A thorough, sensitive portrayal of one of literature’s most remarkable authors, illustrated with period portraits and...



“Every thing must have a beginning…and that beginning must be linked to something that went before.”

Mary Shelley’s mother, the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, died 11 days after her daughter was born. Reef (Victoria, 2017, etc.) describes Mary’s upbringing at the hands of her “grave and severe” father, William Godwin, and her stepmother, Mary Jane Clairmont; and in the company of their children. Godwin was an atheist, a radical thinker, and a prolific author who believed in the importance of holistic education. His revolutionary views intrigued the precocious poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who frequented the Godwin home. Believing that Shelley was only interested in intellectual ideas, Godwin was shocked to discover that the charismatic poet and his 16-year-old daughter had fallen hopelessly in love. Hastily revising his liberal views, he forbade their union. Thus began a series of extraordinary adventures, from the flight of Mary and Percy to Europe, where they led a restless life, suffering the deaths of all but one of their children, culminating in Percy’s tragic drowning off the Italian coast. Reef skillfully analyzes how Mary Shelley’s terrible losses and her broad education and life experience influenced her extraordinary literary achievement, which included six novels in addition to the supremely influential Frankenstein.

A thorough, sensitive portrayal of one of literature’s most remarkable authors, illustrated with period portraits and engravings. (notes, bibliography, Mary Shelley’s works, index) (Biography. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-74005-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?