Friday, August 29, 2014

End of the Innocence: Tales From Foster High - A Gay Teen In High School Series

End of the Innocence: Tales From Foster High by John Goode

Kyle Stilleno is the invisible student, toiling through high school in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. Brad Greymark is the baseball star of Foster High. When they bond over their mutual damage during a night of history tutoring, Kyle thinks maybe his life has changed for good. But the promise of fairy-tale love is a lie when you’re gay and falling for the most popular boy in school.

There's also an audio version of this title. Add your review of this or any of the "Tales From Foster High" books by John Goode in comments!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gender 101, episode #19 Redux: Meet Frankie

My Gender Queer friend Benji continues the conversation about gender by introducing us to Frankie Palacios.

They discuss identity, how gender is culturally defined - particularly in Latino/Latina culture, and the term "Macho Femme." It's a great introduction to another Gender Queer and very cool person, and I'm so delighted to meet Frankie. I think you will be, too.

Here are three comments from the original post, many of which reference the series' return:

ivanova said...
Awesome! I'm really excited we have another "semester" of Gender 101 and I hope Frankie will return.
February 22, 2012 at 6:19 AM

Lisa Jenn Bigelow said...
Oh yay, I was hoping there would be more of these! Awesome.
February 22, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Joanna said...
I love this series and was waiting for its return. Thanks Lee, Benjie and Frankie.
February 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Monday, August 25, 2014

Great Resource: Campus Pride Releases Their 2014 List of the "Top 50 LGBT-Friendly Colleges & Universities"

Looking ahead at college?

For LGBTQ and Allied high school students, this list by Campus Pride is a very useful tool to add to the mix. It not only lists the "Top 50," but has scores for more than 375 additional colleges and universities.

Check it out!


Friday, August 22, 2014

If There's A Heaven Above: A 1980s Goth Teen Tries To Find The Guy Of His Dreams

If There's A Heaven Above by Andrew Demcak
It's the early 1980's and Matt is on the cusp of adulthood in the flickering shadows of Los Angeles' Gothic music scene. He dives into a pulsating world of death-rock music, sexy musicians, and strung-out groupies in leather bondage pants and vampire makeup. Through the faded glamour and glittering whirlpool of alcohol and drugs, Matt moves from one good time to the next, searching for something more.

Then he meets Patch: shirtless, tribal-tattooed, wearing cut-off jean shorts still damp from an afternoon at the beach. Patch is a punk-rock Adonis who wears his dark hair spiked up and whose blue eyes are bloodshot from too much late-night fun. Patch doesn’t say much when they first meet, but his body speaks to Matt’s on a cellular level, pure chemistry. To Matt, Patch's tattoos tell him they are part of an invisible tribe, the night people.

But one night is all Matt gets with Patch before he disappears into the neon-washed streets. Matt sets out to find him again, sure Patch is "the One." Along for the ride are his friends Annie and Suzy, one straight, one gay. Wearing too much Aqua-Net and torn fishnets, the girls cruise L.A. in a white Mustang whose seat belts are perfect beer bottle openers. The ultimate Goths, they adore Siouxsie and the Banshees, paint their eyes with kohl, and vow to help Matt in his quest to hook up with Patch.

Will Matt be able to find Patch in L.A.'s drug-soaked clubs? Will one night be all he gets with the man of his dreams? If there's a heaven above, will Matt ever find it?

This book was one of 51 nominees for the American Library Association's 2014 Rainbow List. Add your review of "If There's A Heaven Above" in comments!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gender 101, episode #18 Redux: Being Trans Enough

Continuing my discussions with my gender queer friend Lucy, we explore Lucy's experiences with being seen in different circumstances as being either too trans or not trans enough. Here's the link, with the video below:

Thanks, Lucy.

Here are the comments from the original post, some of which reference a planned break in the roll-out of the Gender 101 series:

ivanova said...
I'm going to miss these Gender 101 videos and look forward to seeing them again in the spring. I have heard some things recently that echo what Lucy was saying about being considered not trans enough or too trans, such as some people in the trans community criticizing "no hos" or saying that genderqueer people are just posing. I like what Lee says about keeping your eyes on your own mat. There are a lot of people "on our team" who don't have a handy label to describe them, like partners of trans people. Queer people don't all have to like each other or hold hands and sing kumbayah, but I feel like allowing differences to divide us is just knuckling under to forces of oppression, if that doesn't sound too dramatic.
December 7, 2011 at 8:54 AM

erica lorraine scheidt said...
Lee, I've really liked this series too.

I'm going to resend you an email, will you look out for it from elscheidt at gmail?

Thanks -- see you soon.

And Lucy? You rock.
December 7, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Kelly Robinson said...
I'm a new reader/subscriber, but I've loved what I've seen of this series. I know there will be plenty of good content to take its place, though!
December 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

KristinClarkVenuti said...
I've enjoyed this series and look forward to future content! Episode #18 really hit home in terms of expressing the unique challenges of gender fluidity. Love the yoga analogy and the gentle reminder that everyone needs to keep their eyes on their own mat. Bravo!
December 8, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Hannah said...
I've found this vlog post very in formative. As a trans woman, I often feel that I am not trans enough. Not because I haven't transitioned, I have, but because I don't fit the unwritten criteria of other trans people. Additionally I find SOFFA groups or people often dominate trans support groups and often challenge particular trans voices.
December 8, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Monday, August 18, 2014

Replica - A YA Dystopian Future of Clones, Spies, Murder and A Gay Secret

Replica by Jenna Black

Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake’s marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in the Corporate States. She lives a life of privilege even if she has to put up with paparazzi tracking her every move, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image—no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.

Nathaniel Hayes is the heir to the company that pioneered human replication: a technology that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Except he’s more interested in sneaking around the seedy underbelly of the state formerly known as New York than he is in learning to run his future company or courting his bride-to-be. She’s not exactly his type…not that he can tell anyone that.

But then Nate turns up dead, and Nadia was the last person to see him alive.

When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory back-up, he doesn’t know what—or rather, who—killed him.
Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.

It's the first in a series. Add your review of "Replica" in comments.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown - Urban Fantasy Horror with a Transgender Character

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

And yes, one of the character is revealed to be transgender. No, I won't tell you who... Add your review of "The Coldest Girl In Coldtown" in comments!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gender 101, Episode 17 Redux: The No Pronoun Preference

In this episode my gender queer friend Lucy explains how even well-intentioned questions about preferred gender pronouns from queer people and our allies can misfire - and then explains how to successfully navigate the conversation.

I really am learning so much! Thanks, Lucy.


Here are the comments on the original post:

Kelly Robinson said...
Very informative and makes so much sense. Pronouns take the place of a noun, so there's no reason they have to be used at all. (As we learned on Schoolhouse Rock, though, if your name is Rufus Xavier Sasaparilla, it can be tiring to say!)
November 30, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...
I love the name "Rufus Xavier Sasaparilla!" (I'm going to have to watch that one again soon.)
Glad the video resonated for you,
November 30, 2011 at 9:38 AM

ivanova said...
I learned something here. I can see how it could be awkward if you ended up with a sentence like like "Sasparilla left Sasparilla's bag in Sasparilla's car," but being respectful is worth it.
November 30, 2011 at 8:44 PM

LBT said...
And as many folk who've been closeted about the gender of a significant other can tell you (plenty of LGBs), constructing sentences in ways that don't require pronouns may take practice, but can end up sounding perfectly unstilted.

"She & I tried to be punctual, but she forgot the tickets in the car and I forgot my jacket."
"The two of us tried to be punctual, but forgot the tickets and a jacket in the car."
Also saying "this one" and nodding towards the person in question when telling a story about someone who is present is a handy trick, especially in casual contexts.
December 1, 2011 at 11:56 PM

Anonymous said...
My GSA plays a kind of game for introductions that I learned at a team building work shop. Everyone introduces themself, but they do it in the third person, like they were introducing a friend. Besides being an interesting twists on introductions, it's also a good way to find out how someone wants to be referred to without explicitly asking them.
December 2, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Emilie K said...
One of my friends is gender-fluid, and when I was introduced to [name], they said 'you can call me [name], and as for pronouns... i use 'unicorn''. This just goes to show that we have no actual use for pronouns, other than the sheer fact that we always have used them! My friend is the cooled unicorn i've ever met :)
December 5, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Monday, August 11, 2014

WONDERland - A YA Mystery with Teen Outcasts and Three Queer Relationships

WONDERland by David-Matthew Barnes

After her mother loses her battle to cancer, fifteen-year-old Destiny Moore moves from Chicago to Avalon Cove, a mysterious island in South Carolina. There, she starts a new life working part-time as a magician’s assistant and living with her eccentric uncle Fred and his hottie husband, Clark. Destiny is soon befriended by two outcasts, Tasha Gordon and Topher McGentry. She accepts their invitation to accompany them to a place called Wonderland, a former boarding house owned by the enigmatic Adrianna Marveaux. It’s there that Destiny meets and falls in love with Dominic, Tasha becomes enamored with Juliet, and Topher gives his heart to Pablo. When Destiny uncovers the reason she and her friends have really been brought to Wonderland, she’s faced with the most crucial choice of her life.

Add your review of WONDERland in comments!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher - Middle Grade Hijinks With A Family Of Four Boys and Two Dads

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

Meet the Fletchers: four boys, two dads, and one new neighbor who just might ruin everything.

Sam, age 12
Mostly interested in soccer. And food. And his phone.

Jax, age 10
Psyched for fourth grade. Thinks the new neighbor stinks, and not just because of the skunk.

Eli, age 10 (but younger than Jax)
Delighted to be starting this year at the Pinnacle School, where everyone’s “the smart kid.”

Frog (not his real name), age 6
Wants his new friends at kindergarten to save a seat for his invisible cheetah.

The start of the school year is not going as hoped for the Fletcher brothers. Their miserable new neighbor, Mr. Nelson, complains about everything. Even worse, each boy finds his plans for school success veering off in unexpected directions. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.

From camping trips to scary tales told in the dark, from new schools to old friends, from imaginary cheetahs to very real skunks, the Fletchers’ school year—as always—is anything but boring.

There's a fun interview with debut author Dana Alison Levy here at Mr. Schu Reads. Thanks to Yapha for the heads-up on this title.

You can add your own review of "The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher" in comments!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gender 101, episode #16 Redux: Masculinity, Femininity, Androgyny (And The Alien Abduction Question...)

Okay, my conversation with our gender-queer friend Lucy really is about Masculinity, Femininity and Androgyny. About how we identify, on the outside and on the inside. And even about the gender-loaded terms "handsome" and "beautiful."

But the Alien question is in there.

Thanks, Lucy!


The original posting had these comments: said...
This episode got me thinking (as usual). My mom has referred to various women family members as "handsome," and I've seen the photos to see what she means -- classically attractive features, but more androgynous than very feminine. I've heard other people use "handsome" to describe female masculinity, but I do think it's uncommon... perhaps since female masculinity is undervalued in our society and even thought unattractive by many people.

I've heard "beautiful" to describe men's physical appearance, too, but I think it's usually with a touch of irony (e.g., "Colin Firth is a beautiful, beautiful man and I want to have his brooding British babies."). I've more often heard "beautiful" to refer to both male and female animals -- "That's a beautiful dog / cat / tiger" -- without getting hung up on sex/gender. It would be great if we could do that with people, too.
November 7, 2011 at 5:35 AM

Grass said...
If it helps, i tend to lean towards the word gorgeous when describing particularly attractive people, but i use the word beautiful to describe pretty much everything under the sun (men, Women, Gender queer peeps, unicorns and the occaisional cactus.)
March 29, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Monday, August 4, 2014

Inspiration Sings To Me... #LA14SCBWI

I've been at this blog all weekend...

I just completed three days of non-stop work (and fun), blogging and leading the team of bloggers for the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators 2014 Summer Conference. We've had over 43,000 page views in three-and-a-half days to the conference blog, and it's been an amazing experience.

From my own journal, here are profound moments that are still resonating for me:

Author Meg Rosoff sharing Mem Fox's goal for their book:

"that the emotional temperature of a reader has been changed by reading it."

Meg's own advice:

"Write the strongest, fiercest, most subversive thing you can write."

Agent Erin Murphy:

"For every success in publishing there is a waiting period that feels like failure."

Author Stephen Chbosky:

"The next generation of classic are literally in this room."

and again, Stephen Chbosky:

"There was never George Orwell's 1985."

Senior Editor at Booklist, Ilene Cooper, on reviews:

Remember that "Booklist didn't care for Charlotte's Web."

From the Diversity Panel:

"One of the best ways to support diverse books is to buy diverse books."

From the LGBTQ Q&A, Author Tim Federle:

"You will get push-back and you will be celebrated."

Also from the LGBTQ Q&A, Agent Danielle Smith:

"Don't be afraid to write the characters you want to write. Kids need them."

Publisher Justin Chanda:

"It's your job to write the book you want to write. That is it. And that is everything."

Illustrator Aaron Becker (or was it Journey?):

"Don't stop... Believing!"

Author Martha Brockenbrough:

"Teachers need help with Common Core." And we authors can help them.

Author Maggie Stiefvater:

"It's not write what you know. It's write what you know the essence of."

Author Meagan McDonald:

"Many a children's book is working out some childhood splinter that still pains you. That thing that pierces you and won't let you go."

Author Jim Averbeck:

When writing your book and doing research "be well organized." This will save you when you're gathering all the materials after writing it.

Director for Penguin Random House Young Reader Sales Felicia Frazier:

"The book is new for somebody every year!"

and Felicia again:

"Our failures are opportunities."

Exec. Director of Publicity for Penguin Young Readers Group Shanta Newlin:

"Every year we see more book festivals popping up." And that's a good sign.

One editor told Deborah Halverson:

"I'm not looking to reject. I'm looking to find."

Author Linda Sue Park:

"Our job is to make every word count."

Author Sharon Flake:

Being on the road, she lets kids see her insecurities. "They have to know" that you can have insecurities and still achieve great things.

Author Pat Zietlow Miller on receiving the Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text:

"I got 126 rejections before I got my first acceptance."

Author David Meissner on receiving the Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction:

"Don't confuse your success as a writer with your own self-worth."

Author/Illustrator Tomie dePaola:

"the fame mosquito."

and Tomie again, on his favorite piece of advice:

"Be Brave."

And the final quote goes to iconic author Judy Blume:

"Writing, in many ways, saved my life."

Friday, August 1, 2014

A sneak peek of the LGBTQ Q&A conference faculty guests at this year's sold-out SCBWI Summer Conference!

One of my favorite events of the year, the SCBWI Summer Conference starts today! I'm once again heading up SCBWI's Team Blog, and we'll be tweeting (follow the hashtag #la14scbwi) and blogging live from the conference floor over at the Official Conference Blog.

Among the conference events I'm most excited about is getting to host the LGBTQ Q&A session this evening (Friday August 1, 2014), from 7:30pm - 8:30pm in Olympic II.

Our faculty guests this year are fantastic, and will be joining us with enthusiasm, encouragement, and answers to attendees' questions about the fears, challenges and triumphs of including LGBTQ characters and themes in works for children and teens.

Who are they?

Tim Federle, 2014 Golden Kite For Fiction Winner for his Middle Grade novel, "Better Nate Than Ever." I did a fun pre-conference interview with Tim here.

Author Tim Federle

Agent Danielle Smith, of Red Fox Literary

Agent Danielle Smith

Agent Adriana Dominguez, of Full Circle Literary

Agent Adriana Dominguez

Art Director Laurent Linn from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (who worked on Tim's cover!)

Laurent Linn and a friend

and legendary author Bruce Coville (who has published over 120 books and whose "Am I Blue?" short story back in 1995 gave the title to the ground-breaking Marion Dane Bauer-edited anthology, "Am I Blue?: Coming Out From the Silence."

Author Bruce Coville

If you're attending the SCBWI Summer conference, I hope to see you there. Otherwise, if it's of interest, stay tuned to the conference blog and to twitter for a tapas-like taste of what's sure to be an amazing event, in a weekend of superlatives!

** UPDATE SAT AUG 2, 2014, 6:33AM **

You can read my session summary here at the Official SCBWI Conference Blog.