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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Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.


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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Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style....


As she does in previous volumes—Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (2008) and The Grammar Devotional (2009)—Fogarty affects an earnest and upbeat tone to dissuade those who think a grammar book has to be “annoying, boring, and confusing” and takes on the role of “grammar guide, intent on demystifying grammar.”

Like many grammar books, this starts with parts of speech and goes on to sentence structure, punctuation, usage and style. Fogarty works hard to find amusing, even cheeky examples to illustrate the many faux pas she discusses: "Squiggly presumed that Grammar Girl would flinch when she saw the word misspelled as alot." Young readers may well look beyond the cheery tone and friendly cover, though, and find a 300+-page text that looks suspiciously schoolish and isn't really that different from the grammar texts they have known for years (and from which they have still not learned a lot of grammar). As William Strunk said in his introduction to the first edition of the little The Elements of Style, the most useful grammar guide concentrates attention “on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.” After that, “Students profit most by individual instruction based on the problems of their own work.” By being exhaustive, Fogarty may well have created just the kind of volume she hoped to avoid.

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8943-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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