Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hear Us Out! Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present - An LGBTQ Short Story Collection

By Nancy Garden

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux in 2007.

At first I was unsure about this book and whether it could be considered fiction, but as soon as I opened it I knew I was wrong. It is divided into six different decades with a introductory non-fiction section explaining each one. From two girls having to hide their relationship to their families to someone going to a gay pride parade, this book shows the progression of the perception of homosexuality.


Dear Angie, Sweet Elizabeth
Angie and Elizabeth have an amazing night together before Angie leaves for her theater apprenticeship. They correspond through letters until Elizabeth’s close-minded mother finds the letters and discovers that the girls share more than a friendship. In a time where homosexuality has a negative connotation, even in the encyclopedia, these girls discover who they really are.

Silent Song
When Kathy’s parents walk in on her and Jinx holding each other, they call Jinx’s parents who immediately take her on their vacation to Miami Beach. Jinx, hopeless without Kathy, decides that she wants to walk into the ocean and never return. However on her journey down to the sea she encounters a girl playing the harp that makes staying worthwhile.


Cold Comfort
Charity is the Reverend’s daughter in a small fishing town. She has never lusted after anyone, until she meets the new girl in town, Andrea. But will her father accept her feelings?

Waverly meets Larry during a summer job at an Inn on the Cape and immediately there is a connection. Larry invites Waverly down to Greenwich village one night in the summer of ’69 and there they witness the famous Stonewall riots.


Maybe Someday?
Teresa has always struggled with her father’s strong faith in the Catholic church because Teresa knows that she is a lesbian. She tries to separate herself from the church as much as possible by not going to confession and attending a public school, until one day an historic moment happens for homosexuality and Teresa is given hope.

Dear Cuz
Cousins Mickey and Jennifer hadn’t seen each other for ten years, but when they finally do a tremendous bond forms. They become pen pals and discover that they are both homosexual and not alone. But Mickey who lives in a small mid-western town, soon believes that the world will never accept him and his boyfriend Sam as they are.


My Father’s Buddha
Two teenage boys befriend Bruce and Calvin, who has AIDS. Bruce and Calvin become the boys’ close confidants and mentors, but when Calvin’s condition starts to worsen, the boys decide to give back.

“I’m Nobody!...”
Lily and her friend Michael, two friends who bonded over the fact that they were different and homosexual, are confronted by a gang one day who beat Michael and rape Lily. For weeks, Lily is too petrified to tell the story as Michael’s condition worsens. Eventually she learns that the only way she can progress is to speak.


Parents Night
Having a booth at Parents Night should be an easy experience right? Well not for the Gay- Straight- Bisexual club at one high school. They are faced with insults and stereotypes of homosexuality and must overcome these obstacles to participate in what should be a typical school event. This story was also featured in the anthology Am I Blue?

The Tux
Laine and her girlfriend Sarah, accompanied by their friend Rachel, go to rent a tux for Sarah for their prom. Much to their chagrin, the entire football team is there. Sarah looks so good in her tux that the self-conscious Laine decides to get one too and is applauded and supported by the jocks she once feared. I loved how every character in this story showed acceptance and support, which is a refreshing change from the darker times portrayed in the previous stories.


Loving Megan
Penny, a freshman, is obsessed with Megan, her beautiful blonde track captain. Her best friend Kat always has to listen to Penny lust after and write poems for Megan, who doesn’t even know Penny’s name. However, when tragedy strikes, Penny realizes who is actually there for her.

Lisanne attends her first Gay Pride March and is astounded at the immensity and support of the crowd.

--Posted by Hannah

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ken Melman, The Guy who was in charge of George W. Bush's re-election (and anti-gay marriage) campaign, the former head of the RNC, comes out as GAY

Here's what you need to know, in typical Jon Stewart-brilliance:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gay Old Party
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Now, some people in the gay community (and our Allies - thanks, Jon!) are saying that this is pure hypocrisy.

Others are saying that, well, what he did in the past isn't the focus - we should recognize how this, added together with Laura Bush's pro-Gay marriage stance (revealed after her husband was no longer President) and with former Vice President Dick Cheney's retrospective reluctance to delegate his lesbian daughter to the back of the rights bus - that this is sea-change material. That the Republican party is now telling their candidates (ostensibly) to backpedal on the anti-gay bandwagon - that it wasn't really bringing in the votes for them any more, and that frankly, with a majority of Americans now in favor of equal rights for our GLBTQ community, that it's not helping the Republican party's image. That they need to focus on what they do best, running our country into the ground financially. Whoops - sorry, I mean, "fiscal responsibility." Yeah, they did so good with that during those Bush years.

On the one hand, I'm glad that Ken Mehlmen, as a human being, is finally able to live his truth.

On the other hand, I'm pissed that it's yet another example of a closeted gay man working against the rights of his own community. It's a ridiculously long and tarnished list...

So yeah, I'm interested in what an openly Gay conservative Ken Mehlmen will do now - and how he will try to help the community he once helped attack.

What about you? What's your take on Ken Mehlmen's coming out as Gay?

Here's more reading on it: His interview in the Atlantic monthly, which broke the news.
His second coming out interview, this one in the Advocate - a GLBT news magazine. There's this news analysis from the NY Times saying that it's not really big news that Ken came out as Gay, And this article on how it's a sign of the GOP backing off on their Gay attacks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Banning Happens Again... This Time In New Jersey, for "Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology"


Okay, there's a whole article here about how this book wasn't actually even officially challenged, reviewed, and voted on - but that one woman objected to it being in the library, a librarian agreed with her, and it was pulled.

Not only was it pulled from shelves, but get this - the New Jersey ACLU, through a freedom of information act motion, got the series of e-mails where the librarian discussed the removal, and the library's director agreed

to remove “Revolutionary Voices” from circulation, though “no official challenge” was made, and “no actual vote by the commissioners” was taken.

The emails reveal that Sweet not only wanted the book pulled off the library shelf, she wanted to get rid of any trace of it.

“How can we grab the books so they never, ever get back into circulation?” Sweet wrote to a fellow staffer. “Copies need to totally disappear, as it is not a good idea to send copies to the book sale.”

It's pretty harrowing stuff - especially the bit where

Sweet cited her decision to remove the book was that it constituted “child pornography.”

This is a book cited by School Library Journal as one of the best adult books for high school students in 2001. SLJ said of "Revolutionary Voices:"

The book features first-hand coming-out accounts from gay students, and “reflections on identity,”

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) describes “Revolutionary Voices,” edited by Amy Sonnie, as “the first creative resource by and for queer and questioning youth of every color, class, religion, gender and ability.”

You can even click at the bottom of this article and download the entire series of e-mails! It's pretty harrowing reading, how people who should know better use their own ideas of what's comfortable (or uncomfortable) and try to impose that on the rest of us.

I'm very grateful for the ACLU exposing this to light - and also to Liz B. of the great kidlit blog A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy - now blogging at School Library Journal! Who was called out in the emails as breaking this news.

It turns out the book has also been removed from one of the local New Jersey high school libraries - also in response to the same woman's complaint!

Here's what the editor of the book, said in response:

The book's editor, Amy Sonnie, pointed to a letter from a 15-year-old boy, who said that on reading the volume he was relieved to discover "that there were other people out there who shared elements of my identity".

"Queer students may not feel safe speaking up when LGBTQ books are challenged," said Sonnie. "But, they certainly deserve a chance to discover the 'diversity of voices' that make balanced library collections so crucial for the health of our communities and democracy."

The more scrutiny situations like this get, the more reluctant other librarians and library directors will be to summarily remove books from their shelves without due process... And hopefully, minds will change.

That's one of the great powers of books, right?

Oh, and "Revolutionary Voices" is out of print, with the cheapest copy available being $149.00 on Amazon. If it's not in libraries, how exactly are kids going to get access to it?

In response to all the banning, a bunch of artists got together and staged readings this month of the book - I found out about them here at the Bitchmedia Community Lending Library site. Isn't that an awesome idea?

Book Banning. Happening right now.

I like the idea of staged readings. What about you? What do you think would be the best response to this kind of banning?


ps- my thanks to Lulu and others who sent me links and wanted to make sure I knew this was happening!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We'll Always Have Paris - A Short Story Collection with Gay Characters

By Ray Bradbury

Published in 2009 by HarperCollins

Leave it to Bradbury to give us a collection of eerie, thrilling and enjoyable tales. Each one has a slight mysterious tone and a compelling plot. My only complaint: the children’s book cover does not do the collection justice. Here are the stories in the collection with a queer quotient:

We’ll Always Have Paris
One summer night in July an American man vacationing with his wife follows a young handsome Frenchman and the two have a complicated and mysterious night.

Last Laughs
A pulp science fiction author goes to find his genius mentor, Andrew Rudolph Gerald Vesalius, who has disappeared. When the man finds Vesalius at his Malibu home, he discovers that Blair, Vesalius’s secretary, has restrained Vesalius and has plans to marry Vesalius in order to own his mind. The man helps his mentor with a very unique method.

Come Away with Me
Joseph Kirk has always prided himself for standing up for other people, so when he sees Willy-Bob walking down the street and being berated by his boyfriend, Joseph gives Willy-Bob, a stranger, the option of coming with him. The two travel around Los Angeles and learn about each other before going their separate paths.

-- Posted by Hannah

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Girl Goddess #9 - A GLBTQ Teen Short Story Collection

by Francesca Lia Block

Published in 1998 by Harperteen

In Francesca Lia Block’s Girl Goddess #9 each character is modern and relatable. Every story is beautifully told and I found myself reading even the ones that did not have GLBTQ characters. This is a great, fun, and beautiful summer read. Here are the summaries of the stories that did have queer content...

La is a little girl dealing with her mother’s suicide. With mean girls at school and a grief-stricken drunk dad, La has no one to turn to until she finds Blue in her closet. Blue is a slender being with a skin color of (you guessed it) blue. Blue shows La many things: Blue’s unique body, and the fact that remembering La’s mother will help her touch many lives.

Dragons in Manhattan
Tuck Budd lives with her two bohemian moms, Izzy and Anastasia, in Manhattan. The three of them always had fun going to plays and museums and many ethnic restaurants, but one day at school a boy teases Tuck about her moms. After finding clues in a baby book, Tuck runs away to San Francisco to find who her real father is, but little does she know that her father has been there all along.

Winnie and Cubby
When Winnie starts dating Cubby it seems that everything is perfect. Cubby is a hot skateboarder who loves her and loves that they both wore matching tuxes to prom. But on a trip to San Francisco, Cubby must confront his best friend and girlfriend Winnie about who he really is.

--Posted by Hannah

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

So Fey - A GLBTQ Short Story Anthology

Edited by Steve Berman
Published in 2007 by Haworth Positronic, and by Lethe Press in 2009

So Fey is really for the grown-up who misses reading fairy tales. Each story delves into a different fairy world, leaving you feeling enchanted. Some stories are haunting and tragic while others are fun and clever. Each one has a strong GLBTQ storyline and most often a beautiful romance.

A Faun’s Tale by Tom Cardamone
A faun, Christopher, anxiously leaves his home in Union Square to find ‘The Ramble.’ On his way he encounters werewolves and two frolicking fauns.

A Scent of Roses by Catherine Lundoff
Janet is bored with her dreary farm life. Every day she attends to her lazy former hero of a husband, Tam. One day, the Queen of the Faeries, who once was with Tam, visits Janet and tantalizes her with the exciting life of the Faeries. When Tam goes off to fight, Janet realizes who she really wants to be with: The Queen.

The Wand’s Boy by Richard Bowes
Jack is a half-fey and is able to block out the mind-reading talents of the ‘Wands’, a special fey guard. This talent comes especially useful when he is spending time with his lover, the Prince Cal. But when Jack rebels against his Fey father, one of the Wands, he must run away with Cal in tow.

A Bird of Ice by Craig Laurance Gidney
Ryuichi is a Japanese monk who is visited by a swan and a monkey. In his dreams he learns that the two animals were actually one being and that spirit is in love with him. But it's up to Ryuichi to determine for himself what is reality.

Charming, a Tale of True Love by Ruby deBrazier and Cassandra Clare
Ivy, a faery princess who prefers pants to pretty dresses and would rather dance around with faeries than get married, is forced to host a competition to find her future husband. All of the suitors are drab, except for Lord Blythe who may not be what he (or she) seems.

Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland by Sarah Monette
Violet’s husband, Philip, finds secret love letters hidden in her room. But, what he really suspects is actually far from the truth, for Violet’s lover is neither mortal nor a man.

The Kings of Oak and Holly by Kenneth D. Woods
Danny meets Jack at a local coffee shop and immediately there is an attraction between them. When Danny gets confused as to why Jack is, at times, distant, he follows Jack into the park and discovers that his lover is actually a Fey and the Oak King. The only problem is that it is forbidden for Feys and humans to make love. But Jack soon discovers that it is worth the risk. Advisory: this story is, at times, graphic.

Detox by Elspeth Potter
Maria, a 51 year old, uses her brownie to make her look younger and hotter for picking up girls at clubs. But Maria soon starts to realize that going out isn’t as enticing as it used to be. This story would also be considered erotica.

From Asphalt to Emeralds to Moonlight by Aynjel Kaye
Tara, who has just been fired from her job at a production company, is being hunted by siblings Fionn and Aine who are vying for the dying queen’s crown. However once the three of them are all at the faerie court, Fionn and Aine’s incestuous relationship becomes apparent, as does Tara and Ainn’s love, but who will get the crown?

The Price of Glamour by Steve Berman
Tupp Smatterpit is in serious need of some glamour, a magical dust that can disguise Feys as humans. The only problem is that Tupp is in debt to the spriggan Bluebottle. Tupp does not know what to do and thinks that he will be forever in debt to Bluebottle, that is until Lind, a master robber and human, comes around and helps Tupp.

The Coat of Stars by Holly Black
Every night Rafael and Lyle would sneak out to a mattress in the woods and make love, despite Lyle’s grandmother’s warnings about the faeries living there. One day Lyle tells Rafael that he has actually seen the faeries, but just as the two boys are about to run off to New York, Lyle is discovered dead. Rafael moves to New York and becomes a successful tailor, but still can’t get over his loss. On one of his trips home to New Jersey, Rafael discovers that Lyle is actually with the faeries and he could bring him back with his tailoring talents. This story is also in Holly Black’s short story collection Poison Eaters.

How the Ocean Loved Margie by Laurie J. Marks
Margie, a lesbian English teacher, decides to have a baby by artificial insemination. After she is impregnated she has this strong urge to go to a small island off the coast of Maine called Skerry Island. There she camps out and meets the mysterious island woman Gayle, a former olympic swimmer, but as it turns out, Margie’s baby and Gayle share some prominent similarities.

Isis in Darkness by Christopher Barzak
Iris, nicknamed Isis, has nowhere to go until she finds a group of Orphyns, led by Rem. Each of Isis’s new friends, including herself, has a special power and Rem uses his to help Isis to remember her real past. However, tragedy strikes as a powerless man who Rem tried to love seeks revenge.

Touch by M. Kate Havas
When dared to kiss a tree on a camping trip, Trinny is shocked when she realizes that the tree kisses her back. Trinny is then taken to a magical faerie world where she meets her mistress. But when Trinny tries to show her best friend (and crush), Chelsea, this world, she is doubted and their friendship may never be the same.

Attracting Opposites by Carl Vaughn Frick
This witty story is about a faerie named Theodore Winkle who was raised by humans and has a talent for cosmetology and a predilection for the taste of flowers. One day his friend Barry Tone brings him to an actual faerie gathering at which Theodore feels extremely out of place, that is until be meets the charming faerie Morning Glory.

The Faerie Cony-Catcher by Delia Sherman
Nick Cantier is a young apprentice for a jeweler who leaves town with his one prized possession: a beautiful jewel that he made in the shape of a woman. In his journey he encounters a beautiful woman named Peasecod, but little does he realize that Peasecod is not at all what she seems to be.

Exiles by Sean Meriwether
Stories told in second person are rare but powerful. This one is told through the eyes of a man who after visiting his new boyfriend, becomes a victim to gay-bashing. With the help of his friend Jake, this man slowly recovers after losing the use of his eyes. He cannot see anything until a bright green light appears to him and leads him to the destroyed underworld of the elves.

Laura Left a Rotten Apple and Came Not to Regret the Cold of the Yukon by Lynne Jamneck
Laura, a famous New York writer, leaves the Big Apple to live in a small town in the Yukon, much to the dismay of her sophisticated New York editor. There she meets Gwen, a mystifying sergeant at the local police station. Unfortunately on their first date they have an ill-fated run-in with some poachers, but their romance still continues. This story is extremely clever and fun to read.

Mr. Seeley by Melissa Scott
Tully is a local devilery boy in Irish Mountain in the time of prohibition. One day he goes to his lover and employer, Joe’s house only to be confronted by a hunchback man who has a mission for Tully from a mysterious Mr. Seeley. Tully must deliver alcohol to the rich man’s home in order to find Joe. But Tully soon discovers that Mr. Seeley is actually a king of the faeries.

Year of the Fox by Eugie Foster
Mei and Jin are two fox spirits whose mother was killed at the hands of a fox-hunter. The two make a vow to wreak havoc on humans - by breaking hearts as humans. Mei comes across a young woman named Lian and falls in love with her. But when Jin catches wind of this, Mei must choose between her brother and her love.

Ever So Much More Than Twenty by Joshua Lewis
Michael and his partner George adopted Jane, but as life wore on and they grew old, George became increasingly vain and youth-obsessed. A year after George left them, Michael and the 17 year old Jane go to live in Michael’s childhood summer house where he had his great love: a faery named Piaras. Jane begins to disappear and spends all of her time in the forest, which leads Michael to believe that Piaras has fallen for her, but is it really Jane that Piaras is trying to contact?

Mr. Grimm’s Fairy Tale by Eric Andrews-Katz
William Grimm, an unemployment officer, is confronted with Miss Mary Weather, a fairy grandmother straight out of a Disney movie, looking for a job. With the help of Mr. Anderson, William is able to find this fairy an occupation.

-- Posted by Hannah

Monday, August 23, 2010

Should we, the Gay Community, and our Allies Boycott Target?

Here's the facts:

Target gave $150,000.- as a donation to an anti-gay, anti-union candidate for Governor of Minnesota. HRC (the gay human rights organization) met with Target to try to either a) get them to apologize to the queer community or b) have them make an equal contribution to donation to the pro-gay candidate. They did neither. In fact, HRC announced last week that

"After two weeks of good-faith discussions – and two tentative agreements – with Target Corporation, the company has informed the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, that it will take no corrective actions to repair the harm that it caused by contributing $150,000 to an organization supporting a vehemently anti-gay candidate closely associated with a Christian rock band that advocates death and violence to gay people. In response, HRC announced that it will devote $150,000 of its own resources to help elect a pro-equality governor and legislature in Minnesota. The next governor will likely have the opportunity to either sign or veto marriage equality legislation in the North Star State."

Check out this response. It takes civil disobedience to a whole new level!

So what do you think? Should we still shop at Target?


More info from Yahoo here

And from HRC here

Friday, August 20, 2010

Smashing Stereotypes! The Writing Workshop LAUNCHES With Special Guest Author Francesca Lia Block!

Hi Everyone!

I'm delighted to announce the first in a series of Diversity-Celebrating Writing Workshops I'll be Presenting with Book Soup in West Hollywood, California!

Smashing Stereotypes!
The Writing Workshop
with Special Guest Author Francesca Lia Block

Benefiting City of Hope

Saturday September 11, 2010 from 11am-3pm
Pi on Sunset (2 doors West of Book Soup)
8828 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

We all know that Stereotypes are a ‘bad’ thing, yet we carry them around with us, silent but enormous weights that limit our ideas of what is possible for others... and for ourselves. This hands-on writing workshop will focus on tools and techniques to break free of those limitations. Learn how you can be Smashing Stereotypes in your writing, and in your life!

“Look at our cultural myth of how a woman needs a man to save her. It’s in all those children’s stories – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White. What does that tell girls? Or boys? How can we break free of that mindset? Writing is one of the main tools we have to smash stereotypes – all stereotypes. That’s what I want to empower people to do.”
--Lee Wind

Renowned author Francesca Lia Block will be featured, and we'll discuss the challenges of stereotypes and how she has overcome them in her writing. Francesca has published over 30 books, spanning Young Adult novels, poetry, and short stories collections. She is the author of the groundbreaking “Weetzie Bat” books which have been credited by the Los Angeles Times with “...helping to revolutionize young adult literature.”

We'll focus on (and Francesca will sign)“Weetzie Bat” and a number of her most recent books, including “Pretty Dead,” (which School Library Journal called “a startlingly original work that drives a stake deep into the heart of typical vampire stories”) “House of Dolls,” (Booklist Journal’s starred review said it was “powerful, haunting, and – just when you don’t think it’s possible – inspiring, too.”) and her upcoming release “The Frenzy.”

More On Francesca Lia Block:

Author Francesca Lia Block has described her groundbreaking novels and stories as “contemporary fairy tales with an edge,” where the real world and its trouble find solace through the magic of creative expression and love. Born in Los Angeles, where she still lives, Block’s work pulsates with the language and images of the city’s sprawling subculture. Lauds a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, “Block writes about the real Los Angeles better than anyone since Raymond Chandler.”

Block has received numerous honors, including the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award and the Phoenix Award, as well as citations from the American Library Association, The New York Times Book Review and School Library Journal. Her work has been published around the world and translated into many languages. www.francescaliablock.com

More about Me, Lee Wind:

I know you're here at my award-winning daily blog, “I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell do I Read?” But maybe there's some stuff about me you didn't know. You're one of over 200,000 unique readers who have loaded over 350,000 page views about GLBTQ Teen Books, Culture and Politics. And in what might be my favorite review to date, Greg Miraglia of Outbeat Youth Radio called this blog “...the perfect website for young LGBT readers.”

I co-facilitate monthly meetings of 35-50 people on the craft, business and inspiration of writing for the Los Angeles Westside Schmooze of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. My interviews with luminaries in the world of Children’s literature have been published online and in the 2011 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.

I hold a Masters of Education from Harvard, focused on integrating education, entertainment, and media. Did you find out something new about me?

More about City Of Hope:

Just northeast of Los Angeles, City of Hope is one of only 40 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, and is recognized worldwide for its patient care, innovative science and translational research, which rapidly turns laboratory breakthroughs into new therapies. www.cityofhope.org It's the non-profit that Francesca Lia Block chose to have our event benefit.

More about Book Soup:

On the infamous “Sunset Strip” in West Hollywood, CA, Book Soup is one of the last large independent bookstores, serving the Los Angeles community - and beyond! - for over 30 years. www.booksoup.com

Tickets are $50.- ($40.- with Student I.D., Teacher I.D. or SCBWI Membership), include a catered lunch and are available here at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/124702 or by calling 1-800-838-3006 and asking for the "Smashing Stereotypes writing workshop."

10% of ticket and book sales at this event will be donated to City of Hope.

There are only 40 spaces available for this workshop, and with the incredible Francesca Lia Block as the guest author, I expect they'll go fast!

Hope you can join us,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Poison Eaters and Other Stories - A Short Story Collection with Gay Characters

By Holly Black

Published in 2010 by Big Mouth House

Suggested by one of our readers, Steph, this collection does a great job of grounding fantasy in reality. For example, it features faeries living in New York City. "The Poison Eaters" contains two well-crafted short stories with homosexual characters. Holly Black, best known for The Spiderwick Chronicles, sucks you into her world of faeries and other mythical creatures. While these two stories are the only ones with queer characters, each of the 12 short stories in "The Poison Eaters" is incredibly fun to read.

The Coat of Stars
Every night Rafael and Lyle would sneak out to a mattress in the woods and make love, despite Lyle’s grandmother’s warnings about the faeries living there. One day Lyle tells Rafael that he has actually seen the faeries, but just as the two boys are about to run off to New York, Lyle is discovered dead. Rafael moves to New York and becomes a successful tailor, but still can’t get over his loss. On one of his trips home to New Jersey, Rafael discovers that Lyle is actually with the faeries and he could bring him back with his tailoring talents.

The Land of Heart’s Desire
Roiben, a faerie king, goes to New York City to visit his girlfriend Kaye, a fellow faery, who owns the Moon in a Cup coffee shop. There, he finds out that Kaye’s best friend Corny has been marketing the café as a place where people can spot faeries. Roiben is angered until he meets someone who has a link to his past. Corny and Roiben then bond over Corny’s problems with his ambitious boyfriend Luis. This story is a great blend of reality and fantasy. (Lee's note: Yes, these are some of the same characters in the same world as in Holly Black's books Tithe, Valiant and Ironside.)

--Posted by Hannah

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UPSTANDERS: How a group of Authors are standing up to Censorship and making us all proud

Imagine you're an author scheduled with a group of other YA authors to appear at a large book fair event for teen fans in a school district.

Now let's say there's a small group of people - maybe just one librarian, and a handful of adults - who don't like what one of your colleagues has written. The author may be a New York Times Best Seller, she may write works of deep beauty and meaning that resonate with Teen readers, but they complain. The superintendent of the school, over the protests of other librarians in the district, decides to un-invite that author.

What do you do?

Are you a bystander? Do you attend the event anyway?

Or are you an UPstander? Do you stand up - again censorship, and take a stand? Do you pull out of the event yourself?

This isn't just a theoretical situation. It's happening, this week.

The festival is the biennial Teen Lit Fest (TLF) in Humble (a suburb of Houston, Texas), scheduled for January 29, 2011 and organized by the Humble ISD Librarians.

The author who was dis-invited last week was the incredible Ellen Hopkins.

Censored Author Ellen Hopkins

And on Monday, Author Pete Hautman withdrew from the festival in protest.

He wrote a great piece about this on his blog, where he shared that

And you know what’s really scary? Here is how the Humble ISD superintendent responded to a letter from one of the librarians who objected to his decision:

“…there are more authors that we would want at our Teen Lit Fest than we could ever have enough Teen Lit Fests to accommodate.”

Pete also published on his blog that

Tera Lynn Childs also withdrew from the festival on Monday.

Matt de la Pena withdrew from the festival on Tuesday.

*UPDATE 8/18/10* And I found out in one of my reader comments that Melissa De La Cruz has withdrawn from the festival as well.


There's a facebook page for the festival here that lists the remaining authors scheduled to attend.


I hope these authors become UPstanders as well - and that NO other authors take their place.

We, as a community of authors and readers, of parents and students, of believers in the power of Children's Literature cannot stand by.

We must stand together, and stand up!

The concept of UPstanders is a wonderful one, coming from this great organization, "Facing History and Ourselves" - which links lessons from history (like the Holocaust) to moral decisions Teens (and the rest of us) face today.

I think this is a great example of authors facing a moral dilemma.

What would YOU do?

Bravo to Pete, Tera, Matt, and of course to Ellen Hopkins!

Let's go buy THEIR books.

And let's see what happens with this festival...


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Side Door - A Lesbian Teen Book

By Jan Donley

Fifteen-year-old Melrose Bird, a.k.a. Mel, steps into high school and out of the closet, bringing her best friend Frank along for the ride. She wonders about Alex Weber—the guy who hanged himself behind Drift High School five years ago. She wonders why his mother haunts the park bench across from the school. In delving into the mystery of Alex Weber, Mel happens upon a pair of his pants—waiting to be donated. She tries them on. They fit. Mel and the pants become inseparable, and the contents of the pockets change everything. In learning the truth about Alex’s death, Mel uncovers a town secret that unlocks the school’s closet doors for good.

This was one of those books where the synopsis from the publisher and author was so good, I had to give it to you in their words!

You can also check out a good interview between Jan and her editor at Spinster's Ink here (far right column.)

Add your review of "The Side Door" in comments!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The World Of Spiderman Just Got Gayer... And More REAL!

In a reminder of the power illustrators have in depicting diversity in their work, I just found out through an article over at LGBTQ Nation that there's a gay kiss on the cover of the upcoming October issue of Spiderman!

"A comic classic, The Amazing Spiderman, will debut what is likely the first gay kiss to be featured on the cover of a mainstream comic book."

Check it out:

Spidey's all bummed out about his love-life, and to make the point hit harder, he's surrounded by couples feeling the love. Track 'em, left to right: Inter-racial couple, Cool-looking straight couple, and yes, Marvel at it, there they are, 2 Guys, about to kiss.

Hurray! We've made the Marvel universe - right there on the cover.

And for every queer kid and fan-boy out there, they get to see that they're included in the world of Spiderman... and that if there's a place for them in THAT world, maybe there's a place for them in our REAL world, too.

And that's a message that's truly heroic.

Of course, I still want to see more main GLBTQ storylines in comics, but this is progress and deserves to be celebrated.

So Thanks to the cover artist, David LaFuente Garcia, for being a super-hero of Equality, and to Marvel Comics for running with it!

Good news to start the week!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Vote on which Pro-Gay Marriage Video Should Be The New PSA Broadcast Nationally!

Good News!

Yesterday afternoon,

Judge Vaughn Walker lifted the stay on his court ruling that declared Prop 8 unconstitutional. Judge Walker ruled that Prop 8 will no longer be enforced as of August 18 at 5pm PST, making California the sixth state where same-sex couples are able to marry.

The opposition is, predictably, threatening some legal maneuvers to stop the Gay marriages from starting up again, so I'm guardedly optimistic. I'll be celebrating when they start...

As the battle plays on, a big part of this is public opinion. That translates to votes. And while a new survey found out this week that 52% of Americans now believe we Gays and Lesbian should have the Constitutional right to marry, and I'm delighted we've reached "majority," we need to do more...

Frankly, myself and a large number of other frustrated people in the aftermath of losing Gay Marriage with Prop 8's passage looked back at the commercials our side ran and felt it was a lost opportunity. The ads that I remember seeing seemed to avoid mentioning or showing GAY people at all (I remember a Latina woman in a wedding dress who couldn't quite get past the parked cars in the driveway to make it to the altar where her male fiance was waiting for her, and an older woman talking about her three children and wanting her off camera lesbian daughter to have equality) - and while Gay Marriage is an issue of equality, it's about OUR QUEER Equality.

This time, we're all getting a say in how we're talking about GAY Marriage (a.k.a. Same-Sex Marriage), to the public at large.

The Courage Campaign Institute is asking us to vote:

So go check out the four videos they're considering to edit into a 60 second Public Service Announcement for our side. For the equality of gay and lesbian couples who love each other, and who want to get married. For all GLBTQ people, our allies, and our families...

Go watch them. And vote. I can't wait to hear which one you like best!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

A great analysis of the meaning behind the ruling that Overturned Prop 8: "I'm not just a fag anymore" by David Pisarra

Okay, I admit it.

My reaction to Prop 8 being overturned was pretty subdued. I mean, I'm thrilled with the decision, but I was bummed that the judge still enforced a hold on any new same-sex marriages. I was bracing myself for the onslaught of prejudice, and I wasn't disappointed - conservatives started crying out that the ruling was unfair because the judge was Gay. By that logic, as one liberal pundit put it, you'd need to find a Eunuch to try the case! And I know this is going to take years wending it's way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, so it was hard to get too excited about it.

I guess I felt "cautiously optimistic," and that was all.

But then, I read this column my friend David Pisarra wrote in the Santa Monica Daily Press about the meaning behind Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that overturned Prop 8.

And it's kinda changed my mind. David's take was fascinating, and I had to share a bit of it with you:

He says that Judge Walker...

"ruled in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that there is no rational basis for discriminating against gays and lesbians in the issuance of marriage licenses, and consequently he invalidated Proposition 8, which limited marriage to a man and a woman.

But his 136 page, extremely well thought out, thorough, comprehensive ruling said so much more. He said, in the language of lawyers, that gays and lesbians deserve to be treated no differently than anyone else in our society. This ruling is the hammer that will pound the nail in the coffin of institutionalized public discrimination. On trial in this case was not just Proposition 8, but the underlying belief that homosexuals are a threat to society. For that, is what was used to win passage of Proposition 8..."

It's a great article, and I urge you to go here to read the entire thing.

Because David's right.

Him, and me, and so many of the rest of us are, legally, not just fags anymore.

And that's profound.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Athletic Shorts: 6 Short Stories - A GLBTQ Short Story Collection

By Chris Crutcher

Published in 1989 by Delacorte Press

Athletic Shorts is a great collection of stories, each featuring an athletic male protagonist. If you ever want to defy someone’s stereotypes on dumb jocks, just show them this book. Beautifully crafted and extremely fun to read, two of the stories feature prominent and heartfelt queer characters.

“A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune”
Angus Bethune, an overweight football player, has always known he was different from everyone else. Besides the fact that his pants are more than a couple of sizes bigger than most guys’, he has two sets of gay parents. One day, Angus is nominated for Winter Formal king (because of what he suspects as foul play) and with the help and support of his fathers, he drags himself to the formal to experience what he thinks will be the utter humiliation of dancing. But to his surprise, Angus is able to not only stand up for himself, but also win over the girl of his dreams.

“In the Time I Get”
Louie Banks is no stranger to tolerance. He even gave up his high school football career because of it, when he wouldn’t put an illegal hit on an African- American player and was kicked off the team. Mourning the death of his girlfriend, Louie meets Darren, a homosexual man dying from AIDS. Darren teaches Louie about the true meaning of friendship and grace in the face of tragedy and prejudice.

--Posted by Hannah

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Grl2Grl: Short Fictions - A LTQ Short Story Collection

By Julie Anne Peters

Published in 2007 by Little, Brown Books

This anthology focuses on queer women on the verge of adulthood; some are just coming to grips with their sexual orientation, while others are desperately trying to get their actual body (like in the story “Boi” which is truly a highlight). The stories are short, yet each is incredibly heartfelt and fun to read.

Tam, a trend-follower, sees Andrea on the bus every day. She is fascinated by everything about Andrea: the baggy clothes, the red lipstick, the way she wears her hair and the way she makes everyone else wonder what to label her. One day Tam decides to solve the mystery of Andrea for herself.

“Can’t Stop this Feeling”
It's Mariah’s sophomore year of high school and she has promised herself that this is the year she'll go to the GSA. Scared at the idea of knowingly walking into the classroom, she creates an excuse... but finds that with the help of her classmate Lily, she is always welcome.

“After Alex”
Rachael can’t seem to get over her first love, Alex. In fact she has divided her life into three eras: Before Alex, During Alex, and After Alex. Every time Rachael starts to move forward Alex sucks her back in. This story is great at capturing the conflicting feelings of loving someone you just can't get over.

Logan wants to give a special card to her love on the last day of winter break, but just can’t decide what to write on it. How can she perfectly describe her feelings for this girl?

“On the Floor”
Two girls are playing a tough and fast-paced game of basketball, but could there be more going on between them?

“Stone Cold Butch”
This heart-wrenching story focuses on Cam, a girl who feels she does not deserve her admirer Taunia’s affections. She even shaves her head to show the world how unattached she is. However, there is a reason why Cam is so cold on the inside; the person who she should trust most in the world is hurting her.

“Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”
Aimee is distressed by her sex-ed class, which never focuses on same-sex intercourse. One day she poses the question: if people are supposed to wait until marriage, like her teacher says, then what are same-sex couples supposed to do in places that they can't get married? Her teacher is no help but one good thing does come from her teacher’s awful answer: she reconnects with her best friend that she lost years ago.

Vince was born Eva but always knew that he was a “boi”. With the support of his cousin Kevin, Vince is saving up for some testosterone and finally buys a penis of his own from a sex shop. This becomes his security and most prized possession, until one day it is violently taken away from him. Haunting, humorous at times, and realistic, this story really helps those lucky enough to be born in the right body realize what we take for granted.

Tomorrow is another day.
Scar_Tissue has just broken up with her girlfriend Dylan and finds consolation in Black_Venus, a member of her online chat group. The girls develop a strong connection and profess their love for each other over the Internet. But one day Scar can't seem to find Black_Venus and does not know what to do.

“Two-Part Intervention”
Kat is extremely anxious to go back to her music camp, but not just because of the intense work and competition. Annika, her best friend and the object of her affections is there. The only thing that Kat thinks will get in the way is fellow prodigy Bryce who feels the same way about Annika... but who does Annika really love?

--Posted by Hannah

Monday, August 9, 2010

Save Los Angeles Public Libraries: Author & Librarian Erica Silverman on how Writers owe a lot to our libraries

Erica Silverman is one of my daughter's favorite authors, and one of my favorite people. A children's book author who's written amazing picture books like "Don't Fidget A Feather"

as well as the completely lovable chapter book series "Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa,"

The latest installment of which has Cocoa, Cowgirl Kate's horse, deciding he wants to live in the best stall of all - the family's kitchen! (That's Horse in the House.)

***correction - #6 just came out this Spring, "Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies"


Erica is also a part-time librarian, with a front-row seat of the crisis facing the city of Los Angeles' libraries.

I saw her at the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators recent 2010 Summer Conference here in Los Angeles, and she told me something stunning about the value of libraries.

So stunning, I asked her to tell me it again on video. She did, and here it is:

Thanks, Erica, for putting it in terms that are very concrete:

Libraries are critical for writers, for our children, and for our society.

Find out what you can do to help!




Friday, August 6, 2010

What do Teens think of Prop 8 being overturned?

LA Youth is a newspaper by and about Teens. When this week's news broke about the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 being overturned in Federal Court, they turned to some of their 80+ teen staff members for their opinions. The result is the article, "What Teens Think About Prop 8 Being Struck Down."

"Well so much for democracy. ...The opinion of 7 million voters is ignored because one person said so."
--Lubina, 17

"Even if people don’t like gays, they should at least let them live happily with the same basic rights as everyone else. I hope that gay marriage is allowed throughout the country."
--Sunitha, 18

"If we are to change the definition of marriage—like this decision has done—I believe we have to consider all the effects and ignore the zealous drive for engineered equality that many are using to justify supporting this ruling."
--Esteban, 17

"I should be thrilled by the judge’s ruling, but my reaction to it was pretty subdued. No matter what decision was made, there’s no way everyone can be satisfied. Even though gay marriage isn’t illegal, it isn’t officially legal yet, and probably won’t be for a long time, so I’m not going to get excited about it just yet."
--Feather, 15

"I think this is great. This is what should have been done a while ago...Gays pay taxes and work just as hard as any other American so they should be given the rights all of us have."
--Stanton, 17

From cynical fatalism, to religious objection; from frustration with the system, to enthusiastic support of same-sex marriage, it is fascinating reading.

Check it (and the rest of the LA Youth publication) out!

And if you want YOUR voice heard (if you're a Teen or not), go ahead and leave a comment here with your opinion on the ruling! (You don't have to agree with me, but you do have to be polite.)


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prop 8 Decision Comes In, Overturning the Anti-Gay Marriage Prop 8

So the great news broke yesterday

Judge Vaughn R. Walker's conclusion:

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Of course, questions remain: Will the ruling allow same-sex marriages to resume while the case is inevitably appealed?

And when it is appealed, in two more steps it will most likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Who will be on that court, and whether or not that court will rule in favor of the equality of our gay and lesbian marriages we just don't know.

But for this week, my state has once more said that my marriage to my husband is valid and equal.

Liberty and Justice for All included me, my husband, and our child with this ruling.

And that's something to celebrate!

And on a personal note, I gotta shout out,

Hey, husband: I LOVE YOU!


I found this graphic, and lots of info on celebration rallies nationwide at Rex Wokner's blog.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories - A GLBTQ Short Story Collection

by Sandra McDonald

Published in 2010 by Lethe Press

Frosted with humor and magic, these whimsical short stories are a real treat. Set in and around the fictitious land of Massasoit, Diana Comet takes the reader on a journey filled with Tinkerbobs (the fairy mascot of Fire station 13 if you didn’t already know), sailing nuns, and one strong willed, beautiful, and independent transsexual. Coupled with humorous and thought-provoking author’s notes and woven together seamlessly through these characters, these stories take you deep into the fictitious world and leave you wanting more.

The introduction of this collection centers on two men aboard a ship. One of them feels he is destined to save all of the many “dangerous” books that will be thrown away in the world and must stay on the ship when his friend leaves. The captain of the ship, a nun (yes, really - black habit and all) assures the distraught man that the book-saver will lead an important life saving ‘dangerous’ books — and then goes to drink.

“Graybeard and the Sea”
Graybeard, a head of a pirate from an attraction on the boardwalk of Revere beach, longs for one thing: the taste of ocean water. When a seagull tells him its tastes of dead fish and sewage, Graybeard is still not deterred. He befriends a young boy named Cubby, an orphan whose one dream is to go to the city of Massasoit where there are people like him. With the arrival of the dreaded cigar-chomping boss of the theme park, Cubby flees but not before giving Greybeard what he has been lusting after all those years.

“Diana Comet and the Disappearing Lover”
Hailing from New Dali, Diana Comet is beautiful, wealthy, fiercely independent and in search of her lost fiancée James Hartvern in the industrious city of Massasoit. But Diana is not like all of the other ladies of the aristocracy; under her beautiful gowns, Diana conceals her ‘dirty parts’. Upon arriving in Massasoit Diana finds two young Cornish girls (the Cornish people are discriminated against in the city) who need a place to stay. She takes them with her to Prince Harami’s embassy, where she is allowed to reside in exchange for a badge from the Massasoit Fire Department. Dressed as a boy (a necessary evil according to Diana) she sets out to find her lost love and soon discovers that the rumors might not be true and true love is real after all.

“Pieter and the Sea Witch”
In order to support his wife and kids Pieter joins the army and travels from Massasoit to Fort Destruction, a small isolated island. There, the idiotic Runney and Sergeant Tayborn warn him of the ghost of Mrs. Santolv, a wife of one of the army captains who surprised her husband on Deadwinter only to find him in bed with another man. Every Deadwinter’s eve the scorned woman comes to get the married men. Of course, Deadwinter’s eve just so happens to be that night and when a tragic event happens, only Pieter knows the truth.

“In the Land of Massasoit”
Cubby, fresh from the land of Cardyr, hops a train to Massasoit. Lost in the city with no where to go he is told by a statue of a horse (which then turned into a real horse after Cubby fed it grass…obviously) and a squirrel to go to the Hartvern House where Diana Comet would take care of him. There, Cubby meets Miss Fay, Diana’s predecessor who offers him a place to stay.

“Fay and the Goddesses"
An eight-year-old Fay is torn between two worlds and two goddesses. Her father and Uncle in the city want her to worship the Stern Loving Mother while her Grammy in the country tries to convince her she belongs to the Water Mama. Fay encounters a graying Diana Comet while in the city but it is when she returns to her Grammy that she takes her life into her own hands.

“Diana Comet and the Lovesick Cowboy”
Just as Landan, a drunken cowboy pining after his lost love Isaac, is about to shoot up the saloon down the street, he gets a visit from the one and only Diana Comet. She prepositions the former army captain with a job escorting her to find one of the children from the Hartvern House who she has lost contact with. The two discover that Kevin has gone to follow the famed poet Whitney Waltman on his last tour. In their quest to find Kevin, they discover each other’s secrets and the incredible Miss Comet helps Landan find happiness that does not come from a bottle.

“What You Wish For”
As a hurricane comes roaring to the boardwalk, the miserable Graybeard finally gets what he has always wanted.

“The Goddess and Lieutenant”
Following in her war-hero mother’s footsteps, Lieutenant Teague is sent to Ravina for her first tour of duty. This army isn’t just any normal army: it is composed entirely of women and any inter-soldier relationships are strictly prohibited. Teague starts off on the wrong foot with Seargent Lyss but as time goes on those feelings start to change and with visits from the Goddess, Teague rethinks her life and starts to have forbidden thoughts.

“The Firemen’s Fairy”
After graduating from the Massasoit Firefighters academy, Steven gets placed at Fire Station 13 whose supernatural mascot is Tinkerbob, a 3 inch tall rainbow-winged flamboyant fairy. Uncomfortable with Tinkerbob's affections and whistling, Steven takes out his anger on the poor fairy. But it is not until Steven is in trouble that he realizes what a great friend Tinkerbob is.

“Nets of Silver and Gold”
Cubby, now a smart and dashing University student with an affinity for firemen, goes off to find his long lost friend Graybeard. After talking to a carousel horse he finds out that Graybeard is lost in the ocean. With the help of a ship commanded by nuns, Cubby launches a rescue mission to find that pirate head.

“The Instrument”
In a war-torn land, in an airport hangar lays a corpse called the Instrument. One day it awakens and delivers a prophecy, yet the Commander of the army will not listen.

“Diana Comet and the Collapsible Orchestra”
Diana Comet is suffering from both the loss of her husband and soulmate James and the wrinkles and fat of old age when she finds a magical box that holds the entire Alton Glenn orchestra, who were believed to be dead years ago. When Lady Moncrief extends an invitation for Diana to join her in New Dali, Diana and her assistant Hazel reluctantly accept. There, Hazel has a love affair with an unknown person and Diana discovers a deep dark secret about the Moncrief children.

“Women of the Lace”
While deserted on an island, a grandmother shares with her granddaughter the secret to women’s power for centuries: the magic art of lace making. However there was one woman who ruined it for all: Martha Bellingham who against every rule taught the art of lace making to men so that her wooden-toothed husband could win his war. After many years, the two are saved and you will never guess just who is on that boat…

--Posted by Hannah

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What I learned at the SCBWI 2010 Summer Conference

Left to right: M.T. Anderson, Arthur A. Levine, and Me (Lee Wind)

I've long believed that having a career in the world of Children's literature meant nurturing oneself in three realms:




And I knew that the SCBWI Summer Conference would deliver that. And the editors, agents and authors did! Here are some highlights that will resonate with me for months to come:


Stephanie Lurie saying "I think digital could be the re-birth of the picture book."

Rubin Pfeffer suggesting that "Perhaps SCBWI should become an e-publisher."

David Diaz urging we writers and illustrators to hold on during all the current changes because "publishing will be HUGE - bigger than it has ever been before."

Alexis O'Neill's session on school visits showing me the steps of the path forward.

Bruce Hale's enthusiasm about Skype School visits!

All of it made me think and feel hopeful about our role as content creators in the future of children's literature.


M.T. Anderson's incredible session on experimental fiction techniques was, well... incredible. Who knew a poem could be just numbers? It blew my mind! Oh, and his Keynote on how "literature restores the sense of the unknown to the known!"

Paul Fleischman running down all the separate documents he keeps while writing - fascinating!

The writing exercise in Linda Sue Park's intensive that helped me see how character and setting can't be separated.


A Gail Carson Levine writing prompt that makes me want to write a new book.

Rachel Vail saying "Life or death moments are a dime a dozen in 7th grade" - and me nodding emphatically.

Gennifer Choldenko saying, "There is a kid out there who needs your book. Write for that kid." And me feeling that so strongly.

And yet, what I really understand now is that there is a fourth realm that is critical:


Hanging out and talking craft and life with Kathleen Duey.

Talking with Diane De Las Casas about School Visits and Facebook friends.

Asking Rilla Jagga if she really thinks people multi-task or if they just switch their attention back and forth really fast, and having her answer: "We are a single CPU Processor."

Listening to Lisa Yee speaking about Sid Fleischman so beautifully.

Ashley Bryan leading over 1,100 of us in chanting poems. Magical!

Standing with the rest of SCBWI Team Blog onstage during the Golden Kite Awards and hearing the appreciation for the work we do was remarkable and heady. I was (and remain) so grateful.

Gleefully celebrating with my friend Sara Wilson Etienne at the announcement of her 2 book deal the monday of the conference in Publishers Weekly!

Seeing my friend Rita Crayon Huang taking amazing photos throughout the conference - and even a new author photo for me!

The fun of dancing with friends new and familiar at the Gala Saturday night!

And maybe most exciting, me being on the Saturday "A Look at the GLBTQ Marketplace" panel and having the honor of hosting the "GLBTQ Lunchtime Chat by the Pool" on Friday.

And my epiphany about the conference is that it's here that I find that sense of community - that sense of not just having found my tribe, but of BELONGING to my tribe. And that makes being at the conference, hanging out in the hotel lobby, smiling at people I don't know on the escalators, and talking children's books with other passionate, smart, wonderful people so amazing. It's something we can't really convey digitally. Being there, in person, and feeling truly part of it all - the fabulous comraderie that, for me, makes the conference priceless!

Thank you to my SCBWI kid lit community. I'm so excited about the future, and so grateful to have been part of this conference.

And I already can't wait for the 2011 Winter Conference in New York!


ps - if you want more details on the sessions these amazing moments were from, check out my posts on the official SCBWI Conference Blog!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The SCBWI 2010 Summer Conference: Day Four!!!!

Breathe deep. Pace Yourself. So. Much. Good. Stuff. Still. To. Come!

Rachel Vail's morning keynote! (check out this pre-conference interview with Rachel by my fellow SCBWI Team Blogger, Suzanne Young!)

Paul Fleischman's Keynote!! (You can check out my pre-conference interview with Paul here - he's incredible, I can't wait for this one!)

We get a publisher's panel, with Justin Chanda, Jennifer Hunt (there's a great pre-conference interview with Jennifer by SCBWI Team Blog captain Alice Pope here), Stephanie Lurie and Francesco Sedita (also interviewed by Alice here), the final morning and afternoon workshops, and Ashely Bryan's closing Keynote.

An autograph party finishes the day and the conference, and there will be lots of hanging out and schmoozing and hugging and sharing of conference tales...

Thanks for coming along on this adventure with me and the rest of SCBWI Team Blog!

And tomorrow we'll all get a chance to process some of the amazing insights of the last four days...


Sunday, August 1, 2010

The SCBWI 2010 Summer Conference: Day Three!!!


Today's the Golden Kite Luncheon and Awards Presentation - I can't wait to hear the winners speak - especially Julia Durango (she wrote the awesome MG adventure, "Sea of the Dead" which won the Golden Kite for Fiction!)

There's a morning panel on Narrative Nonfiction, and keynotes by Carolyn Mackler, Gennifer Choldenko and Rubin Pfeffer throughout the day. You can check out this great pre-conference interview with Rubin Pfeffer here by SCBWI Team Blogger Martha Brockenbrough.)

The amazing parade of morning and afternoon workshops continues, but don't despair if you can't clone yourself. SCBWI Team Blog will be doing our best to give you the flavor (and a few choice tidbits) from sessions YOU couldn't attend!

So make sure to check out the Official SCBWI Conference Blog, and hit the bookstore (you don't want your favorite books to sell out before the autograph party tomorrow...)

follow the tweets to

And at 5:30pm (or immediately after Rubin Pfeffer's Keynote) join me and Social Media Guru Greg Pincus for The SCBWI 2010 Summer Conference Tweet Up! That's where those of us tweeting the conference (and tweeting about Children's Literature) will gather in person to mingle and mix and meet each other. Join us in the conference hotel lobby!

Oh, and there's peer critiques and yoga later tonight at 7:30pm - both yang and yin to keep your energies flowing!

One more day of this marathon of goodness to go...