February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Be Part Of The Solution | SLJ Spotlight

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Teens looking to make a difference in the world will find plenty of fuel in recent offerings, from a look at how we dispose of waste (Michelle Mulder’s Trash Talk!: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World) to an examination of wrongful convictions (Elizabeth A. Murray’s Overturning Wrongful Convictions: Science Serving Justice) to a truly excellent investigation of the Stonewall riots and their significance in the struggle for gay rights (Ann Bausum’s Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights).

stonewallredstarBausum, Ann. Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights. 128p. bibliog. ebook available. index. notes. photos. reprods. Viking. May 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780670016792.

Gr 9 Up –This powerful, well-researched work examines the Stonewall riots, which took place in 1969 in New York City when members of the gay community fought back in response to a police raid on a gay bar. Bausum describes the restrictive lives that many gays and lesbians led in the 1960s and the relief—and risks—of meeting at gay bars. On June 28, 1969, when police arrived at the Stonewall Inn to make arrests, people—transvestites, drag queens, lesbians, and gay men—fought back, instead of filing quietly into police wagons. Quoting from a variety of firsthand sources (journalists, bar patrons, cops, and others), Bausum paints a vivid picture of the three nights of rioting that became the focal point for activists, some of whom had been fighting for gay and lesbian rights in a quieter way and others who found themselves suddenly drawn to the struggle. A month later, a large group of protestors rallied to speak out in Washington Square Park and marched down Christopher Street to the Stonewall Inn in what became the nation’s first gay pride march. In the following chapters, Bausum describes the growth of gay and lesbian activism, setbacks, the impact of HIV/AIDS, and issues such as gays in the military and same-sex marriage, bringing readers to the present day and expertly putting these struggles into historical context. VERDICT An essential purchase.–Nancy Silverrod, San Francisco Public Library

overturningwrongfulconvictionsMurray, Elizabeth A. Overturning Wrongful Convictions: Science Serving Justice. 120p. bibliog. diag. ebook available. further reading. index. notes. photos. reprods. Twenty-First Century. 2015. lib. ed. $33.32. ISBN 9781467725132. LC 2014017225.

Gr 9 Up –This well-researched, extremely thorough look at how the legal system can go awry examines how people end up wrongly incarcerated and the paths that may lead to exoneration. Forensic scientist Murray presents the steps that comprise a criminal case, including arrest, arraignment, trail, plea deals, verdicts, and appeals, before detailing the potential for errors at every stage. She notes that approximately 40,000 to 100,000 people are wrongly behind bars—a staggering statistic. Murray also describes groups that fight wrongful convictions, like the Innocence Project, as well as ways that convicts are exonerated through advances in science, particularly in the area of DNA evidence. Reasons for wrongful convictions are laid out: mishandled evidence, unreliable witness accounts, false confessions, sloppy police work, bad legal counsel, racial prejudice, and mistakes made by judges. Murray looks at what happens next for those who are exonerated, noting the issues that come with reintegration into society. Though the explanations of legal procedures can be on the dense side, the text is broken up by fascinating profiles of individuals who have been exonerated. The writing is on the scholarly side, making it ideal for students doing research or seeking an in-depth analysis of the subject. VERDICT A strong purchase about an always timely issue.–Amanda MacGregor, formerly at Apollo High School Library, St. Cloud, MN

trashtalkMulder, Michelle. Trash Talk!: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World. 48p. ebook available. filmog. further reading. index. photos. reprods. websites. Orca. Apr. 2015. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781459806924. LC 2014952068.

Gr 5-7 –Both a history of trash and a manual of its elimination (or diminution, at least), this nifty book covers a variety of topics, from the trash pits (think archaic sanitary landfills) of the ancient Minoans to the gross filth of New York City in 1850. Employing readable language, Mulder chronicles the development of garbage disposal and goes on to castigate our throw-it-away-and-buy-a-new-one way of thinking. She discusses reformatting, reusing, and repairing to lessen the landfill burdens and presents ways to cut down the enormous amounts of rubbish humans produce on a global daily basis. “Trash Facts” pop up, as do “Take in the Trash” notes. Colorful photos record garbage issues around the world and innovative solutions to cope with this mountainous problem. Pair this with such green titles as Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin’s challenging True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet (National Geographic, 2008) and Brad Herzog’s simpler but eye-catching S Is for Save the Planet: A How-to-Be-Green Alphabet (Sleeping Bear, 2009) for a further look at our smelly, bulky accumulations and inventive ways to change our wasteful ways. VERDICT An informative call to action for young greenies.–Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

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