SHIMMY SHIMMY SHIMMY LIKE MY SISTER KATE

LOOKING AT THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE THROUGH POEMS

An annotated collection of poems from the Harlem Renaissance and beyond, presented by a master teacher and a terrific storyteller. Exhorting, cajoling, willing readers to listen and to hear, Giovanni (Put a Genie in a Jar, p. 447, etc.) starts each chapter with a poem or poems from an African-American writer such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Margaret Walker, or Ishmael Reed, covering 23 poets in all. She discusses, briefly, the lives of these writers, the context of African-American history, and the structure and sense of the poems in short chapters. The book is a conversation—readers can almost hear Giovanni talking— as she anticipates questions, clarifies obscurities, and utterly beguiles with her passion and personal feelings for the writers. Much of the poetry is painful to read: Ntozake Shange on female genital mutilation; Gwendolyn Brooks on the murder of Emmett Till. There is an underlying joy, however, in tune with the music of the language. This is a fine collection whatever the need: for poetry shelves, black history collections, social consciousnessraising sessions, cultural literacy courses—or for anyone who likes the sight of words that shimmy shimmy shimmy on the page. (Poetry. 11+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8050-3494-3

Page Count: 177

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1996

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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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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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