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

BERNIE SANDERS GUIDE TO POLITICAL REVOLUTION

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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Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys.

THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE (ADAPTED FOR YOUNG ADULTS)

The acclaimed author of Between the World and Me (2015) reflects on the family and community that shaped him in this adaptation of his 2008 adult memoir of the same name.

Growing up in Baltimore in the ’80s, Coates was a dreamer, all “cupcakes and comic books at the core.” He was also heavily influenced by “the New York noise” of mid-to-late-1980s hip-hop. Not surprisingly then, his prose takes on an infectious hip-hop poetic–meets–medieval folklore aesthetic, as in this description of his neighborhood’s crew: “Walbrook Junction ran everything, until they met North and Pulaski, who, craven and honorless, would punk you right in front of your girl.” But it is Coates’ father—a former Black Panther and Afrocentric publisher—who looms largest in his journey to manhood. In a community where their peers were fatherless, Coates and his six siblings viewed their father as flawed but with the “aura of a prophet.” He understood how Black boys could get caught in the “crosshairs of the world” and was determined to save his. Coates revisits his relationships with his father, his swaggering older brother, and his peers. The result will draw in young adult readers while retaining all of the heart of the original.

A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys. (maps, family tree) (Memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-03-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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