cover image Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities

Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities

Chris Barton, illus. by Paul Hoppe. Dial, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3310-7

In 10 impeccably crafted profiles, Barton (The Day-Glo Brothers) shares the stories of individuals%E2%80%94many just teenagers%E2%80%94who adopted false identities for amusement, profit, or survival. From Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Civil War, to 16-year-old Keron Thomas, who in 1993 impersonated a transit worker to fulfill his dream of piloting a New York City subway train, Barton reveals the motivations behind and the consequences of each deception. The use of second-person narration is very effective, allowing readers to assume the identities of each individual. Barton's prose captures the daring, ingenuity, and quick thinking required of each imposter ("You can bluster and grumble with the best of them.... You use up your share of tobacco too," he writes of Wakeman). In the most powerful stories, assuming a false identity was a life or death decision, as with Soloman Perel, a Jewish teenager who joined the Hitler Youth to escape being killed, and Ellen Craft, a slave who disguised herself as a white Southern gentleman to escape to the North. Hoppe contributes dynamic comic book%E2%80%93style panel art, not all seen by PW. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (Apr.)