A disappointing, disrespectful perspective on the experiences of a transgender person.

THE FIGHTING INFANTRYMAN

THE STORY OF ALBERT D.J. CASHIER, TRANSGENDER CIVIL WAR SOLDIER

This illustrated, biographical narrative mixes fact and speculation about the life of a transgender Civil War veteran.

Irish immigrant Albert D.J. Cashier enlisted in the Union army at the age of 19 and fought in the 95th Illinois Infantry. His sex assigned at birth remained private, even from his military comrades, until much later in life, when he moved into the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ home. Even though he asked for confidentiality, someone told a reporter, spreading the story nationwide and inciting a governmental investigation. Unfortunately, the language throughout the text undermines its mission, failing to respect the identity Cashier himself strove to protect and reinforcing a born-in-the-wrong-body narrative. Following a foreword by an academic in transgender studies that identifies Cashier as a trans man, Sanders opens the text with the birthname that Cashier left behind and she/her pronouns, both of which he repeats in the pages describing Cashier’s early life. Three times, Sanders writes that Albert wasn’t “born” a man. In the backmatter, the provided definition for the word “transgender” further reinforces stereotypes by explaining that a transgender person “looks like a boy or a girl” at birth but knows they are different on the inside. The same note lists terms for transgender people used in “Native American tribes, Hawaii, and other countries” without any cultural context. Illustrations with soft brushstrokes and an earthy palette depict Cashier (who is white) in an mostly white world, with the exception of one black comrade in arms.

A disappointing, disrespectful perspective on the experiences of a transgender person. (author’s note, further information, glossary, sources, timeline) (Picture book/biography. 7-11)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0936-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity.

HEAD TO HEAD

18 LINKED PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

Renowned achievers go nose-to-nose on fold-out pages.

Mixing contemporary celebrities with historical figures, Corbineau pairs off his gallery of full-page portraits by theme, the images all reworked from photos or prints into cut-paper collages with highly saturated hues. Gandhi and Rosa Parks exemplify nonviolent protest; Mother Teresa and Angelina Jolie are (mostly) commended for their work with impoverished people; and a “common point” between Gutenberg and Mark Zuckerberg is that both revolutionized the ways we communicate. The portraits, on opposite ends of gatefolds, open to reveal short biographies flanking explanatory essays. Women and people of color are distinctly underrepresented. There are a few surprises, such as guillotined French playwright Olympe de Gouges, linked for her feminism with actress Emma Watson; extreme free-fall jumper Felix Baumgartner, paired with fellow aerialist record-seeker Amelia Earhart; and Nelson Mandela’s co–freedom fighter Jean Moulin, a leader of the French Resistance. In another departure from the usual run of inspirational panegyrics, Cornabas slips in the occasional provocative claim, noting that many countries considered Mandela’s African National Congress a terrorist organization and that Mother Teresa, believing that suffering was “a gift from God,” rarely gave her patients painkillers. Although perhaps only some of these subjects “changed the world” in any significant sense, all come off as admirable—for their ambition, strength of character, and drive.

Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity. (map, timeline) (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6226-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable...

THE BRAVE CYCLIST

THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST HERO

An extraordinary athlete was also an extraordinary hero.

Gino Bartali grew up in Florence, Italy, loving everything about riding bicycles. After years of studying them and years of endurance training, he won the 1938 Tour de France. His triumph was muted by the outbreak of World War II, during which Mussolini followed Hitler in the establishment of anti-Jewish laws. In the middle years of the conflict, Bartali was enlisted by a cardinal of the Italian church to help Jews by becoming a document courier. His skill as a cyclist and his fame helped him elude capture until 1944. When the war ended, he kept his clandestine efforts private and went on to win another Tour de France in 1948. The author’s afterword explains why his work was unknown. Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Bartali’s is a life well worth knowing and well worthy of esteem. Fedele’s illustrations in mostly dark hues will appeal to sports fans with their action-oriented scenes. Young readers of World War II stories will gain an understanding from the somber wartime pages.

What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable springboard. (photograph, select bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68446-063-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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