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STITCH BY STITCH by Rob Sanders Kirkus Star


Cleve Jones and the AIDS Memorial Quilt

by Rob Sanders ; illustrated by Jamey Christoph

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-4338-3739-5
Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Learn the history of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt stitch by stitch.

Cleve Jones, San Franciscan activist and mentee of Harvey Milk, is the central figure in an informative picture book that captures the history and tone of the era in which the AIDS Quilt grew. While in San Francisco, Cleve witnessed a mysterious illness that was sweeping through the gay male community, killing the majority of victims. On Nov. 27, 1985, Jones helped organize a march to remember recently assassinated politicians Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Cleve and a co-organizer handed out cardboard and markers, asking participants to write down names of friends who’d died of AIDS. The sight of these names taped to the walls of San Francisco’s Federal Building became the impetus for the quilt. Its story is beautifully captured in the book’s smooth pacing and brief paragraphs. Readers will follow its journey from that march as it becomes both a monument to mourning and a means of changing the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. The weighty backmatter, which includes discussion points, a glossary, timeline, biographies, and brief bibliography, will help educators and caregivers guide further learning. The racial diversity on display throughout the book is admirable; it’s a shame that diversity did not extend to body shapes as well. This quibble aside, the book is pretty darn impressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Storytelling and history, beautifully stitched together.

(Informational picture book. 9-12)