Accurate, important, and blunt but much too brief; an introduction only.


An extremely brief survey of racism in the U.S. from founding to the present day.

From the very beginnings of European colonialism in what would become the United States, there’s been both racism and people fighting it. Blohm is ambitious, beginning with a concise definition of race as a social construct and attempting to trace major developments in American racism beginning with the arrival of enslaved people from Africa in 1619. Because this work is so short, the end result is a speed run through the next 500 years. Luckily there are extensive source notes, because there’s not much room here for detail, as the author attempts to cover slavery, forced religious conversion of Indigenous people, Indian boarding schools, Japanese American internment, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Plessy v. Ferguson, and the Ku Klux Klan. From the Freedom Summer it leaps to the present day, with Stop AAPI Hate, Black Lives Matter, attacks on critical race theory, and the killings of Philando Castile and George Floyd. The recent rise in hate movements is also covered, with the assertion that we must maintain momentum in the fight against racism. The limited page count means an enormous amount is left out or touched on only briefly (redlining is entirely absent, for example). The layout and graphic design occasionally interfere with ready comprehension, but the accessibly written text will serve as a good general overview, particularly for reluctant readers.

Accurate, important, and blunt but much too brief; an introduction only. (picture credits, source notes, websites, bibliography, index, timeline) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-67820-168-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: ReferencePoint Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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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

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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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