Graphic Memoir Review | Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

persepolis-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
AUTHOR: Marjane Satrapi
PUBLISHER: Pantheon
RELEASE DATE: 2000
GENRE: Graphic Memoir
PAGE COUNT: 153


Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s first person account of growing up as a politically active girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  While giving readers insight into life during that time, what stood out to me most was how coming of age goes hand-in-hand with developing new ways of seeing the world.

In Persepolis, Marjane is a hotheaded young girl.  With the unfiltered honesty of a child, she is outspoken with her political opinions.  She is never afraid to stand up for what she believes, even to the point of putting herself in harm’s way – she’s no stranger to death, having witnessed bombings, stabbings, and executions of political refugees.   Continue reading

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#IWD2017 Double Review | The Fictional Woman / Speaking Out: A 21st-Century Handbook for Women and Girls by Tara Moss

Using her wealth of experience as an international model, bestselling crime novelist, human rights activist, and mother, Tara Moss equips readers to confront gender inequality in every aspect of society.  If The Fictional Woman is the ultimate “beginner’s guide” to gender inequality, then Speaking Out is your “travelling companion”.  Through immersive research and intimate wisdom, this dynamic duo will educate and empower.  

I listened to The Fictional Woman and Speaking Out as audio books, and now have a HUGE crush on Tara Moss’s voice.  As a strong and confident speaker, her warmth and wisdom bursts through her rich tone.  Hearing the author read her own work is intimate, and sometimes unearthed my own pain.  Although I plan to buy all my female friends and family members these books for Christmas, I know I’ll be returning to the audio versions.

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

beyond-magenta-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
EDITOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: Susan Kuklin
PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press
RELEASE DATE: February 11, 2014
GENRE: Young Adult Nonfiction, LGBTQIA
PAGE COUNT: 192


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
PUBLISHER: Seal Press
RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2010
GENRE: Nonfiction, Memoir, LGBTQI+
PAGE COUNT: 304


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
PAGE COUNT: 230


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 | The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

the-chocolate-war-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Chocolate War
AUTHOR: Robert Cormier
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
RELEASE DATE: 1974
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT: 267


Think it’s easy to tell the ‘good guys’ from the ‘bad guys’?  If you turn a blind eye to a bad system, are you part of the problem?  The Chocolate War is a nail-biting adventure into a world of psychological warfare and anarchy… high school.

Jerry Renault is the new kid at Trinity, an all boys Catholic high school.  Archie Costello and his secret society, the Vigils, exercise a reign of fear over the school.  When Brother Leon enlists Archie’s help to make the annual fundraising chocolate sale is a success, it looks like they’ve got it in the bag.  That is until Jerry disobeys the Vigils by refusing to sell chocolates.  Soon enough, Trinity is a war zone divided by chocolate. Continue reading

Book Review | George by Alex Gino

george-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: George
AUTHOR: Alex Gino
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
RELEASE DATE: August 25, 2015
GENRE: Junior Fiction, LGBTQI+
PAGE COUNT: 195


You may be surprised to hear that a children’s book would be my pick above many of the LGBTQI+ books written for adults.  Why?  George’s representation of a transgender child captures the feeling of being “born this way”.  It talks about gender in a way that young readers can understand, and which also has the power to educate adults.  

Fourth-grader, George, is determined to be Charlotte in the class production of Charlotte’s Web.  This is the chance she’s been waiting for to tell the world she’s a girl.  But when the teachers refuse to even let her audition for a girl’s role, her flamboyant best friend Kelly comes up with a daring plan to make George’s dreams comes true. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review | The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg

the-plain-janes-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Plain Janes
AUTHOR: Cecil Castellucci
ARTIST: Jim Rugg
PUBLISHER: Minx
RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2007
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Young Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT: 176


The Plain Janes is the delightful story of how art changed a small community’s outlook on life.  With media constantly encouraging us to fear the unknown, this book reminds us that opening our eyes to everyday beauty can save our sanity.  

After she survives a bomb attack, Jane’s family relocates from the city to the suburbs.  At her new high school, she finds her tribe: Jane the theatre lover (TheatreJane), science whiz Jayne (BrainJayne), and Polly Jane (SportyJane).   Continue reading

Book Review | The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

the-art-of-being-normal-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Art of Being Normal
AUTHOR: Lisa Williamson
PUBLISHER: David Fickling Books
RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2015
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQI+
PAGE COUNT: 353


Is “normal” worth changing for?  Through its split narrative style, The Art of Being Normal explores the universal themes of identity and self-acceptance from the perspective of transgender teens.  

Only David’s best friends know she’s a girl.  She’s pretty happy with life at the moment, if only she weren’t so nervous about coming out to her parents.  When the new kid defends her from a bully, David is determined to get to the bottom of his mysterious past.  But Leo is a tough nut to crack.

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

gaysia-review-paiges-pageTITLE: Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East
AUTHOR: Benjamin Law
PUBLISHER: Black Inc.
RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2012
GENRE: Nonfiction, LGBTQI+, Own Voices
PAGE COUNT: 288


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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