in creating Broadway shows and an appreciation of the many, many talents required to finally reach opening night. Photographs and snippets of lyrics add to the whole package.

Musical-theater lovers, whether front-of-curtain, backstage, or audience, will revel in this journey in which “Every moment makes a contribution / Every little detail plays a part.” (list of shows, film scores, bibliography, videography, discography, source notes) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59643-884-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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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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DRAGON HOOPS

The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.

The Dragons, Bishop O’Dowd High School’s basketball team, have a promising lineup of players united by the same goal. Backed by Coach Lou Richie, an alumnus himself, this could be the season the Oakland, California, private Catholic school breaks their record. While Yang (Team Avatar Tales, 2019, etc.), a math teacher and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is not particularly sporty, he is intrigued by the potential of this story and decides to focus his next graphic novel on the team’s ninth bid for the state championship. Yang seamlessly blends a portrait of the Dragons with the international history of basketball while also tying in his own career arc as a graphic novelist as he tries to balance family, teaching, and comics. Some panels directly address the creative process, such as those depicting an interaction between Yang and a Punjabi student regarding the way small visual details cue ethnicity in different ways. This creative combination of memoir and reportage elicits questions of storytelling, memory, and creative liberty as well as addressing issues of equity and race. The full-color illustrations are varied in layout, effectively conveying intense emotion and heart-stopping action on the court. Yang is Chinese American, Richie is black, and there is significant diversity among the team members.

A winner. (notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-079-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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