Book Review | Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out edited by Susan Kuklin

beyond-magenta-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press
RELEASE DATE: February 11, 2014
GENRE: Young Adult Nonfiction, LGBTQIA

Through six short memoirs transcribed from interviews, Beyond Magenta explores what it’s like to come of age as a trans-spectrum teen.  A crucial lesson this book teaches is to see gender and sexuality as something with infinite colourful shades.  To really know someone’s story, you have to be humble and open-hearted enough to listen to them tell it in their own words.
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Book Review | Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation edited by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman

gender-outlaws-the-next-generation-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
EDITORS: Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman
RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2010
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir, LGBTQI+

The second gender-bending anthology edited by Kate Bornstein brings together an extraordinary range of trans-spectrum creators.  This book celebrates diverse LGBTQI+ experiences, while encouraging readers to take a long, hard look at their society’s gender laws.  

Instead of looking to the binaries for answers – male/female, femininity/masculinity, sex/gender – I’ve decided to take my body back for myself – for me to shape, show off, love and dress and play.  But above all, for me to name – Transliteration by Francisco Fernández

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Book Review | The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

the-absolutely-true-diary-of-a-part-time-indian-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
AUTHOR: Sherman Alexie
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: September 12, 2007
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction, Own Voices

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is the heartwarming and unforgettable story of Arnold Spirit a.k.a. Junior.  Everyone on the Spokane Indian reservation assumes he’ll never make it to college, and will continue his family’s pattern of poverty.  But Junior is determined not to live the life laid out for him.  

People on the rez call 14-year-old Junior a loser for many reasons: besides wearing glasses and being born with “water on the brain”, he refuses to follow in his parents’ footsteps.  So Junior does the unthinkable and moves to a middle-class, all-white public school beyond the rez.  When he’s accused of betraying the tribe, Junior must prove himself to his new and old friends.   Continue reading

Book Review | Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East by Benjamin Law

gaysia-review-paiges-pageTITLE: Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East
AUTHOR: Benjamin Law
RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2012
GENRE: Nonfiction, LGBTQI+, Own Voices

Who better to talk about LGBTQI+ life in Asia than Benjamin Law?  Openly gay and born in Australia to Chinese immigrant parents, he approaches Gaysia with concern and respect… not to mention the perfect dose of comedy.  

Gaysia is a journalistic adventure into the LGBTQI+ nerve centre of Asia, from “clothing optional” gay resorts in Bali, to the homes of Chinese gays and lesbians who fake heternormative marriages to keep their identities secret.  Law opened my eyes to a diverse range of socio-political landscapes, all posing unique challenges to the LGBTQI+ community.

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Book Review | Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia Edited by Amra Pajalic & Demet Divaroren

coming-of-age-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia
EDITORS: Amra Pajalic and Demet Divaroren
PUBLISHER: Allen & Unwin
RELEASE DATE: February 2014
GENRE: Junior Nonfiction, Religion

This collection of short memoirs shares the challenges of growing up Muslim in Australia.  I love that the focus of Coming of Age is on the struggles of being a young person, irrespective of religion.  This makes the authors relatable to junior readers everywhere.  

I wondered if there were going to be girls like me from the Middle East.  Would there be any Muslim students in my class?  And how many of them would have just arrived in Australia as I had?  Would they speak Arabic like me?  Would I be able to keep up with the schoolwork?  Would I make friends? – Muslim Footprint by Arwa El Masri page 84 Continue reading

Book Review | Walking Towards Ourselves: Indian Women Tell Their Stories edited by Catriona Mitchell

walking-towards-ourselves-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Walking Towards Ourselves: Indian Women Tell Their Stories
EDITOR: Catriona Mitchell
PUBLISHER: Hardie Grant Publishing
RELEASE DATE: April 16, 2016
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir, Politics

In one of the world’s most patriarchal societies, Indian women break their silence by sharing their most intimate stories.  This powerful collection features diverse experiences of womanhood and motherhood in India, to educate and empower with raw honesty.  Walking Towards Ourselves is the most moving and enriching book I’ve had the privilege to read this year.

India is a land where women are worshipped as goddesses … But the real strength of Indian women, those unsung heroines who hold up more than half the sky, comes from the disadvantaged, the indigent and marginalised, the often-silenced majority who till the soil, graze their cattle, work in menial domestic jobs, and look after and sustain their immediate and extended families – Foreword by Namita Gokhale page 4 Continue reading

Book Review | We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists Book Review Paige's PagesTITLE: We Should All Be Feminists
AUTHOR: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
PUBLISHER: Fourth Estate
RELEASE DATE: October 9, 2014
GENRE: Essay, Politics

This pocket-sized essay is developed from the famous TEDx talk by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie.  Although it will take less than an hour to read, its message is powerful enough to resonate for a lifetime.  With exceptional clarity, it uses personal stories to make the damaging effects of gender politics visible to a universal audience.  We Should All Be Feminists is crucial reading for every man, women, and child.  

Gender matters everywhere in the world.  And I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world.  A fairer world.  A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves.  And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently.  We must also raise our sons differently – page 25 Continue reading

Book Review | Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

Barracuda Review Paige's PagesTITLE: Barracuda
AUTHOR: Christos Tsiolkas
PUBLISHER: Allen & Unwin
RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2013
GENRE: Adult Fiction, LGBTQI+

Undressing cultural taboos, Barracuda is a crucial book for everyday Australians.  Now with a brand new ABC mini-series, I can’t wait for it to rise to the same fame as author Christos Tsiolkas’ controversial novel, The Slap. 

14-year-old Danny is at home in the water.  He is obsessed with being the best swimme at his school and making it to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  Failure is unthinkable. Continue reading