Friday, September 20, 2019

Daughter of the Burning City - A Fantasy Where a Bi Teen Girl Has To Solve A Series of Illusionary Murders



Daughter of the Burning City By Amanda Foody

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival's Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that--illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed...until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn't actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca. Their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina's illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.


What's queer about it? The main character, Sorina, is bi, there's a lesbian secondary character, and Luca is ace-spectrum.

There's a great interview with the author here. Add your review of "Daughter of the Burning City" in comments!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Felipe Neto is My New Hero



He's a Brazilian YouTube star (with 34 million subscribers), but as I don't speak Portuguese, Felipe Neto hasn't been on my radar. But he is now!

As reported in the Advocate and at Pink News and in The Guardian...

At Rio de Janeiro’s international book fair (which just ended on September 10, 2019), the city's mayor "attempted to pull the graphic novel Avengers: The Children’s Crusade because it prominently features a same-sex kiss", saying that it should be "wrapped in black plastic and come with a warning label."

And on Friday, the mayor "ordered city inspectors to seize copies of Avengers." What happened next was amazing...

"In response, Felipe Neto... bought all the copies of major LGBTQ-themed books being sold at the festival, totaling about 14,000, and gave them out Saturday to anyone who wanted one."

What's with the black plastic wrapping? As Pink News explains,
In a mischievous act of compliance with the mayor’s demand that LGBT+ books are sold with content warnings, the books come in black bags with a label that says: “This book is inappropriate for backwards, outdated and bigoted people.”
Go here to watch Felipe's youtube post about his activism, and check out the video starting at 1:50 -- the nearly endless stream of people getting free copies of LGBTQ books is really inspiring.

In this still shot from Felipe's YouTube post, the label in Portuguese explains that 'We are going as fast as possible to distribute everything before the "censorship inspectors" appear'

14,000 LGBTQ books given out for free! It's a homophobia smack down for sure!

“Although we [are] going through the most frightening government in terms of repression since the dictatorship, this time we have a united and engaged people who will not permit that censorship, the imposition of others’ moral values,” Neto told the Guardian.

Bravo, Felipe!


And in another act of LGBTQ solidarity and allyship, Brazil's biggest newspaper printed the illustration of the "two men kissing on its front page to attack an attempt at censorship by the evangelical mayor of Rio de Janeiro."


Awesome!

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


Monday, September 16, 2019

I'll Be On Faculty at the 2019 La Jolla Writers Conference!

Hello community!


I'm excited to be leading three sessions at the upcoming 2019 La Jolla Writers Conference in La Jolla, California, October 25-27, 2019.


So You Want To Crowdfund Your Book?
Workshop Block
A Case Study Breakdown and Brainstorming Workshop.

In January of 2018, Lee Wind launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance both the professional publication of his debut YA novel, Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill, and raise enough money to donate 400 copies of his empowering book to LGBTQ and Allied Teens. The project fully funded in six days, and by the end, he’d raised enough money to donate 910 copies! Lee will walk you through both his Kickstarter project page and all the things he did to set himself up for success. Together, you’ll work through the main points to consider in setting up your own crowdfunded publishing project. From backer rewards to international shipping; from email lists to the financial realities; there are so many elements to consider. There will be worksheets to guide you and time to brainstorm your own book’s crowdfunding campaign!

Friday October 25, 2019 from 2:10 pm - 4:00 pm

and

The Art and Science of Book Marketing
Workshop Block
A Hands-On Workshop.

Are you ready to create a marketing strategy for your book? Book marketing is both an art and a science, and never a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The answer to “how will I market my book?” must be customized, and during this workshop, Lee Wind will focus you on the specific efforts you can take to achieve your book marketing goals. From his dual perspective as the director of marketing and programming for the Independent Book Publishers Association and the author-publisher of the teen novel Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill, Lee will guide you through a five-part program to craft your personal book marketing strategy. You will learn how to: Target Your Audiences; Get Your Book Vetted; Choose Your Tools; Lean Into Synergy, and Own Your Resilience. In the end, you’ll leave with book marketing insights and an actionable marketing strategy for your book.

Saturday October 26, 2019 from 8:00 am - 9:50 am

and

How Do You Measure Success: A Networking Game
Lecture Block
Every publisher, every author, wants to hit the best-seller lists and win the major awards. It’s also important to consider additional definitions of success. How about reaching readers? Inspiring social change? Building the author’s professional standing? Sending the book’s creators on tour? Growing a tribe? Shining a light on a subject you’re passionate about? And so many more…Join your fellow conference attendees in this fast-paced meet-and-greet networking event. We’ll challenge and expand our mental models about why we write and publish. We’ll find common ground and explore new territory in small groups that will keep shuffling – all in a game format that comes with bragging rights and new connections! Bring your business cards and a sense of adventure…

Saturday October 26, 2019 from 2:30 pm - 3:20 pm

You can find out all the conference info at https://lajollawritersconference.com/, and if you'd like to attend, use this special promo code “25LJWC2019” and get 25% off conference registration (saves you about $100).

Hope to see you there!

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

Friday, September 13, 2019

Once & Future - Gender, Power, Revolution: King Arthur is Reborn as a Teenage Girl in a Futuristic, LGBTQ-Inclusive Universe



Once & Future By Cori McCarthy, Amy Rose Capetta

I've been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I've always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I'm done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.


When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

What's Queer about it? Reviews (including this one) call out that Ari and her knights' identities span pansexual, asexual, genderfluid, nonbinary, gay, and lesbian.

With Starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal, I can't wait to read this one! Add your review of "Once & Future" in comments!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

My Brother’s Name is Jessica - A YA Novel Where the Main Teen Character's Older Sibling Comes Out as Trans



My Brother’s Name is Jessica by John Boyne

Sam Waver’s life has always been pretty quiet. A bit of a loner, he struggles to make friends, and his busy parents often make him feel invisible. Luckily for Sam, his older brother, Jason, has always been there for him. Sam idolises Jason, who seems to have life sorted – he’s kind, popular, amazing at football, and girls are falling over themselves to date him.

But then one evening Jason calls his family together to tell them that he’s been struggling with a secret for a long time. A secret which quickly threatens to tear them all apart. His parents don’t want to know and Sam simply doesn’t understand.

Because what do you do when your brother says he’s not your brother at all? That he thinks he’s actually . . . your sister?

Add your review of "My Brother’s Name is Jessica" in comments!

Monday, September 9, 2019

The "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" Audiobook Gets a Strong Review from In'D Tale Magazine!

I'm excited about this review by Chelsea Anderson for the audiobook of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill", in the September 2019 issue of InD'Tale Magazine!



Some highlights:

"a wonderful narrative style"

"an eye-opening experience"

"this is a novel for fans of YA who are looking for an authentic teen experience told with lots of heart!"

and praise for Michael Crouch, who narrates the audiobook:

"Mr. Crouch's narration is one full of emotion and connection to the story. His voice is wonderful to listen to as he takes us through Wyatt's head."

You can read the full review here.

Find out more about Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill here.

Want to listen to the first two chapters for free? Click here.

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

Friday, September 6, 2019

Las Niñas Pueden Ser Reyes (Girls Can Be Kings) - A Coloring Book I Wish I'd Had When I Was a Little Kid





Las Niñas Pueden Ser Reyes by Jacinta Bunnell, translated into Spanish by Fernanda Siles

This new Spanish translation of Jacinta Bunnell’s feminist coloring book Girls Are Not Chicks features 32 pages of girl power fun, translated by Nicaraguan educator, Fernanda Siles. Every day we hear on the news stories of Latinx folks here in the U.S. and those south of the U.S. border being recipients of brutal hostility and violence. At the same time, we see these same communities courageously risking everything so that they and their children can thrive. We see young Latinx people organize despite this repression, many of them young girls. I am so inspired by their mobilization. I offer this book as a token of love and appreciation that celebrates these brave and powerful activists, educators and communities of care. The title in English of this book is Girls Can Be Kings.

Measures 8 x 11 inches. Black & white line drawings, fun to color with colored pencils or crayons. This is the coloring book you should have had when you were a kid. Color the Rapunzel for a new society. She now has power tools, a roll of duct tape, and a bus pass! Paint outside the lines with Miss Muffet as she tells that spider off and considers a career as an arachnologist!

Girls are thinkers, creators, fighters, healers, superheroes, and kings.

¡Veintisiete páginas de diversión feminista! Este es un libro para colorear para cualquier edad y nunca puede uno ser demasiado grande. Las niñas pueden ser reyes ofrece una manera alegre y subversiva de examinar como los estereotipos de género que están en todos aspectos de nuestras vidas. Este libro ayuda a deconstruir la homogeneidad de la expresión de género en los medios infantiles, presentando imágenes más diversificadas que refuerzan los roles de género positivos para niñas.

Niñas son pensadoras, creadoras, luchadoras, curanderas y superhéroes.
One of the brilliant interiors - The page showing a young girl who traded in her Barbie for "something less destructive"/"algo menos destructivo."

I particularly love Jacinta's explanation of the title:
The title of this book is Las niñas pueden ser reyes: Libro para colorear (Girls Can Be Kings Coloring Book), inspired by Seondeok of Silla, a 7th-century Korean girl who became the first queen of Silla despite a misogynist uprising against her fueled by the motto “girls can’t be kings!” I learned of her from the incredible book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

It's inspiring to see how powerful knowing real history that includes woman can be -- the story of Seondeok, told in one book, inspiring Jacinta's Spanish version of this book, and reaching out to all the readers (and colorers) to come!

The Spanish version of one of my favorite pages in the original: "Nobody wants to fight the patriarchy alone. Make friends."
I'm very excited about this coloring book—it's absolutely something I wish I'd had back when I was a little kid!

Add your review of "Las Niñas Pueden Ser Reyes" in comments!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Paula Stone Williams' Powerful TEDx Talk to Help Us All Be Better Allies to Trans Women and to ALL Women

I'm happy to share this with you all, "I've lived as a man and a woman -- here's what I've learned" by Paula Stone Williams.



I hope it resonates for you, too.

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

Monday, September 2, 2019

Noggin - A Teen (or at least his head) comes back from the dead five years later - he's still 16, but his best friend, and his girlfriend, have changed



Noggin By John Corey Whaley

Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.
Now he’s alive again.
Simple as that.


The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

What's gay about it? There's an LGBTQ coming out subplot.

Add your review of "Noggin" in comments!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Miike Snow's Genghis Khan Music Video - A Queer James Bond Fantasia That You've Gotta Watch!

Every so often there's a piece of popular culture that makes me ridiculously happy - going back and repopulating my teenage obsessions with gay characters, gay adventures, gay romance... and there's a power in that. A healing. And a joy.

I had it reading Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, which gave me a gay Harry Potter story to love and call my own.

And I had it watching this amazing music video by the group Miike Snow, Genghis Khan.

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did! 



It's also inspiring that these are both so successful - Carry On is a huge bestseller, and as of writing this, the Genghis Khan video has had more than 39 million views!

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

ps - Shout out to my friend Kelly who shared this with me!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali - A Teen Girl Struggles Keep Both Her Conservative Muslim Parents and Her Girlfriend In Her Life



The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn't so absolute.

Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana's mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.

Devastated and confused, Rukhsana's parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh where, along with the loving arms of her grandmother and cousins, she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way and, through reading her grandmother's old diary, finds the courage to take control of her future and fight for her love.

Add your review of "The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali" in comments!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Queer: A Graphic History - a Nonfiction Graphic Novel-Length Work that Explores Queer Theory and How to Start Seeing Things "Queerly"!



Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker, illustrated by Julia Scheele

"Activist-academic Meg John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. A kaleidoscope of characters from the diverse worlds of pop-culture, film, activism and academia guide us on a journey through the ideas, people and events that have shaped 'queer theory'.

From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.\

Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what's 'normal', such as Alfred Kinsey's view of sexuality as a spectrum between heterosexuality and homosexuality, Judith Butler's view of gendered behavior as a performance, the play Wicked, which reinterprets characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or moments in Casino Royale when we're invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media."

Add your review of "Queer: A Graphic History" in comments!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Julián is a Mermaid - A Gorgeous Picture Book I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was a Little Kid



Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

What's so great is that this is not about gender. It's about love. And acceptance.

The illustrations are perfect.

A moment of wonder when Julián sees the women dressed up as mermaids


Abuela's reaction is perfect.

Julián's childhood innocence, love of mermaids, fantasy of being a mermaid, and steps taken to be a mermaid for the afternoon are so sweet and perfectly conveyed.

The sense of celebration.

Of community.

Of family.

Of love.

This is a beautiful picturebook about being yourself, and loving children who are themselves--uniquely, wonderfully themselves--when they're a little kid, and when they're a mermaid. Always. No exceptions. No gender boundaries required.

I love this picturebook, and absolutely wish it had been read to me when I was a little kid. Cheers to Jessica!

Winner of a 2019 Stonewall Book Award, add your review of "Julián is a Mermaid" in comments!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens - In this "Judy Blume meets RuPaul's Drag Race" teen novel, Nima Discovers the Magic of Drag and of Being (And Loving) Your Truest Self


Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.

Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.

Add your review of "Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens" in comments!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Jack (Not Jackie) - A Picture Book About a Trans Child and the Family Who Accepts Them That I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was a Little Kid



Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman, Illustrated by Holly Hatam

Susan thinks her little sister Jackie has the best giggle! She can't wait for Jackie to get older so they can do all sorts of things like play forest fairies and be explorers together. But as Jackie grows, she doesn't want to play those games. She wants to play with mud and be a super bug! Jackie also doesn't like dresses or her long hair, and she would rather be called Jack.

The heart of this story are these pivot moments, where Jack starts to assert their identity and his big sister and parents notice.

There's the playground scene, where the little boy calls the main character "Jack" for the first time.

There's the shopping-for-clothes scene, where their mother says, "We wear what feels right."

There's the haircut scene, where the big sister reacts as Jack asks for more and more of their hair to be cut:

"Stop, Mama, stop!" I shout. "Now Jackie looks like a boy."

Jackie says, "I am a boy!"

Mama is quiet. Finally she says, "Well, Jackie's been trying to tell us that for a long time."

And, maybe most moving of all, the scene where the big sister draws two pictures: One of Jackie, and the other of Jack. She stares at the portraits she created.

"Jackie. Jack. The same big, round eyes. My sister. My brother. It's okay, either way. And little by little, my heart starts to feel bubbly again."


Booklist is right. Jack (Not Jackie) "belongs in every library."

Cheers to the author, illustrator, and the partnership between GLAAD and Bonnier Publishing USA that donates a portion of the book's sales "to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance."

Add your review of "Jack (Not Jackie)" in comments!