An absorbing read about digital privacy and one man’s fateful choice to disclose government secrets.



The young readers version of the bestselling memoir by a man who revealed the scope of the U.S. government’s spying on its own citizens.

Snowden gained instant fame in 2013 when he released documents to hand-picked journalists that demonstrated the depth of the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional surveillance of ordinary Americans’ phone calls, emails, texts and more. His memoir uncovers the roots of his concerns and traces his journey from eager government intelligence worker to whistleblower. The book is divided into three parts. The first covers Snowden’s growing-up years, including his fascination with computers and the internet, his hacks for getting through school with minimal effort, his first job, a short stint in the Army, meeting his future wife, and eventually obtaining his first high-level security clearance at age 22. Part 2 focuses on his increasing unease as he moved up the intelligence career ladder. Part 3 details how he discovered the massive invasion of ordinary citizens’ privacy, his decision to alert the press, and the sobering aftermath. Snowden tells good stories that illuminate his thinking while also providing intriguing glimpses into the world of surveillance. His prose is crisp and clear, although the afterword written for this version, which focuses on staying digitally safe on the internet, is not as tight as the rest of the book.

An absorbing read about digital privacy and one man’s fateful choice to disclose government secrets. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-76791-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • New York Times Bestseller


A beautifully heart-wrenching graphic-novel adaptation of actor and activist Takei’s (Lions and Tigers and Bears, 2013, etc.) childhood experience of incarceration in a World War II camp for Japanese Americans.

Takei had not yet started school when he, his parents, and his younger siblings were forced to leave their home and report to the Santa Anita Racetrack for “processing and removal” due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The creators smoothly and cleverly embed the historical context within which Takei’s family’s story takes place, allowing readers to simultaneously experience the daily humiliations that they suffered in the camps while providing readers with a broader understanding of the federal legislation, lawsuits, and actions which led to and maintained this injustice. The heroes who fought against this and provided support to and within the Japanese American community, such as Fred Korematsu, the 442nd Regiment, Herbert Nicholson, and the ACLU’s Wayne Collins, are also highlighted, but the focus always remains on the many sacrifices that Takei’s parents made to ensure the safety and survival of their family while shielding their children from knowing the depths of the hatred they faced and danger they were in. The creators also highlight the dangerous parallels between the hate speech, stereotyping, and legislation used against Japanese Americans and the trajectory of current events. Delicate grayscale illustrations effectively convey the intense emotions and the stark living conditions.

A powerful reminder of a history that is all too timely today. (Graphic memoir. 14-adult)

Pub Date: July 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60309-450-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Top Shelf Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2019

Did you like this book?