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HEAR MY VOICE / ESCUCHA MI VOZ

THE TESTIMONIES OF CHILDREN DETAINED AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF THE UNITED STATES

A powerful, critical document only made more heartbreaking in picture-book form.

In Spanish and in English, a devastating first-person account of children’s experiences in detention at the southern U.S. border.

The nightmare children have faced while separated from their families at the U.S.–Mexico border in recent years is detailed unsparingly via interview snippets from 61 migrant children ages 5 to 17. The words are interpreted by 17 different Latinx illustrators. While some of the artists build fantasy imagery, depicting the children as caged birds or representing escape from a dangerous country as flight from a terrifying monster, the most affecting double-page spreads simply detail the horrifying living conditions and allow expressions on faces to do the rest. Hunger, overcrowding, verbal abuse, and unsanitary conditions are only part of the horrors. “I have been here without bathing for twenty-one days,” one child says from behind chain-link fencing. “I wish I could get clean.” The Spanish-language version is bound dos-à-dos to the English one, and the children’s words are even more painful in their native language. Additional context on how the stories were captured and the legal issues around child detention is provided in a foreword and backmatter; it reinforces the impossible and cruel situation the migrant children have faced and their misplaced hope in a system that has failed them. It’s the kind of terrifying book that no adult should hand to a child before preparing to explain, with context, that the stories are true and that they must be remembered.

A powerful, critical document only made more heartbreaking in picture-book form. (Picture book. 8-18)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5235-1348-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

Essential.

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A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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BIG APPLE DIARIES

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy.

Through the author’s own childhood diary entries, a seventh grader details her inner life before and after 9/11.

Alyssa’s diary entries start in September 2000, in the first week of her seventh grade year. She’s 11 and dealing with typical preteen concerns—popularity and anxiety about grades—along with other things more particular to her own life. She’s shuffling between Queens and Manhattan to share time between her divorced parents and struggling with thick facial hair and classmates who make her feel like she’s “not a whole person” due to her mixed White and Puerto Rican heritage. Alyssa is endlessly earnest and awkward as she works up the courage to talk to her crush, Alejandro; gushes about her dreams of becoming a shoe designer; and tries to solve her burgeoning unibrow problem. The diaries also have a darker side, as a sense of impending doom builds as the entries approach 9/11, especially because Alyssa’s father works in finance in the World Trade Center. As a number of the diary entries are taken directly from the author’s originals, they effortlessly capture the loud, confusing feelings middle school brings out. The artwork, in its muted but effective periwinkle tones, lends a satisfying layer to the diary’s accessible and delightful format.

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77427-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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