Hispanic Star: Sylvia Rivera

Roaring Brook. (Hispanic Star). May 2023. 128p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250828163.
Gr 3-6–This entry of the “Hispanic Star” chapter book biography series covers Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman who fought for trans rights. The novel is linear in its telling with sidebar pages that inform readers of the evolutions of trans-related terminology over the years. Other sidebar pages explain the difference between HIV and AIDS. The work explores Rivera’s childhood and how she experienced a loss of family structure and endured a macho culture that put a strain on her relationship with her father. The book addresses several historical events that Rivera participated in or was affected by, such as the Lavender Scare, which was the persecution of homosexual people during McCarthyism, and the social revolution of the 1960s, led by the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, and civil rights leaders. However, trans and queer people were rarely invited under the umbrella of these fights for human and basic rights. Gay liberation and Rivera’s instrumental involvement in the Stonewall uprising are covered as well, especially for her advocacy for trans people. The writing style is instructional and explanatory but often didactic. This book is more about trans liberation than specifically about Rivera, but readers will get a lot out of it.
VERDICT Purchase this foremost to round out collections with a much-needed historical exploration of trans rights, not as a biography.

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