Saturday, July 11, 2020

Mini Review: Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds and A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G and J.R. Zuckerberg

There is another set of mini reviews today. This time I am featuring a diverse middle grade novel and a queer graphic nonfiction title.

Look Both Ways
By Jason Reynolds
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love how this book is a snapshot of the same time of day, told through ten different vignettes, and sometimes one characters will mention an observation about another that appears in a separate snapshot. I love thinking about how observant students will pick up on this detail. I love the amount of diversity that is in these short snippets. I love the amount of emotions I experienced as I was reading through these snapshots. I love that even through these small snapshots, Reynolds challenges our perceptions and the assumptions we are quick to make. I love how readable this book is and can reach across the gap of "genre" fiction and "literary" fiction and pull even reluctant readers over that gap. 

If you have not read a book by Jason Reynolds yet, you are missing out on a gift that has been given to the world whenever he publishes a book. This particular book is set in the span of one afternoon--in the moments after the final bell rings at the end of a school day. As a school librarian, I often times think about my students and what they experience outside of my school's walls.  I know that some of my students have challenging home lives--and that is putting it nicely. What struck me about this book is as an educator, it really has me thinking about this and especially right now because of COVID-19 (and summer vacation). 

A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities
By Mady G and J.R. Zuckerberg
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I found this to be a great primer to educate myself to be sure I understand the queer terms my students use. I also wanted to read it so I know how to best recommend it to my students as well, especially for those that are questioning and figuring out their own identities. I pride myself on being that safe space/safe person for students to be able to be their authentic self. I also love the trans flag colors are used throughout this book, using the pink tones as the education aspect of the book and the blue tones as the story of a character realizing what makes them feel best.  Lastly, using the snail as a way to educate others was interesting choice until I learned they are hermaphrodites. Final thoughts on this one is this is an excellent addition to my school's graphic nonfiction collection and a great way for those exploring or wanting to learn about queer and trans identities, this is an engaging format. 

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