A raw, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting story of trauma, loss, and the healing power of words.

ORDINARY HAZARDS

A MEMOIR

For award-winning children’s and YA author Grimes (Between the Lines, 2018, etc.), writing, faith, and determination were the keys to surviving her tumultuous childhood.

In the face of her father’s abandonment and the revolving door of her alcoholic mother’s psychiatric hospital stays, Grimes becomes savvier and more resilient than any young child should have to be. After being abused by a babysitter when she was 3, Grimes and her beloved older sister, Carol, enter another set of revolving doors: foster care, sometimes loving, sometimes not. At a dark moment when she is 6, Grimes finds escape and comfort in prayer and writing. Despite the instability and danger she endures, Grimes blossoms into a gifted teen with a passion for books, journaling, and poetry. Her personal, political, and artistic awakenings are intertwined, with the drama of her family life unfolding against the backdrop of pivotal moments in Civil Rights–era America. Grimes recounts her story as a memoir in verse, writing with a poet’s lyricism through the lens of memory fractured by trauma. Fans of her poetry and prose will appreciate this intimate look at the forces that shaped her as an artist and as a person determined to find the light in the darkest of circumstances.

A raw, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting story of trauma, loss, and the healing power of words. (Verse memoir. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62979-881-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

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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