This empowering collection belongs on every shelf.

SAY HER NAME

A collection of poems centering the experiences of black women, girls, and femmes.

Elliott (Dragons in a Bag, 2018, etc.) offers up a poetic love letter exploring a vast range of topics: Black Lives Matter; microaggressions such as hair touching; violence against black women and girls; the Middle Passage; what self-care and resistance can look like; not fitting into prescribed definitions of blackness; and surviving in the U.S. (a country where, echoing Audre Lorde’s “A Litany for Survival,” she writes, “…you are a miracle / because we were never / meant to survive / not as human beings / yet despite their best efforts / to grind us down / still we rise / we strut / dazzle / & defy the odds…”). It’s clear that Elliott poured not only her talent, but her heart into this collection, which acknowledges race-wide struggles as well as very personal ones. True to the title, several poems allude to black women and young people who have been murdered; the references to black trans women may be too subtle for readers to recognize without referencing the notes. Elliott includes a sprinkling of mentor poems that served as inspiration to her and that form an introduction to readers unfamiliar with the poets’ works (though why Phillis Wheatley’s ode to internalized anti-blackness “On Being Brought From Africa to America” was included without context isn’t clear). Art not seen.

This empowering collection belongs on every shelf. (notes) (Poetry. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-04524-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Jump at the Sun/Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.

CONTINUUM

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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