Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I'll be at #NY17SCBWI

how about you?

And once again I'm honored to be hosting the LGBTQ + Allies Social (with special conference faculty guests!) on Saturday February 11, 2017 at 8:30pm (right after the Gala!)

Find out all the conference info here. Registration is open for this amazing conference that sells out year after year. Hope to see you theere!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Monday, October 24, 2016

Our latest Authors and Illustrators for Children... For Hillary Clinton video


A week ago, John McCain had the audacity to promise that Republicans "will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up. I promise you."

It's a great argument to not only elect Hillary Clinton, but to elect her with a mandate, and a congress that's willing to work together to get things done.

Consider sharing this with everyone you know who is in a swing state.

We've got to win this one. For children. And all of us!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Friday, October 21, 2016

Alok Vaid-Menon: Gender Selfie-Determination

This hour and fifteen minute lecture by Alok Vaid-Menon at the Annenberg Space for Photography is brilliant, and thought-provoking, and very moving.

Some highlights:

On speaking of themselves and fellow Trans and gender non-conforming people, Alok says,

"the reason we are punished is not because we are different but rather because people recognize a part of themselves in us that they had to destroy in order to get here."

"There are as many genders as there are people in the world."

"I am not actually gender non-conforming. You only see me as such because you are filtering my image through your gender binary."

"You are not who you look like, you are who you are."

"When we're talking about being tortured in the streets and you call us beautiful..." means you see us as "walking portraits and not actually as people."


"I'm fighting to be recognized as a person, but we exist in a culture right now where trans people are not people."

Alok's talk is important and, as a starting point, I wish every GSA would watch and discuss. I encourage you to watch and discuss it as well!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Breakthrough - Nonfiction about a gay teen scientist

Breakthrough by Jack Andraka, with Matthew Lysiak.
Teen scientist Jack Andraka’s journey through middle and high school is replete with homophobic persecution at school and skepticism from the scientific community. Between developing an early and inexpensive test for pancreatic cancer and establishing his own sense of self-worth, Jack’s story is a beacon of inspiration and hope.

Okay, I can't wait to read this one - and it was a top ten choice of the ALA's Rainbow List for 2016! Add your review of "Breakthrough" in comments!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Do You Know Any Undecided Voters in the upcoming USA Presidential Election?

If you only have a second, share this with them:

If you have a minute and a half, share one of these Authors and Illustrators for Children videos with them:



Fame ≠ Experience

If you have a half hour, share this amazing Michelle Obama speech with them:

Let's all do what we can to make sure that our next US President is Hillary Clinton. As Michelle Obama says so brilliantly (at 13:47 into her speech) ~

"Because lets be very clear. Strong men - strong men - men who are truly role models, don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. And that is what we need in our next President. We need someone who is a uniting force in this country. We need someone who will heal the wounds that divide us. Someone who truly cares about us and our children. Someone with strength and compassion to lead this country forward. And let me tell you, I'm here today because I believe with all of my heart that Hillary Clinton will be that President."

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

See lots more resources at and by following Authors and Illustrators for Children on social media with the hashtag #AuthorsandIllustrators4Clinton

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Revised Birth Announcement For A Trans Teen

This was so wonderful, to see the love with which Kal's family embraces their child! The story is from 2014, but I'm just catching up to it now.

The clipping reads:

In 1995 we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son - Kal Bogert.
Loving you in the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room.

So powerful and, as a parent – as a human being – inspiring. You can read more about the story here.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Doug Locke's #ThisCouldBeUs - A gay love music video you have to see

This really moved me:

Thanks, Doug.

And on Yom Kippur, the traditional day in Jewish life when you take stock of your year past and aim to do better in the year ahead, I know I have wishes for these two characters and their own happy ever after...

Meanwhile, for those of us whose lives are real, let's be as authentic as we can be!

Sound like a plan?

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Monday, October 10, 2016

Have you been following the Alicia Keys #nomakeup movement?

Here's a quick way to catch up, in this New York Times article by Penelope Green, "Alicia Keys and the 'Tyranny of Makeup."

Hurray for Alicia for having the courage to say makeup isn't right for her right now.

Hurray for having the courage to do something different than what everyone else is doing.

Hurray for all of us being authentically ourselves, and no one feeling like they 'have' to wear makeup!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Friday, October 7, 2016

It's LGBTQ History Month!

Don't know all the names on this list? That's the point - get to know our LGBTQ history! (And, to make the point, it's ALL of our history, whether we are LGBTQ or not.)

Check out the website for all the 2016 profiles, videos, and downloadable bio pages!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Magician and Comedian Justin Willman explains everything you need to know about Trans and Gender NonConforming people using bathrooms in under 2 minutes

This is brilliant.

It does have one sexual reference in it, so if that's off-putting for you, just read the article instead.

Having said that, the video is funny and, yeah - brilliant:

Justin, you have new fan!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Monday, October 3, 2016

Putting out the call to Editors and Agents who want more diversity in their submissions!

In an effort to be more democratic about this, I'm putting out the call.

Children's and Teen literature agents and editors - if you believe in #WeNeedDiverseBooks, and if you want to see more diversity in the submissions you receive, and you would like to do an interview here on this blog about diversity (like the twenty AGENTS LOOKING FOR DIVERSITY and EDITORS LOOKING FOR DIVERSITY interviews that have been done so far - check out the column to the right) then please be in touch.

My email is leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com

I look forward to hearing from you, and to this series continuing proudly on to help amplify unheard voices, open up more opportunity for diverse authors and illustrators -- and for creators working on under-represented stories, and to make kid lit even better!

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

p.s.: To avoid the potential awkwardness of me having to vet people, please help me by vetting yourself if you haven't presented at a SCBWI conference in your current capacity... Note that to be included, agents need to have at least three kidlit deals that are publicly listed (i.e., somewhere like publishers marketplace) and editors need to work for a company that doesn't publish just their own books (i.e, at least three other kidlit authors.) Thanks for your understanding!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Your #BannedBooksWeek Reading List

So, taking at look at the ALA's report of the top 10 most challenged books in 2015, I see a pattern.

For your convenience, I've highlighted it:

Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).

I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint,
religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).

The Holy Bible
Reasons: Religious viewpoint.

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).

Habibi, by Craig Thompson
Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.

Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

Note that "Homosexuality" is used to cover the two books, I am Jazz and Beyond Magenta, which are both about being Transgender. Gender identity is different than affective orientation, so they could work on their complaint. And it's super-insulting to say a book about real Trans teens in real families is "anti-family."

Fun Home's pivot is the LGBTQ-ness of two main characters, so "other" and "graphic images" seems like a cipher for the real issue. And citing it for 'violence' is ridiculous - I'm not even sure what they're referring to. At least the complaint for Two Boys Kissing is on the money, and they didn't even have to read the book to figure that out. Yes, it's gay. And yes, it condones public displays of affection.

Read all four. In fact, read all ten. (Well, maybe not the Bible. But if it's your cup of tea... Funny how that's on the list this year! And note that Fifty Shades of Gray is a very popular adult erotic novel.)

The point is, we should all have the freedom to read, and parents and caring adults should be able to have these conversations with the young people in their lives without external forces keeping options from them.

Books can be a light in the world, and in our lives. We should let them shine.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Changing Hats

I'm excited to share that I'm stepping up to a more major position at Authors and Illustrators for Children, and I'll be working through to election day (Nov 8 - don't forget to vote!) as their Advisory Board Member in Charge of Communications and Social Media as well as their Spokesperson.

I'm really excited because we need to make sure our next president is Hillary Clinton!

Of course, this new hat means I'm wearing too many hats... so tomorrow, Thursday September 29, 2016 will be my last day working for Little Pickle Press. It's been a full year, and I've learned so much, and done some projects I'm really proud of.

And now, on to elect President Hillary Clinton!

Thanks for letting me share,

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Monday, September 26, 2016

2016's Banned Books Week (Sept 25 - Oct 1) Celebrates Diversity and the Freedom To Read!

In this article, "Why Diverse Books Are Commonly Banned," Maggie Jacoby writes,
The University of Wisconsin’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) and publisher Lee & Low have provided statistics from 1994 to 2012 that illustrate that while 37% of the U.S. population are people of color, only 10% of books published focus on multicultural content. In addition, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, has determined that 52% of the books challenged, or banned, over the past decade are from titles that are considered diverse content. These statistics are troubling and create more questions than answers.

52% of the banned books are diverse? When diverse books are only 10% of the books published? That a call for change!

So this week, read a diverse book, and know that by doing that, you're celebrating our freedom to read.

You can find out lots more about Banned Books Week here.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Friday, September 23, 2016

And... It's my new Author Photo!

Thanks, Michele Baron!

You'll be seeing this new image of me across social media. After all, it's my new, fun author photo! Yay!

Oh, and did I mention it's going to be on my book? Yup, this is the official author photo for THE QUEER HISTORY PROJECT: NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY?

How cool is that? Very!

-The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,