(H)afrocentric: Vols. 1–4

"Jewels." illus. by Ronald Nelson & Mike Hampton. 120p. PM Pr. Nov. 2017. pap. $20. ISBN 9781629634487.
Gr 10 Up—Naima is a student at Ronald Reagan University, where she strives to live up to her dreams of being a revolutionary, black, feminist activist. Determined and confident, Naima brings together the people in her life, such as her best friend Renee, who is queer; her apathetic brother Miles; and their Chicano friend El, to help her change the world. Packed with references to significant counterculture and African American movements, this graphic novel (begun as a webcomic) moves incredibly quickly among genres and topics. Intersectionality and the divide between privileged "enlightenment" and radical race relations are the backbone of the whip-smart, wildly original comic. Satire (an internship opportunity for black interpreters for white people, a protest sign—wielding fairy godmother) simultaneously diffuses and highlights the heavy reality of the issues discussed. The art is approachable but not predictable, with close-ups of angry faces and fluid backgrounds that add to the raw feeling of the work. The result of so many great things packed into a small package is that the book sometimes falters under its own weight, making some pages hard to follow.
VERDICT While cultural references may leave younger teens and those unfamiliar with social justice frustrated, those discovering a desire for activism will be eager to learn from Naima. Highly recommended for collections serving older teens.

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