A valuable combination of encouragement, empowerment, and instruction.

DEAR BLACK GIRL

LETTERS FROM YOUR SISTERS ON STEPPING INTO YOUR POWER

A collection of letters written by Black women to encourage, educate, and uplift Black girls.

"The world does not value Black girls like it should,” writes Winfrey Harris. With chapters dedicated to "Black Girl Magic," family, friendship, mental health, and romantic relationships, the author seeks to rectify the devaluing of Black girls by connecting them with Black women through sage advice focused on meaningful topics. With an eye toward educating and healing, this collection of letters is reinforced by vocabulary words and history lessons necessary for any Black girl to know. It is also a self-affirming workbook prompting readers to supplement the letters and lessons with love letters to themselves. Winfrey Harris highlights the spectrum of Blackness and the Black experience, writing with necessary candor throughout. Beautifully written, the letters often feel like a collection of essays and poems. One standout contribution features the perspective of a “transracial adoptee” writing to other Black girls raised within White families; the author discusses the realities of alienation and the longing for connection. Ultimately, she writes, “May you love yourself exactly as you are.” In "Survivor Solidarity,” she speaks to girls who have suffered sexual violence and assault from “the other side” of trauma, reminding them that what happened is not their fault. While many other similar books are how-to guides written by and for other teens, most of which focus primarily on boys, this collection is written by older Black women for younger Black women with the intent to provide vital knowledge, to instruct in how to build a sense of self-worth, and to be passed on from one generation to another. Interspersed throughout the book are sharp “Know This” sidebars, which feature further resources and concrete information on such topics as “black name bias,” “radical self-care,” Planned Parenthood, and the Trevor Project.

A valuable combination of encouragement, empowerment, and instruction.

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5230-9229-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

MY BODY

The international model embarks on a nuanced investigation of her body and identity.

Ratajkowski’s exploration of fame, self-identity, and what it means to be a “beautiful” woman is surprisingly engaging. Originally thrust into the spotlight in 2013 due to her scantily clad appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the author eventually became known for her stances about beauty and sexuality and how they are commodified. Now that she is a wife and mother, she writes, “I feel a tenderness toward my younger self. My defensiveness and defiance are palpable to me now. What I wrote and preached then reflected what I believed at the time, but it missed a much more complicated picture. In many ways, I have been undeniably rewarded by capitalizing on my sexuality….But in other, less overt ways, I’ve felt objectified and limited by my position in the world as a so-called sex symbol.” This short book includes the juicy tidbits that avid celebrity-memoir readers seek, and the author shares how she really felt about the video shoot and how the aftermath affected her. Beyond that, the book is a reflective coming-of-age-in-the-industry tale, a story that is never maudlin but contains a few thick, murky sections. Ratajkowski attempts to break down the construction of her identity and sexuality in relation to the ever present male gaze as well as her relationships with the women in her life. The charm of this book lies in the author’s largely relatable writing, which shows the complex emotions and confusion of a young woman experiencing her sexual development and maturation into a capable adult. Admitting that the “purpose of the book is not to arrive at answers, but honestly to explore ideas I can’t help but return to,” Ratajkowski grapples directly with a host of thorny issues.

A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-81786-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

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PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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