A vividly written, richly layered portrait of a fascinating woman whose life and work influenced and inspired many.

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE

THE COURAGEOUS LIFE OF THE LEGENDARY NURSE

This complex portrait of the “Lady with the Lamp” offers an insightful look into the remarkable life and work of Florence Nightingale and the times in which she lived.

Nightingale was born into a privileged life to enlightened parents who embraced formal education for women and intellectual curiosity. Her parents were less than forward-thinking about her desire to pursue a nursing career, however. Through this struggle and attention to Nightingale’s relationships with women, Reef reveals how her subject defied the rigid conventions of Victorian society and the expectations of women. Reef is honest about Nightingale’s faults. She was cold and demanding of her underlings, insisting upon total obedience. Conversely, she had boundless compassion and mercy for the suffering. Her ambition and controlling personality led her to campaign to be placed in charge of all nursing services in the Crimea. Nightingale is best known for her work during the Crimean War, when she vastly improved gruesome and lethal conditions, dramatically reducing the mortality rate for soldiers. Her modern methods in nursing became defining standards still used today. This legacy receives generous attention, but it is the other aspects of her life Reef covers that make this a complete, nuanced biography.

A vividly written, richly layered portrait of a fascinating woman whose life and work influenced and inspired many. (photos, source notes, bibliography) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-53580-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites.

THIS IS WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ART

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Curator, author, and activist Drew shares her journey as an artist and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Drew uses her own story to show how deeply intertwined activism and the arts can be. Her choices in college were largely overshadowed by financial need, but a paid summer internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem became a formative experience that led her to major in art history. The black artists who got her interested in the field were conspicuously absent in the college curriculum, however, as was faculty support, so she turned her frustration into action by starting her own blog to boost the work of black artists. After college, Drew’s work in several arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, only deepened her commitment to making the art world more accessible to people of color and other marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities, and widening the scope of who is welcomed there. Drew narrates deeply personal experiences of frustration, triumph, progress, learning, and sometimes-uncomfortable growth in a conversational tone that draws readers in, showing how her specific lens enabled her to accomplish the work she has done but ultimately inviting readers to add their own contributions, however small, to both art and protest.

This deeply personal and boldly political offering inspires and ignites. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09518-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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