Heavy reading for a revolutionary manifesto and unlikely to be remembered when 2020 rolls around.


The liberal firebrand belabors corrupt government policies, fingers corporate bad behavers, and lays out his legislative agenda in this young readers’ edition of Our Revolution (2016).

The author twice mentions that he drew more young voters in the 2016 elections than either of his rivals, but if he expects this mix of talking points, statistics, and campaign rhetoric to fire up readers of pre–voting age he needs another think. After an opening dedication to those young people, he then goes on at tedious length to deliver belligerent indictments of big corporations (“When it comes to dodging taxes, GE brings good things to life”); banks (“their business model is based on fraud”); the pharmaceutical industry (“It has effectively purchased the Congress”); and government policies that have left health care and child care systems “dysfunctional,” immigration “broken,” and public education a “pipeline from school to jail.” Glancing references aside, minorities do not enter his discourse until a late chapter on criminal justice reform. Though he frames his proposed remedies in big-hearted and common-sensical language, they can come off sounding grandiose, such as a claim that eliminating “wasteful and unnecessary administrative costs would free up all the funds we need to provide health care to every American.” Along with occasional charts and surpassingly fustian sidebar tweets (hey, Bernie tweets too!), each chapter features useful leads to activist organizations, online information resources, and videos. Afterword not seen.

Heavy reading for a revolutionary manifesto and unlikely to be remembered when 2020 rolls around. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-13890-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

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Small but mighty necessary reading.


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 powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

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A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

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