Lenni Reviews: “Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts” by Rebecca Hall & Hugo Martinez

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Part memoir, this graphic novel details Rebecca Hall’s research into women who have lead slave revolts and the barriers to the silenced stories of the past.

This book can be dry. It’s hard to go through historical events and show research and statistics and also be entertaining but entertainment isn’t the point. I feel like I learned a lot from this book in an easily digestible format. I think it should be used to teach others about this part of our history. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem” by Steve Niles, Matt Santoro & Dave Wachter

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During WWII, a Allied plane crashes near a small Jewish villiage. While the citizens don’t agree on whether or not to hide the injured pilot, the Nazis come to investigate the village. Rightfully fearing the worst, they summon a golem made of mud to protect themselves.

Poignant and short, this is a beautiful story about family, faith, and honor. It does a great job with it’s story; leaving no room for fluff. Usually something this short would feel incomplete but this is satisfying and highly recommended. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Across the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre” by Alverne Ball, Stacey Robinson, Reynaldo Anderson & Collette Yellowrobe

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Starting from the founding of Greenwood by C. W. Gurley, this graphic novel tells the history of Black Wall Street as more than just the place where the Tulsa Race Massacre occurred.

I liked that the focus in this graphic novel isn’t just how Greenwood was destroyed. Normally all people talk about is how great it was but only detail how it was destroyed; not the professionals and business people who lived and thrived there. This is a great resource to learn more about this time in history; especially for young adults. 4.7 out of 5.

 

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Lenni Reviews: “White All Around” by Wilfrid Lupano, Stephane Fert & Montana Kane

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

In Canterbury Connecticut 1832, Black people may not be slaves but they are not free. When an all girls boarding school moves to accept Black students, that fact becomes sadly and dangerously clear.

This is as realistic a portrayal as it can be if you want young children to read it; telling a little known story in American history. I think people should check tis book out as a starting point to learning more as it shows how racism endured after slavery and what education access means – especially to minorities. It’s beautifully drawn but breezes along a bit too quick but that’s to be expected of historical graphic novels as page limits and entertainment value are factors. 4 out of 5. 

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Lenni Reviews: “Irena: Life After the Ghetto” by Jean-David Morvan, Séverine Tréfouël & David Evrard

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

This volume follows Irena as she continues to help children and others as the war winds down; acting as  a nurse to help injured people.

This is still a great series highlighting the bravery of a woman who just wanted to do the right thing during horrible times. Everything is handled tastefully and it’s really inspiring. I think Irena would like this series if she could see it. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Irena: Book Two: Children of the Ghetto” by Jean-David Morvan

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

In a switch up in form, this volume starts with Oliwka, one of the children Irena saved, telling her story to her own daughter before an event where Irena speaks to continue from where the first volume left off. Irena is saved from prison and immediately goes back to helping people escape.

Much like the first, I found this to be beautifully and tastefully done. If you want to introduce someone to Irena’s story and work, I think this is a great primer for further research. The art may be simple but it gets the point across as to the horrors of this point in history. If you like historical graphic novels, this is a great read. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Tiananmen 1989” by Lun Zhang, Adrien Gombeaud & Améziane

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Our narrator, Lun Zhang; a sociology professor, recounts his experiences in Tiananmen during a mass protest by students for political reforms in China.

Like the other graphic novels I’ve read about historical events, this book breaks down a complicated event into an easily digestible and visually interesting way that I believe will inform and entertain the reader. I was only 8 years old when all this wend down so I had no idea what as going on. The book is a bit dry in parts and there are historical names dropped that I don’t have enough context to be impressed by but this is pretty darn solid. 3.9 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights” by Mikki Kendall & A. D’Amico

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When this book says it’s a graphic history, it absolutely means it. It covers a LOT of people, so many in fact most entries are a single page. The goal of the book is clearly to show these women existed at all; providing the reader a chance to find out more about them if they choose.

While it’s a bit of a massive info-dump, it’s a great primer on what has been achieved in women’s rights and shows the work that still needs to be done. If you want to dip your toes into the history of women’s rights, absolutely hand them this book. 4 out of 5.

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