Monday, October 26, 2020

Join Me and the Contra Costa County Library Community for Indie Author Day on Nov 7, 2020 (it's virtual!)




Here's the summary of my presentation, which will be hosted by David Greene and the awesome folks at the Contra Costa County Library:

Your Voice Matters: Indie Publishing and You 

Indie Publishing and Print on Demand can be game changers for you, your book, and under-served readers hungry for works that speak to them. 

There’s lots to do to set yourself up for success: 

1) Target Your Audience 
2) Quality Wins the Day 
3) Get Your Book Vetted 
4) Join the Conversations Already Happening 
5) Know Your Timeline and Then Publish 
6) Target Your Audience (Now That You Have the Book!) 
7) Celebrate Each Milestone Repeat with your next book. And the next. 

As an author, Lee Wind published the crowd-funded young adult novel “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” celebrated by Publishers Weekly as an Indie Success Story and one of the top five independently published middle grade and young adult books of 2018. He has two books publishing from Indie Presses in 2021, the middle grade nonfiction “No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves” (Lerner) and the picture book “Red and Green and Blue and White” (Levine Querido.) As the director of marketing and programming for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Lee loves empowering indie publishers to have their voices heard. Learn more about Lee and his books at www.leewind.org Find out more about IBPA at www.ibpa-online.org

Find out more here.

Hope to see you (virtually) there!

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

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Dragon of Ynys - A Fairy Tale Novella with a Aromantic Asexual main character!



The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen

Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet, the local knight, makes his way to the dragon's cave and negotiates the item's return. It's annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.

But when the dragon hoards a person, that's a step too far. Sir Violet storms off to the mountainside to escort the baker home, only to find a more complex mystery—a quest that leads him far beyond the cave. Accompanied by the missing baker's wife and the dragon himself, the dutiful village knight embarks on his greatest adventure yet.

Quite wonderfully, author Minerva explains, “This is the fairy tale I wish I could have had as a child. Now I’ve written it for all of us.” And in addition to the Aromantic Asexual main character, there are lesbian and trans supporting characters. 

Add your review of “The Dragon of Ynys” in comments!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Get Out The Vote: Heidi Rabinowitz Hosts a Three-Part Podcast Interviewing Jewish KidLit Authors About Voting (I'm in Episode 2)

 The Mitzvah of Voting (Part 2) on The Book of Life Podcast


With reasons to vote and ways to keep Democracy healthy!  

I'm joined in this podcast by fellow guest authors: Elissa Brent Weissman, author of The Length of a String; Barbara Bietz, author of Sweet Tamales for Purim; Jane Breskin Zalben, author of A Moon for Moe and Mo: Jacqueline Jules, author of The Generous Fish, Never Say a Mean Word Again, The Hardest Word; and Anne-Marie Asner, author of the Matzah Ball Books series.

Very honored to be included.

Listen, share, and most of all... VOTE!

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

PS - don't miss part 1, with: Marjorie Ingall, author of Mamaleh Knows Best; Linda Epstein, author of Repairing the World; Jeff Gottesfeld, author of No Steps Behind; Leslie Kimmelman, author of The Eight Knights of Hanukkah; Susan Kusel, author of The Passover Guest; and Tziporah Cohen, author of No Vacancy and part 3, with: Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted and A Ceiling Made of Eggshells; Lesléa Newman, author of Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story; Evan Wolkenstein, author of Turtle Boy; Sue Macy, author of The Book Rescuer; and Sarah Aroeste, author of Buen Shabat, Shabbat Shalom and singer/songwriter of Gracia.

Monday, October 19, 2020

GLSEN’s 2019 National School Climate Survey - Challenges, and a "Win" for Queer Kid and Teen Lit

GLSEN's mission is pretty awesome: "to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."

Towards being able to quantify that, GLSEN does this National School Climate Survey- the results for 2019 are in, and while the graphics are lovely, the data shows we have quite a distance to go to achieve that mission.

2 in 5 LGBTQ+ students of color were bullied or harassed based on race or ethnicity


86% of LGBTQ+ students were harassed or assaulted at school



84% of trans students felt unsafe at school because of their gender


What's the good news?
"Twenty years of research shows that dedicated support from teachers and staff, LGBTQ+ inclusive school policies, and continued investments in resources relate to better school outcomes for LGBTQ+ students. For example, the 62% of LGBTQ+ students who said their school had a GSA in 2019 felt safer, were less likely to miss school, and were less likely to hear homophobic or transphobic remarks."

GSAs change school dynamics and help shift the culture. 

And one other really nice piece of news: 

"Access to LGBTQ-related books and library resources increased in 2019 and was higher than all previous years"

Yay for Queer Kid Lit!

Check out the full report here.

Stay safe, all.
Lee 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Heartstopper - A Gay Teen Graphic Novel - Nick Plays Rugby, and Charlie is Out at an English All-Boys School...


Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Shy and softhearted Charlie Spring sits next to rugby player Nick Nelson in class one morning. A warm and intimate friendship follows, and that soon develops into something more for Charlie, who doesn't think he has a chance.

But Nick is struggling with feelings of his own, and as the two grow closer and take on the ups and downs of high school, they come to understand the surprising and delightful ways in which love works.

Add your review of "Heartstopper" in comments!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

How to Be Ace: Rebecca Burgess's Graphic (As in Panels, Comic-Book Style) Memoir of Growing Up Asexual


How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess

"When I was in school, everyone got to a certain age where they became interested in talking about only one thing: boys, girls and sex. Me though? I was only interested in comics."

Growing up, Rebecca assumes sex is just a scary new thing they will 'grow into' as they gets older, but when they leaves school, starts working, and does grow up, they starts to wonder why they doesn't want to have sex with other people.

In this brave, hilarious and empowering graphic memoir, we follow Rebecca as they navigate a culture obsessed with sex - from being bullied at school and trying to fit in with friends, to forcing themself into relationships and experiencing anxiety and OCD - before coming to understand and embrace their asexual identity.

Add your review of "How to Be Ace" in comments!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Always Human - A Cool Science Fiction Graphic Novel of a Future Australia where Bodies are Modified and Two Young Women Fall For Each Other


Always Human by Ari North

First serialized on the popular app and website WebToon, Always Human ran from 2015-2017 and amassed over 76,000 unique subscribers during its run. Now reformatted for a print edition in sponsorship with GLAAD.

Here's the publisher description:

In the near-future, people use technology to give the illusion of all kinds of body modifications-but some people have "Egan's Syndrome," a highly sensitive immune system that rejects these "mods" and are unable to use them. Those who are affected maintain a "natural" appearance, reliant on cosmetics and hair dye at most to help them play with their looks.
Sunati is attracted to Austen the first time she sees her and is drawn to what she assumes is Austen's bravery and confidence to live life unmodded. When Sunati learns the truth, she's still attracted to Austen and asks her on a date. Gradually, their relationship unfolds as they deal with friends, family, and the emotional conflicts that come with every romance. Together, they will learn and grow in a story that reminds us no matter how technology evolves, we will remain . . . always human.

Add your review of "Always Human" in comments!

Friday, October 9, 2020

How To Be You: Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life - Jeffrey Marsh Offers a Self-Help Book Designed For Us To Become Our Own Heroes



How To Be You: Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life by Jeffrey Marsh

Too short. Too weird. Too quiet. Not true. Let Internet superstar Jeffrey Marsh help you end those negative thoughts and discover how wonderful you are. An interactive experience, How to Be You invites you to make the book your own through activities such as coloring in charts, answering questions about how you do the things you do, and discovering patterns in your lives that may be holding you back. Through Jeffrey's own story of "growing up fabulous in a small farming town"--along with the stories of hero/ines who have transcended the stereotypes of race, age, and gender--you will discover that you are not alone. Learn to deepen your relationship with yourself, boost your self-esteem and self-worth, and find the courage to take a leap that will change your life.
I'm excited about this one.

In the materials shared by the publisher, I was really struck by this quote from Jeffrey: 

"I wrote the book for my 11-year-old self. If I could jump in a time machine, I would want young Jeffrey to have all the advice that's in How to Be You. In that way, this book is indended to be the manual that none of us got about truly loving ourselves and knowing that we belong." 

That resonated. 

Add your review of "How to Be You" in comments!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Going to School Library Journal's Day of Dialog - Oct 15, 2020? Check out my panel: "Remaking History in Fiction and Nonfiction"




A special shout out to my librarian friends and readers! 

I hope you'll join me a week from today for this panel, moderated by Mahnaz Dar, with my fellow panelists Kyandreia Jones (Choose Your Own Adventure Spies: Mary Bowser); Randi Pink (Angel of Greenwood); Michael O. Tunnell (Desert Diary? Japanese American Kids Behind Barbed Wire); Paula Yoo (From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement); and me - Lee Wind (No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves).

Here's the panel description from the event program:

History is more than the dates and names in textbooks; it's the stories of everyday people—especially the accounts of marginalized people, which have often gone untold. These authors will discuss surfacing information that has gone unaddressed in history textbooks but that is vital to give students a well-rounded and nuanced understanding of history.

When is it happening? It's an Afternoon Concurrent Session I: 1:40 PM–2:30 PM ET | Remaking History in Fiction and Nonfiction

I hope you'll join us!

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

Lee

Monday, October 5, 2020

The October 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter

Hi Community!


So much going on... Click here or the video above to watch the October 2020 edition of the Lee Wind video newsletter.

Transcript:

Hi Community, I'm Lee Wind. It's October 2020, and I've been thinking a lot about poetry. So, I'm going to do an acrostic today, that's going to be the structure of this enewsletter.

I was going to do HUBRIS, but it didn't have a "T" in it for Trump.

And then, I was going to do TRUMP, but then that was too much about Trump.

And anyway, I settled on this one. So, we'll spell it out together. The first letter of our acrostic is "V", for VOTE. [laughs]

I don't know about you, but I watched the first debate - well, I watched part of the first debate, for me, it was too much like watching a schoolyard bully incident, where the adult in charge, the moderator, had no power, and didn't stop the bully.

The best analysis I read, Wes Kennison wrote:

“Joe Biden is a stutterer. Like many others, he has overcome the disability by understanding it and exercising extraordinary perseverance and discipline. If you know and love a stutterer and you watched the presidential debate last night, within minutes it became obvious what was going on. Abusive tone of voice, rapid fire interruptions, zigzagging change of topic, personal insult and humiliation, and family pain are all tripwires that scramble a stutterer's ability to speak. There was nothing unplanned or spontaneous in the President's strategy. The bastards did not prep him to attack Joe. They prepped him to attack Joe's disability hoping that by triggering his stuttering they might deceive an audience unfamiliar with the disability into thinking that Joe was stupid, weak, uncertain, confused, or lost to dementia.”

I thought that was a really good analysis of what the heck was going on. Because it was horrible to witness. But there was a purpose to it, and it was sort of nasty. So, VOTE. 

Actually, I just sort of gave it away, the acrostic, but let's keep going. 

O! [It slips on the wall] Let's try it again!

O! [laughs] It's not all about politics. I have to say that something exciting is happening in October. On October 15, School Library Journal is doing a Day of Dialog, and I'm going to be on a panel!

It's called "Remaking History in Fiction and Nonfiction."

The moderator will be Mahnaz Dar, Reference and Professional Reading Editor at School Library Journal and Library Journal.

And my panelists, my fellow panelists are really going to be amazing:

Kyandreia Jones, Randi Pink, Michael O. Tunnel, and my friend Paula Yoo. 

So that's really exciting! I'm going to be on a panel, I'll be talking about my book coming out from Lerner, NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY?, And I'm really excited to be part of that, and to reach all those librarians, and have a great conversation about how history has been sanitized for the protection of the people in power, and has sort of disenfranchised so many people - women, disabled people, people of color, and LGBTQ people. So I'm really excited to be part of that.

The next letter in our acrostic is "T"!

Back to politics. So, Trump makes it all about Trump, but I want us to take a moment and just acknowledge that Joe Biden is, in fact, a pretty stand up guy. And in fact, in his evolution towards embracing Queer people and Queer rights, he actually came out publicly in favor of Gay marriage before President Obama did it, and in fact kind of pressured President Obama to do, which was a very cool moment, back in 2012. 

So, shout out to Joe. Also, Kamala Harris - amazing, can we talk? 

So it's not just voting against Trump, it's really voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and really acknowledging that if we can get the shift of power to happen in the Senate so it isn't controlled by Republicans, we may be able to, as Obama always quoted Reverend Martin Luther King, [Jr.] saying, bend the arc of history towards justice. 'Cause it's been bending the wrong way, and we need to get it back.

And then, "E" is the final letter of our Acrostic.

And it's because I'm Excited, because it was just announced that I sold a picture book to Arthur Levine of Levine Querido, and I'm really amazingly... It's like an endurance sport. 

"E" could also be for Endurance sport. Because writing books for kids and teens, it takes a long time. First of all, to get good enough, and then to find the right home for the projects that you're doing. Wow. I've been writing picture book manuscripts for 16 years - more than 16 years, and finally sold one. It's my debut picture book. The illustrator's going to be the incredible Paul [O.] Zelinsky, I am just like pinching myself because Wow, it is so exciting!

It's called RED AND GREEN AND BLUE AND WHITE, and it's about two kids who are friends, one celebrates Chanukah, and the other celebrates Christmas, and something happens in their town, and how they band together to stand up, for each other and for themselves, and against hate and for love. It's inspired by a true story, and I can't wait for you to see it. I'm very excited.

So, there you go. Sort of like a Sesame Street episode. Today's - this month's - video newsletter is brought to you by the acrostic VOTE. I hope you do. 

Take care, stay safe, and until next month, hopefully we'll have good news in November.

'Bye, take care. The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you.

**

Friday, October 2, 2020

My Debut Picture Book Is Announced! RED AND GREEN AND BLUE AND WHITE will be published by Levine Querido in 2021

I have been dreaming of having a picture book manuscript I wrote deemed good enough for an agent to love, good enough for a publisher to love, good enough for an amazing illustrator to love for a very long time. Like 16 years.

So it is with immense delight that I share the announcement that just happened yesterday in Publishers Weekly's Children's Bookshelf:

The announcement text reads:

Arthur Levine at Levine Querido has acquired world rights to Lee Wind's (l.) debut picture book, Red and Green and Blue and White, inspired by the true story of how an entire town stood up to hate during the Chanukah / Christmas season. Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky will illustrate; publication is slated for 2021. Marietta Zacker at Gallt & Zacker represented the author, and the artist represented himself.

It is a moment of ebullient gratitude... to my amazing agent Marietta Zacker, for loving this story enough to find it a publishing home. To the story's legendary editor, publisher Arthur A. Levine for loving it enough to acquire it and share it with readers everywhere. To the story's celebrated and oh-so-talented illustrator, Paul O. Zelinsky (!!!) who is taking my words and fashioning magic on the page. Magic, I tell you. Magic.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thanks as well to my friend (and elementary school librarian) Yapha Mason, who introduced me to to the true story eight years ago.

I'm so excited to introduce kids – and the world – to this story of friendship between two kids (one who celebrates Chanukah, the other who celebrates Christmas) who together inspire an entire town to stand up for each other, to stand up for community, to stand up for love.

I can't wait for you all to read it.

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

Lee

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

We Are Lost and Found - A Teen in the 1980s Navigates a Homophobic Family, and World, the Threat of AIDS, and... Just Maybe, Love



We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James and Becky. Plus, his brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be Michael's only chance at avoiding the same fate. To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father's angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands. Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he's willing to risk to be himself.
Add your review of "We Are Lost and Found" in comments.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Yom Kippur 2020/5781 - A Good Time to Learn the Difference Between an Ally and an Accomplice

I found the photo of this great mural at the website Uncustomary here.

The ten days of and between the Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Ha Shana (the Jewish New Year, which happened on September 18) and Yom Yippur (today) have at their core both introspection and resolve.

Introspection, as in how did I do as a human being in the past year? Making amends for any mis-steps, and then Resolve, as in I'm going to do better – be better – this year.

For me, so much of that renewing surrounding the Jewish New Year, of aiming to be a better person annually, is based on a desire and a curiosity to always learn more. Understand more. 

So today I'd like to share this article, "Ally or Accomplice? The Language of Activism" by Colleen Clemens from the Teaching Tolerance website.

When I first heard the term "Accomplice" it made me think about how homosexuality and gender non-conformity have for generations been made illegal and prosecuted as crimes, and my initial discomfort was based in that paradigm, as if using the term would be buying in to the hundreds of years of criminalization of marginalized groups, including Black people, people of Native nations, people of color, disabled people, women, and my own Queer community.

But I've been reading up on it, and Colleen's article on the distinction between "Ally" and "Accomplice" was really helpful in my re-imagining the term "Accomplice":

"An ally will mostly engage in activism by standing with an individual or group in a marginalized community. An accomplice will focus more on dismantling the structures that oppress that individual or group—and such work will be directed by the stakeholders in the marginalized group. Simply, ally work focuses on individuals, and accomplice work focuses on the structures of decision-making agency."

A sign at a protest this summer really spoke to me. It said: 

 "Use white privilege to dismantle white privilege" 

And I think that's what the term "Accomplice" is aiming for.

So here's to a year of being better Allies, and Accomplices, to make our world a better place. In Hebrew, there's this ideal of action called "Tikkun Olam" which translates as "Healing the World."

We have work to do.

If you can vote, VOTE. Raise your voice. Be there for individuals as an Ally. And join in on the work of creating systemic change as an Accomplice.

And let's heal our world. Together.

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

Lee

Friday, September 25, 2020

Banned Books Week 2020 - How Will You Celebrate the Freedom to Read?

It starts Sunday, running September 27-October 3, 2020, and as every year, the American Library Association has made a list of the "Top 10 Most Challenged Books" of the past year. It is bracing that eight - EIGHT - out of ten were challenged for including LGBTQ characters or themes in books for kids or teens. 

Here's the list, from the ALA Banned Books Week website (highlights were added by me):    

Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019. Of the 566 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

George by Alex Gino Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content


Resolved: read a Queer book for kids or teens this upcoming week (and maybe every week?) to celebrate your freedom to read!


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Willow and the Wedding - a Picture Book About a Young Girl Who Wants to Get Her Uncle to Dance at His Wedding (to Another Man) - a Picture Book I Wish Had Been Read to Me When I Was a Little Kid


Willow and the Wedding, by Denise Brennan-Nelson, Illustrated by Cyd Moore


Here's the publisher synopsis:

Willow is back! This time she’s so excited to be flower girl for her favorite uncle and his partner David’s wedding. Willow just can’t wait to help make it perfect. The beach ceremony! The dinner! The dessert! The dancing! But there’s just one hiccup. Uncle Ash refuses to dance these days. A wedding with no dancing?! Willow makes it her mission to remind him of the joy he found in dancing years ago. On the evening of the wedding, Uncle Ash surprises them all and everyone dances in just the ways they were meant to.


Gotta admit, this one choked me up a bit - just the joy about Ash and David getting married from everyone in the family, and the story's conflict not being the wedding being a gay wedding, but that Ash didn't want to dance...

Absolutely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid. Next best thing - I got to read it now. And recommend it to you.

Add your review of "Willow and the Wedding" in comments!