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Idiom Vol 53 No1

Finding Nevo

Finding NevoAuthorNevo Zisin
Publisher: Black Dog Books (Walker Books, 2017), 224 pages
RRP: $18.99

Finding Nevo is an autobiography from Nevo Zisin, a young human being who identifies as neither male nor female. Nevo’s story is a fascinating and insightful one, as they take us on their journey from young girl who wanted to be a boy, through their tween years where they struggled to conform to society’s expectations, to the teenager who came out as a lesbian with a loving girlfriend, to taking testosterone as a late teen to combat their gender dysphoria, and finally to the realisation that they don’t fall anywhere on the binary spectrum.

What makes Nevo’s story so captivating is their honesty and earnestness, as they describe how it felt not being accepted by the people around them, something that many young people can relate to, no matter their sexuality or situation in life. Nevo presents a number of themes and topics that are wholly relevant to our students and this would be a valuable resource to them, to help them realise that it’s okay not to know, that they need to trust themselves, and that it will get better.

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Here I Stand: Stories That Speak For Freedom

Small Here I StandEditor: Amnesty International UK
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd (2016), 311 pages
RRP: $22.99

Here I Stand is an amalgamation of stories from writers around the world and aimed at a teenage audience. The book includes twenty-five short stories (including two graphic), poems and an interview that deal with essential themes relating to Human Rights, including power: it’s use, abuse and loss; the intertwining of hope and despair; and the physical, emotional and mental suffering that often results when all these themes are encountered. Here I Stand is often hard to read: it opens with six short vignettes from victims, perpetrators and prosecutors of sexual abuse, immediately highlighting to readers that human rights atrocities don’t just occur in third world or repressed countries. The complexities of domestic violence, inequality, combat zones and suicide bombings, racism, homophobia and refugees are further explored in an open and honest way and for many students, this may be confronting. The redeeming and most moving feature of the text; however, is the underlying message that every single person can initiate and facilitate change – a notable message made obvious through Frances Hardinge’s Bystander.

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