At the center of every story lies credible fear; this essential volume is deserving of more than one read.

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THE OTHER SIDE

STORIES OF CENTRAL AMERICAN TEEN REFUGEES WHO DREAM OF CROSSING THE BORDER

A critical compilation of stories from unaccompanied Central American teen refugees who make tremendous sacrifices to cross the U.S.–Mexico border.

Told in short vignettes that offer dynamic perspectives, this harrowing book provides readers with snapshots of dire, foreboding situations faced by migrants. The first story, “Where Are Your Kids?” spotlights 16-year-old Kevin and his 10-year-old sister, Nicole, whose mother in the U.S. learns from an immigration officer that her kids are not in Guatemala on a school trip as she believed but rather detained at the San Ysidro border. In another account titled “I’d Rather Die Trying to Get Out,” the two siblings are moneyless and lost, resorting to asking a random truck driver for a lift. The author’s introductory note indicates that all these stories are true save for some changes to protect the 11 immigrant minors’ identities. Most narratives leave readers with (all the right) questions: How long were the teens detained? Are they OK? Why did they receive such horrible treatment in detention cells? What aren’t they telling readers? Villalobos (Breve historia del ya merito, 2018, etc.) records the chilling details of the refugees’ treks, framed against a background of politics and the reality of today’s migration crisis.

At the center of every story lies credible fear; this essential volume is deserving of more than one read. (author’s note, about the refugees, glossary, further reading) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30573-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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DRAGON HOOPS

The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.

The Dragons, Bishop O’Dowd High School’s basketball team, have a promising lineup of players united by the same goal. Backed by Coach Lou Richie, an alumnus himself, this could be the season the Oakland, California, private Catholic school breaks their record. While Yang (Team Avatar Tales, 2019, etc.), a math teacher and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is not particularly sporty, he is intrigued by the potential of this story and decides to focus his next graphic novel on the team’s ninth bid for the state championship. Yang seamlessly blends a portrait of the Dragons with the international history of basketball while also tying in his own career arc as a graphic novelist as he tries to balance family, teaching, and comics. Some panels directly address the creative process, such as those depicting an interaction between Yang and a Punjabi student regarding the way small visual details cue ethnicity in different ways. This creative combination of memoir and reportage elicits questions of storytelling, memory, and creative liberty as well as addressing issues of equity and race. The full-color illustrations are varied in layout, effectively conveying intense emotion and heart-stopping action on the court. Yang is Chinese American, Richie is black, and there is significant diversity among the team members.

A winner. (notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62672-079-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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