Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Cool for the Summer - A Teen Girl Finally Gets the Guy of Her Dreams... But Can't Stop Thinking About This Girl She Was Romantic With Over the Summer


Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

Lara's had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He's tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he's talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe...flirting, even? No, wait, he's definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara's wanted out of life.
Except she's haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she's finally got the guy, why can't she stop thinking about the girl?
Add your review of "Cool for the Summer" in comments!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Seven Highlights of #NY21SCBWI (plus my top inspiration, and some gratitude, too.)


Highlights:

Some moments from the wonderful SCBWI 2021 Winter Conference that are still resonating for me:

"I wrote this book for you and girls like you, because you deserve to see Black girls on the cover of books." Reneé Watson, speaking to her goddaughter Ryan in her Golden Kite Award best middle grade/young reader fiction acceptance speech for Ways to Make Sunshine

"You have to get the story right and the music right." – Matt de la Peña, on writing picture books

"Creativity is a thing that gets me through hard times." – Christian Robinson

My answer to you couldn't do that... "I did it anyway and it went great." – Jean Feiwel

"That new book needs to tell its own story, and not be just a giant epilogue." A new story where characters have a chance to breathe, a chance to discover things about themselves, and discover things about each other." – Becky Albertalli, on writing a sequel

"If I can't do it authentically, I'm not interested in performing it for people." – Adam Silvera, on social media

"I like books that allow me to enter them," and too many words get in the way. – Patricia MacLachlan

Inspiration

My biggest inspirational moment happened during the honor of hosting the LGBTQ+ and Allies social. Coming back from multiple breakout rooms, people spoke about a number of people writing stories with LGBTQ characters and themes where they're writing #QueerJoy. 

#QueerJoy - I love that!

Gratitude

My gratitude as well to my fellow members of SCBWI Team Blog for this conference: Debbie Ohi, Lakita Wilson, Jaime Temairik, Jolie Stekly, and Don Tate. And to Lin Oliver everyone at SCBWI who pulled off a virtual conference with over 4,000 attendees, and allowed me be part of it!

Thanks for letting me share,
Lee

Friday, February 19, 2021

Pre-Order Plan Reveal For "No Way, They Were Gay?" - Let's Empower LGBTQ Youth Together!

So you may have heard I have a book coming out. In April. It's nonfiction, and it's the kind of book that would have totally changed my life if I'd read it when I was 11. Or 15. Or heck, any time up through my writing it. (And I've been working on it since 2010.)

It's called NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? HIDDEN LIVES AND SECRET LOVES, and it's being published by Lerner Publishing Group's Zest Books imprint. It was honored as a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. And it's all about empowering young LGBTQ people.


So I've cooked up this fun pre-order idea. For folks to buy a copy from my local indie bookstore, Pages: A Bookstore in Manhattan Beach, California, to donate to an LGBTQ teen via this wonderful nonprofit, Brave Trails.

It's all being set up, and there will be a special landing page for the virtual book launch party and everything, but I wanted to let you all know about this. Because, wouldn't it be amazing to put this book into the hands of just the readers for whom it will make a huge impact for the good?

And yes, No Way, They Were Gay? is a book about history, but it's not history like I was taught history, all dates and names to memorize. It's not history as medicine. It's more like chocolate. Empowering chocolate.

Because history is fascinating when you put aside the denials of hundreds of years of historians and actually let people tell you their own truths. Primary source materials - like letters, diary entries, poems, songs, ancient artwork - let us hear the stories of men who loved men, women who loved women, people who loved without regard to gender, and people who lived outside gender boundaries.

It's super cool. And exciting! If you want to get a head start on the preorder donation, you can preorder the book at Pages: A Bookstore now. But you can wait until the launch party event page is up, too. Either way, save the date - April 6, 2021 at 5pm Pacific.

And just to keep the fun going, here are three TikTok posts that are helping build the buzz...

@leewind

Abraham Lincoln spills the tea... ##iwroteabook ##foryou ##fyp ##booktok ##queerbooktok ##nowaytheyweregay ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queerhistory ##lgbtq

♬ I'm Coming Out - Diana Ross


@leewind

Queen Anne spills the tea... ##Iwroteabook ##foryou ##fyp ##booktok ##queerbooktok ##nowaytheyweregay ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##lgbtq

♬ Run The World (Girls) (Glee Cast Version) - Glee Cast


@leewind

Pharaoh Hatshepsut spills the tea... ##iwroteabook ##foryou ##fyp ##booktok ##queerbooktok ##nowaytheyweregay ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queerhistory ##lgbtq

♬ I Am Changing - Jennifer Hudson


Thanks for sharing this adventure with me, because amazingly enough, Queer history really is everywhere! And know that can change everything.

Gratefully,
Lee

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Reverie - A YA Fantasy Where Dreams Become Reality (with a Gay Teen Main Character)


Reverie by Ryan La Sala

A few weeks ago, Kane Montgomery was in an accident that robbed him of his memory. The only thing he knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. The world as he knows it feels different—reality seems different. And when strange things start happening around him, Kane isn't sure where to turn.

And then three of his classmates show up, claiming to be his friends and the only people who can tell him what's truly going on. Kane doesn't know what to believe or who he can trust. But as he and the others are dragged into increasingly fantastical dream worlds drawn from imagination, it becomes clear that there is dark magic at work. Nothing in Kane's life is an accident, and only he can keep the world itself from unraveling.

Oh, and Kane is Gay and has a new boyfriend...

Add your review of "Reverie" in comments!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Attending #NY21SCBWI? Join me and some special faculty guests at Tuesday Feb 16th's LGBTQ+ and Allies Social!

It's one of my favorite times of the year... And my favorite safe space gathering of community within the larger SCBWI community!

And even though the SCBWI Winter Conference is an all-virtual event this 2021, there's still going to be an LGBTQ+ and Allies Social!

Are you writing, illustrating, or translating works for kids, tweens, or teens with LGBTQAI2+ characters or themes? Or are you thinking of doing so? Then this is the social for you!

I'm hosting, and you can join in. 

Day: Tuesday February 16, 2021

Time: 4pm Pacific - 5pm Pacific

We'll be gathering in a safe space zoom room, and our special faculty guests will include Jane Yolen (multi award-winning author of 386 books for kids and adults)


The "How Do Dinosaurs..." series may be better known, but this is the most recent of Jane's titles.


Heidi Stemple (author of, most recently, with Jane, I Am The Storm)




Laurent Linn (author/illustrator of the YA novel Draw the Line and art director at Simon & Schuster




along with SCBWI staff moderators April Powers, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer at SCBWI



Julian Petri,


SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver,



Associate Executive Director Sarah Baker,



Director of Special Projects Kim Turrisi,



as well as Claudia Pearson and Debra Schmidt.

Conference registrants will receive a PDF schedule with event links. On clicking to join, you'll have to register for this zoom social with your name and email, and then you'll be welcomed in.

We hope to see you there. Stay safe,
Lee

***UPDATE Tuesday Feb 16, 2021 at 11:30am Pacific: If you're registered for the conference, check your email for a special link to this event.***

Friday, February 12, 2021

Pet - A Black Trans Main Character Has To Save Her Friend From a Monster - But How Can You Share The Truth When The World Is In Denial?


Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?

There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with the lesson that the city is safe for everyone. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature who some might call monstrous but, in reality, is anything but, she must reconsider what she's been told. Pet has emerged from one of her mother's paintings to hunt a true monster--and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. No one has encountered monsters in years, though, and Jam's quest to protect her best friend and uncover the truth is met with doubt and disbelief. 

A National Book Award Finalist and Stonewall Book Award Winner, you can add your review of "Pet" in comments!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea - YA Fantasy Adventure with a Queer Teen Love Story at its Center


The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

In a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic, a desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial lady find a connection on the high seas.

The pirate Florian, born Flora, has always done whatever it takes to survive--including sailing under false flag on the Dove as a marauder, thief, and worse. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, a highborn Imperial daughter, is on board as well--accompanied by her own casket. But Evelyn's one-way voyage to an arranged marriage in the Floating Islands is interrupted when the captain and crew show their true colors and enslave their wealthy passengers.

Both Florian and Evelyn have lived their lives by the rules, and whims, of others. But when they fall in love, they decide to take fate into their own hands--no matter the cost.


Add your review of "The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea" in comments!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Foreword Reviews Says NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? "transmits rare facts and firsthand accounts with a sense of joyous wonder...[to] reverse queer historical erasure."

Hurrah!

No Way, They Were Gay? gets it's second editorial trade review!




I'm so jazzed their reviewer (Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers) "got" it, and since Foreword Reviews "only recommends books that we love" it's even more of a grand compliment. Here's another excerpt from the review:

From Gandhi to Eleanor Roosevelt, Wind doesn’t shy away from revealing his subjects in their full complexity. A fellow traveler and guide on a journey of discovery, Wind calls out the shadow sides of those profiled, as well as what’s laudable. His book transmits rare facts and firsthand accounts with a sense of joyous wonder. It also encourages readers to come to their own conclusions about the facts provided. Each chapter closes with some iteration of the question, “What do you think?” Even in regards to his own book, Wind emphasizes that history is an interpretative place that requires critical thinking.

At a time where issues of social justice are often deemed either overinflated or “solved,” Lee Wind makes a powerful case that queer historical erasure is an ongoing issue.

Foreword Reviews is read by over 30,000 indie book lovers, including librarians and booksellers, so that's pretty awesome. It's gratifying to know that this review will help my book reach – and empower – more readers, which is really what it's all about.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with me!

Stay safe,
Lee

Friday, February 5, 2021

Be Dazzled - Two Ex-Boyfriends Compete In an Epic Costume Contest


Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

Raffy has a passion for bedazzling. Not just bedazzling, but sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making--for creation. He's always chosen his art over everything--and everyone--else and is determined to make his mark at this year's biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. There's only one small problem... Raffy's ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition.

Raffy tried to make it work with Luca. They almost made the perfect team last year after serendipitously meeting in the rhinestone aisle at the local craft store--or at least Raffy thought they did. But Luca's insecurities and Raffy's insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. Now, Raffy is after the perfect comeback, one that Luca can't ruin.

But when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he'll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he's ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.
Add your review of "Be Dazzled" in comments!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

From Archie to Zack - A Picture Book Celebrating "the Joy of a First Crush" Between Two Young Boys

 


From Archie to Zack by Vincent X. Kirsch is definitely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid. 

Here's the publisher description:

"Archie loves Zack!" "Zack loves Archie!" Everyone said it was so. But Archie hasn't told Zack yet. And Zack hasn't told Archie. They spend just about every minute together: walking to and from school, doing science and art projects, practicing for marching band, learning to ride bikes, and so much more. Over the course of a few months, Archie tries to write a letter to Zack to tell him how he feels: "From A to Z." None of his drafts sound quite right, so he hides them all away. One by one, Archie's friends (Zelda, Zinnia, and Zuzella) find the letters . . . but they know exactly whom they're meant for.
There's so many things to love about this picture book, and here are my top three: 

1) There's no shame about their love. Adults know the two boys love each other. The other kids know the two boys love each other. It's all a joyous celebration of the journey of the boys being able to tell each other how they feel. 

2) The illustrations do so much of the storytelling, and are beautifully rendered. 




It's a great example of how an author/illustrator can sometimes tell a story so fully that every part reinforces the whole. Even the endpapers add to the storytelling, with 16 more vignettes of Archie and Zack spending wonderful times together. 

3) It's a picture book about two young boys in love. The concept of making that a first crush love is so smart. This is the kind of love that's valentines given to every classmate in kindergarten - and a special one for that special someone! It's sweet and incredibly "G" rated - which is entirely awesome and appropriate.

Like I always say, the word homoSEXual isn't helping our Queer community. If we used the word homoLOVEual, we'd be having different conversations. Because the love that holds my family together is the same love that holds other families together.

And the first-crush love that Archie and Zack delight in is the same first-crush love that so many other young children delight in.

And that's worthy of celebrating!

With Valentine's Day coming up, "From Archie to Zack" is an extra special treat. 

Add your review of "From Archie to Zack" in comments!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Calls NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? "Entertaining, illuminating, and an accessible antidote to dominant histories."

Hurray!

A screen shot of the Kirkus Reviews review of my new book!


Getting an editorial trade review from Kirkus Reviews is a huge compliment - and I'm so delighted they liked No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves.

Another great line from the review:

“Deftly weaving in primary sources (in bold text), cheeky sidebars, and his own narrative observations as a gay man, Wind keeps the tone conversational and playful.”

You can read the full review here.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with me! (This review just came out, and the book publishes on April 6, 2021.)

Stay safe,
Lee

Friday, January 29, 2021

Cinderella Is Dead - Black Girls Team Up to Overthrow the Patriarchy (With a Queer Main Character!)


Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

I recently heard Kaylynn speak about this book, about her vision of having a Queer Black girl on the cover in a ball gown, and about centering Queer Black girls. I can't wait to read this one!

Add your review of "Cinderella Is Dead" in comments!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

University Students in Turkey "tear-gassed and beaten by police at their school’s Pride march" - sign Amnesty International's Letter of Protest to free them now!

January, 2021. It's crazy that peacefully gathering to support LGBTQ rights, to support LGBTQ people, can still result in this kind of state violence and threat. 

Melike Balkan and Özgür Gür (pictured in the photo above), along with 17 others, are facing up to three years in prison for organizing their campus pride back in May 2019. Here’s what Özgür told Amnesty International about why this matters to him:

“Pride has an extraordinary value. If you look at the history of Pride, we see it in Stonewall, Istanbul Pride, in all Prides. It is a struggle against violence, against hate crimes, all over the world. Pride is a moment where you can express the things you experience in your life; you can be yourself. That’s why they are so important.”

Amnesty International explains the power of their letter writing campaign:

Amnesty has chosen both Melike and Özgür as activists to spotlight in our annual Write for Rights campaign, an international letter-writing campaign where people like you send hundreds of thousands of letters to world leaders, with the goal of freeing prisoners of conscience and protecting human right defenders under attack.

Please consider joining me to raise your voice about this – and click here to send a letter to the Ambassador of Turkey demanding the charges against Melike, Özgür, and the others be dropped.

You can even send a message of solidarity to Melike, Özgür, and their fellow LGBTQ Pride organizers facing this trial and threat of prison.

Thanks, and stay safe.
The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Lee

Monday, January 25, 2021

NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? Is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection!

Whoo-hoo!

The cover of NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? with the Junior Library Guild award sticker!

This news makes me ridiculously happy, and proud. 

Junior Library Guild is a BIG deal, and something librarians really respect. To have my nonfiction book for young readers chosen for Junior Library Guild means that librarians will instantly know NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves has been vetted. That it has received one of the most important librarian stamps of approval. That it will be in hundreds and hundreds of libraries across the U.S.!

All of which means, NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? will reach – and empower – so many more young readers.

I'm honored and delighted!

Oh, and if you can tell a librarian about NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY?, please do!

Thanks for sharing in this good news moment with me.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Stay safe,
Lee

P.S. You can preorder a signed copy that will be mailed to you from my amazing local bookstore, Pages: A Bookstore, here.


Friday, January 22, 2021

Announcing a New Gathering By and For "Queer KidLit Creators"

After the January 14, 2021 SCBWI #OwnVoices Queer Voices panel, LGBTQ attendees who create works for children and teens were invited to a safe space social hosted by me on zoom. We had over 60 folks attend, and with the help of the amazing SCBWI staff who moderated we broke out into two 25 minute small group discussions.

The gathering of the LGBTQ community within the larger SCBWI community was affirming and very powerful, with many asking for there to be an ongoing gathering for Queer KidLit Creators. This has come up before numerous times at the SCBWI conference LGBTQ socials, but it hasn't made its way beyond the idea. Until now.

So here I am, standing up and saying - 

If you're a Queer kid lit creator (writer, illustrator, translator) and you'd like to be notified of the Queer KidLit Creators group meetings, just email me at leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com. And I'll be in touch about it soon.



Please note, I'm grateful to all our allies, but this is a group just for people who identify as part of the Queer community and who create children's and teen literature.

I'm excited to get it started and see where it takes us!

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