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: “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.ย 

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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 Revews: “The Slave Yards” by Najwa Bin Shatwan, Nancy Roberts (Translation)

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

Set in 19th century Benghasi, this novel tells the story of Atiqui, who knows she’s mixed race but otherwise doesn’t know much about her parents. One day her cousin Ali shows up with the full story of how her parents met, why she never knew them, and the lineage that entitles her to an inheritance.

While the overt racism can get frustrating, this is a beautifully written historical novel. Aside for my modern abhorrence to racism, sexism, and slavery, this is a sprawling story of forbidden love, solidarity, and survival. This presents an unflinching depiction of life in that time. I found myself riveted, wanting to know what happens next. If you like historical fiction, this is a great entry. 4.7 out of 5

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Lenni Reviews: “The Photographer of Mauthausen” by Salva Rubio & Pedro Columbo

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended for mature readers.

This graphic novel is a dramatized story of Francisco Boix, a Spanish press photographer who ended up the confidant of an SS officer at the Mauthausen concentration camp.

This isn’t an easy read but so many stories came out of this time and a man risking everything to expose the truth of the Nazi camps and try to bring justice is a great addition. How much of this is true, I don’t know but I found this to be compelling and respectful. It’s drawn well with enough detail to get the point without being gratuitous. Just have something happy lined up to read after. 4.7 out of 5.

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

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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.