Monday, July 30, 2018

99 Days Till We Vote Them All Out



Today's motivation brought to you by the separation of immigrant children from their parents. What's your motivation? 

#VoteOrTheyWin #Resist

If you're not old enough or otherwise can't vote, you can still spread the word. I'll be posting this countdown on:

Twitter: @leewind

Facebook: leewind

and

Instagram: iamleewind

Join me, and let's get out the vote to stop this selfish and cruel administration in its tracks.

Thanks!

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

"Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" Gets a Strong Review In Kirkus Reviews!


And, just in case the graphic isn't showing up (and because it's so much fun to share it!), here's that again:

“The novel’s premise is a real hook, lending Wind’s complex story a sense of gravitas beyond the personal narrative. Add to that the thorough research behind Wyatt’s discovery (and the end notes that go along with it), and readers have something with real potential to influence and educate on top of entertaining... Wyatt’s need to feel connected and accepted is palpable and genuine... A tapestry of the gay teenage experience—frayed edges repaired with earnest love and care.” —Kirkus Reviews

You can click here to read the full review of my novel on the Kirkus Reviews website.

Hurray! That's two strong and positive trade reviews!!

Gratefully,
Lee

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Over 2.5 Million Page Loads To This Blog!



The counter on the Statistics Page of "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?"


I know it's challenging to not get caught up in numbers,  and I want to remember and recognize that each and every individual person's experience can be powerful and meaningful. Having said that...

WOW! We're over two and a half million page loads!

Yesterday, over 1,100 page loads alone.

That's a lot of people visiting this blog.

Finding out about books for kids and teens with LGBTQ characters and themes.

Learning about LGBTQ history.

Exploring politics, and gender, and the intersectionality of identity.

Exposing the connections between prejudices and bias like misogyny and homophobia, and between racism and xenophobia.

And being empowered by stories, music videos, LGBTQ news from all over, and a community coming together to support LGBTQ teens and their allies.

So that nice round number stands for a pretty beautiful thing. You. And me. Together.

We did this. And I'm so proud of us.

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

Love, Penelope - a 10 year old girl with two moms writes letters to her on-the-way baby sister



Love, Penelope by Joanne Rocklin, Illustrated by Lucy Knisley

Penny is excited to welcome her new sibling, so throughout her mom's pregnancy she writes letters to it (not it, YOU ). She introduces herself (Penelope, but she prefers "Penny") and their moms (Sammy and Becky). She brags about their home city, Oakland, California (the weather, the Bay, and the Golden State Warriors) and shares the trials and tribulations of being a fifth-grader (which, luckily, YOU won't have to worry about for a long time).

Penny asks little questions about her sibling's development and starts to ask big questions about the world around her (like if and when her moms are ever going to get married "for real").

Add your review of "Love, Penelope" in comments!

Friday, July 20, 2018

My Letter to the Editor Was Published In Our Local Newspaper


While it was originally titled: “Seven Nice Things Liberals Can Say About Trump,” otherwise every word is mine, and I stand by each of them. Here's the full text of my letter, as printed in the Thursday July 19, 2018 edition of the Palisadian-Post:

Seven Things

Recently, a letter to the editor asked, why can’t liberals say anything nice about our current president? I’ll take that challenge.

1) It’s ironic, but Trump has made us have more empathy. For generations our culture has villainized entire other countries and everyone in them for the terrible actions of their leaders and government. (Think North Korea, Iraq, Russia…) Now, we understand that the people in those countries are probably just like us… good individual people with a callous, cruel, selfish government.

2) Trump has reminded us how vigilant we must be to not repeat the mistakes of Nazi Germany. At the Nuremberg trials, the question was asked, why did regular Germans participate in such inhumanity? The response was they were just following orders. And the world cried out, how could you not just refuse the order? This past month, when ICE agents followed orders to separate children from their parents, alarms should have gone off for all of us.

3) Trump does care about one immigrant. Among all the people who wanted to come to America and become a citizen of this country for a better life, there was one runway and swimsuit model Trump decided to help. Now she’s first lady.

4) Trump took the #MeToo movement to a whole new level. Our current president’s open disdain for women as anything other than objects for his personal physical interest turbo-charged the movement of people speaking up about the mistreatment and sexual harassment they have faced from men in positions of power.

5) Trump has shown us words are important. Calling real news “fake” to discredit any press that criticizes him is just one way our current president uses language to shield himself from being held accountable.

6) Trump has made us see how much more work we need to do as a society to treat others as equals. Our president’s not-so-subtle racism, emboldening the rise of bigotry across the country, reminds us how unfair things are, especially for people of color.

7) Trump is helping get out the vote. Trump’s policies, political maneuverings, and selfishness have energized me and millions of my fellow Americans. Energized those of us who envision an America of the future and not of the past. Energized those of us who want America to be a beacon of justice, equality, and opportunity. Energized those of us who can see beyond our own privilege to care about other human beings to show up on Tuesday November 6, 2018, and vote some sense back into this government.

There you have it. Seven nice things that you (no matter how liberal or conservative you are) and I can say about Trump. You’re welcome.

Lee Wind



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

My first editorial trade review of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" will be in Foreword Reviews!

I'm so excited about this!

The review publishes in the September/October 2018 issue of Foreword Reviews.

Here's the full text of the review, just leaving out the spoilers:

Foreword Review: Young Adult Fiction

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill
Lee Wind
I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? (Oct 2, 2018) Hardcover $25.99 (290pp)
978-1-73222-810-8

Lee Wind’s insightful Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill follows fifteen-year-old Wyatt as he comes to terms with his sexual orientation, thanks to the surprising revelations of a class assignment on Abraham Lincoln.

Wyatt is gay, but he does not want anyone to know. He is certain that he will not find acceptance in his small Oregon town. He is assigned to create a blog focused on letters written between Abraham Lincoln and a friend, Joshua Fry Speed. Based on the letters’ content, Wyatt comes to believe that Lincoln and Speed were romantically involved. If he can convince others that Lincoln—a treasured national hero—was gay, then maybe he will not have to hide his own truths.

The level of cruelty, distrust, and abuse aimed at Wyatt throughout the novel is painful; those who have never experienced such prejudice may be surprised by its intensity. He is bullied badly by a classmate. ...

Wyatt’s fear and isolation come across clearly; the book is valuable for that alone. Fascinating information about Lincoln and Speed is also bound to spark curiosity. Though the book is a work of fiction, the documents that Wyatt reads are all real, and the book includes references for continued learning.

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill is a sympathetic novel that will change the way young readers look at history and the lessons it has to teach.

CATHERINE THURESON (September/October 2018)

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Weekend Bucket List - Cooper is Bi, and this weekend with his best friend Cady and high school dropout Eli might make everything clear... then again, it might not



The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick

High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?

Add your review of "The Weekend Bucket List" in comments!

Friday, July 13, 2018

My Visit To Camp Brave Trails - The LGBTQ Teen Leadership Summer Camp I Wish I Could Have Gone To When I Was A Teen!

What an experience!

Deep in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles, at a summer campgrounds, in a dusty community hall next to a small stream. With rainbow flags, and unicorns, and visible symbols of pride everywhere I turned...

The 60 campers gathered, along with many of their counselors, and I got to tell the story-behind-the-story of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill!"

This was so
amazingly important

and wonderful


The teens were so focused, and appreciative, and snapped their agreement at a number of things I shared, and applauded so heartily after I read them a section of the book—the section where I gave Wyatt the same goosebump moment I had, of realizing that maybe Abraham Lincoln was in love with another guy.

I answered questions, and then my time was over, and they dove into their social activism projects.  I hung out, had dinner with them afterwards and all in all spoke with maybe twenty of the young people. I signed their ARC copies of my book, I signed their journals, I even signed one of my bookmarks! (I had bookmarks to give away, too!)

One handed me my first piece of teen fan art! (Click here to see it.)

Nice things the teens said to me about "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" that I quick-jotted down afterwards so I wouldn't forget:

"I read it in 24 hours. It was good!"

Said while holding my book in their hands: "Thank you. I grew up without seeing any queer representation in media, so it means a lot." 

"I read it and really liked it."

"Thank you so much. This means so much to me."

They asked more questions, shared about their own writing, and overall gave me so much hope. We did this—our community came together to fund giving these young people each a copy of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" as part of a vision to empower them... and we did!

It was a huge moment, and I'm so grateful. My thanks to Jess and Kayla for indeed being BRAVE and putting forth Camp Brave Trails as my non-profit partner in getting 810 donated copies of my book into the hands of LGBTQ and Allied teens!

And if you are—or know—an LGBTQ teen, check out Camp Brave Trails. There are still a handful of spots left in some of their summer sessions, and the environment of being marinated in so much love and acceptance with a group of LGBTQ peers seems absolutely wonderful and transformative.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Dwayne McDuffy Award for Diversity In Comics


I just learned about this award, and am excited to share it here:
"The winner of 3 EISNER AWARDS for his work in comic books, 11 PARENTS’ CHOICE AWARDS, 6 “BEST EDITOR” awards, the 2009 INKPOT AWARD presented by Comic-Con International, and a GOLDEN APPLE AWARD from his alma mater for his “use of popular art to promote and enhance human dignity,” Dwayne McDuffie’s life’s work exemplified both diversity and excellence.

He led by example while presciently stating, “From invisible to inevitable” now the motto of the “Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics.”

At this year's awards...
The 2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics honored five finalists following in Dwayne’s footsteps and announced the winner, LEON Protector of the Playground by Jamar Nicholas.
As explained in this post by Heidi MacDonald announcing the nominees, "the award not only honors Dwayne’s memory but spotlights comics work that promotes a diverse view of the world – both behind the page and on it."

An awesome new resource to find lauded, diverse comics!

Monday, July 9, 2018

The First Piece of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" Teen Fan Art!

I'm so excited about this drawing by a teen at Camp Brave Trails, who handed it to me after I spoke at the camp yesterday, and signed their ARC of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill". (More on the visit later this week.)

For now, here's the piece of art from E.G.:

E.G.'s drawing of Wyatt's goosebumps moment shown on an ARC of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill"


Friday, July 6, 2018

LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens: Providing a Window for All — help for librarians and teachers who want to include Queer books for their students and young patrons



LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens: Providing a Window for All by Christina Dorr and Liz Deskins

Created by two Allies to the LGBTQ community, and with a foreword by openly Gay Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, this excellent resource from the American Library Association's ALA Editions imprint empowers librarians and teachers to frame the inclusion of books with LGBTQAI+ characters and themes for children, tweens, and teens as a human rights issue.

The book is structured in three sections (lists of recommended picture books, middle grade titles, and YA books with LGBTQAI+ characters and themes), and each title includes its "awards and honors," "conversation starter" questions, and resource links.

The book also includes suggestions on how to best deal with stakeholders who disagree with the idea of including books for LGBTQAI+, and the authors make the very accurate distinction of how children's books with LGBTQAI+ characters aren't necessarily about sex, any more than children's books about cisgendered and heterosexual characters are!

From an interview with the authors:

Q: What advice can you offer libraries that are dealing with community objections to LGBTQAI+ books or outreach? Or who may be self-censoring to avoid potential conflicts?

A: Our job is not to only promote those books we like or find interesting; our job is to present a whole and balanced curated collection of materials. In this case, the issue is respect and basic human rights for everyone. Sexuality and gender identity are types of diversity, among many, but neither of these are the impetus of for this book, or the books we suggest. Everyone has a right to see themselves in a book, or their family, or their friends. And everyone has the right to be treated with understanding, empathy, and respect. Our book shares quality titles, conversation starters, and other resources that could assist in the defense of the book, if you should need it.

The book also has a resource list of five blogs with more information about LGBTQAI+ books for children and teens that includes this blog—thanks, Christina and Liz!

"LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens" is a title I highly recommend, especially if you're trying to figure out how to best include queer books for your young readers.

Learn more about the book in this full interview with the authors here.

Add your review of "LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens" in comments!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Just in Time for The 4th of July: Nothing Says Patriotism Like Resistance

With permission, I share here the final speech from the Juneau, Alaska "Families Belong Together Rally" this past Saturday June 30, 2018. Hundreds of people braved the rain to stand in Capital Park to protest our US government policies. Our dear friend Claire Richardson spoke on behalf of the Walker/Mallott Administration.

photo of Claire speaking by Gillfoto

photo of the Juneau rally by Gillfoto

photo of protest signs at the rally by Gillfoto


Hearing passionate people like Claire speak of the current Trump administration's policies—and how we can, in fact MUST, resist them—gives me hope... something I need for today's celebrations.

June 30, 2018 Families Belong Together Rally--Remarks by Claire Richardson, Chief of Staff Lt. Governor Byron Mallott

My 89-year-old immigrant mother called me recently and boy was she upset. She had just finished her weekly delivery of Meals-On-Wheels on a 40-mile route in rural Delaware.
She turned on her television when she got home and there was the story about thousands of little children being separated from their parents at our border.

She was sick to her stomach. You see, my mother arrived on America’s shores by boat sixty years ago. My older sister was then just two years old. My dad had come over earlier for a job. My Mom had little money, no advanced education, and a toddler to feed. Like millions of other immigrants, my mom has been imagining the horror of what if would have been like if little Anne Marie had been taken from her arms.

What, she wanted to know, were we going to do about this outrageous situation.

What I have been able to share with Mom is that the anger she and every one of us here today feels can be channeled into action.

We’re here today, in Alaska, making our voices loud and clear, We will not tolerate what is happening on our border.

And those voices include Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott. Byron and his wife Toni, are in Anchorage right now attending a similar rally.

Both Toni and First Lady Donna Walker, have called attention to the fact that Alaska is no stranger to this idea of separating children from their families. In an opinion piece printed in Alaska newspapers they wrote: “….from the 1930s through the 1970s, the U.S. government took thousands of Alaska Native children from their families, loaded them onto boats, planes, and dogsleds, and sent them to state boarding schools, with the intention of erasing their cultural identity and their connections to home. These Alaskans, including Toni and Byron, now look south and recognize the fear in these children’s voices. Wounds that never fully healed are re-opening.”

We are publicly recognizing how these backward policies damaged generations of families, and we are standing up for our children. From revitalizing native languages, to providing equal education for rural and urban students, to ensuring all kids have access to medical care, we are slowly turning the page. We are hopeful about the next chapter for Alaska’s children.
The Walker/Mallott Administration is speaking out because we must always fight for those who are marginalized. We must speak out against using “national security" as a poor excuse to allow racism.
Our Administration has shared our concerns directly with our leaders in Washington and with the White House.

We are proud to see other Alaskan leaders. such as Senator Lisa Murkowski. demand that family separation polices are immediately ended, and to see businesses such as Alaska Airlines standing strong and refuse to transport migrant children.

Governor Walker adamantly opposes the policy of child separation. Governor Walker declined to volunteer sending Alaska National Guard troops to the Southwest Border for the ongoing border mission. Under his leadership, Alaska has not sent one soldier or one dollar to enable this misguided policy.

The vital work of securing our borders can, and must, be accomplished without systematically tearing apart families. It is pointless to defend our borders if we give up on the values they are supposed to protect. Our nation is not perfect, but we pride ourselves on a few things: justice, and the right to pursue a better future for one’s children.

If we become a country that embraces the mass-removal of children from families as an acceptable strategy for border security, surely we have lost more than we have gained.

A federal executive order has been signed, and a judge has ordered reunification of families. But families are still being detained, and countless children are still separated from their parents.

We, as a nation, are better than this. As leaders in Washington consider long-term immigration solutions, we urge them to learn from our Alaska history, and not repeat it.

Children don’t belong in camps.

They don’t belong in temporary housing.

They don’t belong in government-enforced boarding school.

Families belong together. Period.
###

So it's not really a "happy" 4th of July... It's a resolute 4th of July. We RESOLVE that we will not be silent in the face of the Trump administration cruelty, recklessness, and lawlessness.

Trump and his Republican enablers do not stand nor speak for my America.

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lee Wind, Author of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill"


Lee Wind is the founding blogger and publisher of I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?, an award-winning website about books, culture, and empowerment for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Questioning, and Queer youth, and their Allies. For over 10 years, readers from 100-plus countries have racked up 2.4 million page views—and counting!

In his “Clark Kent” jobs, Lee is the director of marketing and programming at the Independent Book Publishers Association and the official blogger for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. His Superhero job is writing, inspired by our world’s amazing—and untold—LGBTQ history.

Lee lives in Los Angeles with his husband and their teenage daughter. QUEER AS A FIVE-DOLLAR BILL is his debut novel.

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill - The Book


QUEER AS A FIVE-DOLLAR BILL


Wind's engaging, utterly enjoyable tale of teen self-discovery is riveting both for its well-structured, historically-based plot and its emotional honesty.... Wind's polished prose is filled with laugh-out-loud moments... A resonant and admirably crafted work.
—now a semi-finalist for The BookLife Prize

Bound to spark curiosity… a sympathetic novel that will change the way young readers look at history and the lessons it has to teach.”
Foreword Reviews

The premise is a real hook… with real potential to influence and educate on top of entertaining… A tapestry of the gay teenage experience—frayed edges repaired with earnest love and care.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This powerful novel . . . belongs in every library that serves teens.”
—Yapha Mason, school librarian and two-time Newbery Medal judge

“A courageous novel about facing truth, both in history and in yourself.
I applaud this important book.”
—Ellen Wittlinger, author of 14 novels, including the Lambda Literary Award– and Printz Honor Award–winning Hard Love

This one should get people talking! I hope this book . . . finds the large audience it deserves.”
—Brent Hartinger, author of 12 novels, including the groundbreaking Gay teen novel Geography Club




Inspired by real historical evidence that Abraham Lincoln was in love—romantic love—with another man, this debut YA novel was too controversial for traditional publishing. Crowdfunded in six days with a successful Kickstarter campaign that ultimately 182 backers supported, QUEER AS A FIVE-DOLLAR BILL asks LGBTQ teens (and everyone else), What if you knew a secret from history that could change the world?

Wyatt is 15, and nobody in his homophobic small town of Lincolnville, Oregon, knows that he’s Gay. Not even his best friend (and accidental girlfriend) Mackenzie. Then he discovers a secret from actual history: Abraham Lincoln was in love with another guy! Since everyone loves Lincoln, Wyatt’s sure that if the world knew about it, they would treat Gay people differently and it would solve everything about his life. So Wyatt outs Lincoln online, triggering a media firestorm that threatens to destroy everything he cares about—and he has to pretend more than ever that he’s straight. . . . Only then he meets Martin, who is openly Gay and who just might be the guy Wyatt’s been hoping to find.


QUEER AS A FIVE-DOLLAR BILL
by Lee Wind
I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?
On sale: October 2, 2018
ISBN:
978-1-7322281-0-8 (Hardcover) | $25.99
978-1-7322281-1-5 (Paperback) | $13.99
978-1-7322281-2-2 (eBook) | $6.99
Ages 14 & Up

Available wherever books are sold.

Read the "Indie Success" September 2018 feature in Publishers Weekly on "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" here!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Love Is Love - a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid



Love is Love by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Ken Min

In a number of discussions across cultures and the world, children of two dads dressed in rainbow heart t-shirts confide in friends that they're being made fun of. There's a visual storyline of flying kites that come together to form a rainbow, just as all the children come together with their parents, allies, and a larger supportive community to celebrate that what makes a family is love.

The message is simple and beautiful, and the modeled response to mean words is uplifting:

So when some kids say, "Your dads are gay!"
I'll just say, "Yes, they are!"

And when some kids say, "You're not a real family!"
I'll just say, "Yes, we are!"

Definitely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid!

Add your review of "Love is Love" in comments!