Monday, September 16, 2019

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

Hello community!


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


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

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

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

and

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

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

Friday, September 13, 2019

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



Once & Future By Cori McCarthy, Amy Rose Capetta

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

Now I'm done hiding.

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


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

No pressure.

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

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

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



My Brother’s Name is Jessica by John Boyne

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 9, 2019

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

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



Some highlights:

"a wonderful narrative style"

"an eye-opening experience"

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

and praise for Michael Crouch, who narrates the audiobook:

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

You can read the full review here.

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

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

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

Friday, September 6, 2019

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

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

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



I hope it resonates for you, too.

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

Monday, September 2, 2019

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



Noggin By John Corey Whaley

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


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

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

Oh well, you only live twice.

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

Add your review of "Noggin" in comments!

Friday, August 30, 2019

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

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



The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 26, 2019

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



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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 23, 2019

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



Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

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

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

The illustrations are perfect.

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


Abuela's reaction is perfect.

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

The sense of celebration.

Of community.

Of family.

Of love.

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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


Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

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

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

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

Monday, August 19, 2019

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jackie says, "I am a boy!"

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

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

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


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

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

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

Friday, August 16, 2019

Bloom - A Graphic Novel About Young Gay Love, and Baking, and Hard Choices, and Growing Up



Bloom by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band—if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Thanks to Arthur Levine for the heads-up on this one. Add your review of "Bloom" in comments!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Top Ten - A Bi Teen Girl and Her Guy Best Friend Count Down The Top Ten Moments of Their Friendship (Maybe More Than Friendship?) On The Night of Their High School Graduation



Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of best friends. Prickly, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ultra-popular Ryan is a hockey star who can get any girl he wants–and frequently does. But somehow their relationship just works; from dorky Monopoly nights to rowdy house parties to the top ten lists they make about everything under the sun.

Now, on the night of high school graduation, everything is suddenly changing—in their lives, and in their relationship. As they try to figure out what they mean to each other and where to go from here, they make a final top ten list: this time, counting down the top ten moments of their friendship.

What's Queer about it? Gabby is bi, and has an ex-girlfriend, Shay.



Add your review of "Top Ten" in comments!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Queer Kid Lit Inspiration from #LA19SCBWI


I love the SCBWI Summer Conference, and while I wasn't able to attend the whole event this year (a day-job conflict that I will make every effort to avoid happening again!) I did have some amazing moments.

The two that resonate the most strongly were from the same session, the LGBTQ and Allies Social I hosted on Friday night.

In the course of the discussion, I shared that one of my challenges as a creator of work for children and teens that includes LGBTQ characters and themes are the voices that tell me to make things less gay. Part of that I'm sure is internalized homophobia from my childhood. But part is external, the voices of well-meaning folks who want to see me succeed and think the way to do that is to have my work be not quite so... well, Queer. To pull back. To not stand out so much. And I hear it. Quite a bit.

I shared with the group that what I really need is a community of people who tell me the opposite. That my dream is to have a creative community that tells me, "Make it Gayer, Lee!" A creative community that urges me to take risks. To tell the stories I so deeply need to tell, and to push myself to make them as Queer as possible.

Bruce Coville was there, and in a conversation about defining success, we discussed his including a positive gay role model in The Skull of Truth. Which, I said, was really brave of him as it was such a breakthrough (it was published in 1997.)

And Bruce said, "I wasn't brave, I was cranky." He wasn't seeing positive representations of gay people in middle grade books. And so he decided to do something about it himself. He told us about losing a few school visits over it, but ultimately, "Saying what you want to say is way more important." Bruce said that sometimes, success can be defined in terms of "What barrier can I push?"

And then, at the end of the evening's session, illustrator Mara Williams showed me what she'd been working on in her sketchbook:



Thank you, Mara. And thank you, Bruce!

I'll get back to work pushing those barriers. And I'll make it gayer.

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


Friday, August 9, 2019

It's #LA19SCBWI - The 2019 SCBWI Summer Conference!

Starting today, it's one of my favorite times of the year - The SCBWI Summer Conference here in Los Angeles, California!



I'm only going to be able to attend today, due to a work conflict for my IBPA job (I'll be flying to another conference Saturday) so while I won't be part of SCBWI Team Blog this time round, I'm going to enjoy my one full day here!

Three highlights:

The opening keynote by M.T. Anderson! He's brilliant, and it was his editing notes on my 8th revision of Queer as a Five-Dollar Billduring a week-long Highlights Foundation workshop, that took my debut novel up to a whole new level.

The Author Panel, "Creating Books That Matter" with Adib Khorram, Lesléa Newman, Elizabeth Partridge, Lilliam Rivera, and Renée Watson, moderated by Linda Sue Park! Lesléa is a legend and pioneer of LGBTQ inclusion in picture books (her "Heather Has Two Mommies" changed so much) and she interviewed me as a bonus track at the end of the Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill audiobook - it was such a fan-boy moment for me!

The Tribe-Within-a-Tribe "LGBTQAI Social" I'm hosting tonight (Friday August 9, 2019 from 7:30pm-9pm in Platinum C) - we gather, we share, we ask questions, we support, and we know we're not alone in wanting to make sure at LGBTQ lives and loves are represented in Children's Literature and Illustration!

There's so much more - the morning and afternoon breakout sessions, the other keynotes, the portfolio showcase - but the thing I'm most excited about is the people. The community. My other—and overlapping—community of people just as passionate about creating wonderful content for children and tweens and teens as I am.

I can't wait!

If you'll be there and you see me, please say hi!

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

"Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" Gets a Wonderful Editorial Review in Publishers Weekly!

This review is awesome:



Highlights:

“a smart coming-of-age story... a timely discussion about challenging long-held myths about history… profound and honest.” —Publishers Weekly (BookLife)
Read the full review here.

Getting such a positive editorial review for my debut novel from Publishers Weekly is a wonderful moment. So happy to share it with you.

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

Monday, August 5, 2019

2.7 million page loads... and counting!

It's fun to mark these milestones (hundred thousand stones?) with you all!



This blog just blew by 2.7 million page loads (it's at 2,714,043 as I write this.)

Thank you for being my community (from over 100 countries all over the world!), and for finding value in what I'm sharing. I do it from the heart, and to know it resonates means so much.

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

P.S. - if you're not yet signed up for my occasional newsletters, you can do so at the top left of this blog. Thanks!

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Pros of Cons - Three Teen Girls (A Fanfic Writer, a Drummer, and an Amateur Taxidermist) Meet at a Convention Center...



The Pros of Cons By Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, Michelle Schusterman

Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she's ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.

Writer Vanessa Montoya-O'Callaghan has been looking forward to the WTFcon for months. Not just because of the panels and fanfiction readings but because WTFcon is where she'll finally meet Soleil, her internet girlfriend, for the first time.

Taxidermy assistant Callie Buchannan might be good at scooping brains out of deer skulls, but that doesn't mean it's her passion. Since her parents' divorce, her taxidermist father only cares about his work, and assisting him at the World Taxidermy and Fish-Carving Championships is the only way Callie knows to connect with him.

When a crazy mix-up in the hotel lobby brings the three girls together, they form an unlikely friendship against a chaotic background of cosplay, competition, and carcasses!

Add your review of "The Pros of Cons" in comments!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Echo After Echo - Two Teen Girls Are Caught Up in a Murder Mystery (and Their Own Love Story)



Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta

Zara Evans has come to the Aurelia Theater, home to the visionary director Leopold Henneman, to play her dream role in Echo and Ariston, the Greek tragedy that taught her everything she knows about love. When the director asks Zara to promise that she will have no outside commitments, no distractions, it’s easy to say yes. But it’s hard not to be distracted when there’s a death at the theater — and then another — especially when Zara doesn’t know if they’re accidents, or murder, or a curse that always comes in threes. It’s hard not to be distracted when assistant lighting director Eli Vasquez, a girl made of tattoos and abrupt laughs and every form of light, looks at Zara. It’s hard not to fall in love.

Add your review of "Echo After Echo" in comments!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Crowdsourcing Amazing LGBTQ History - The Baburnama, Kuan Yin, and...? #QueerHistoryIsEverywhere

As I speak about LGBTQ history, and how it didn't all start with Stonewall, I've had this amazing thing happen again and again.

I'll be talking about how the facade of history, as it is taught in our culture, would have us believe that everyone important in history was a rich, white, able-bodied, cis-gendered, hetero man from Europe—and that's just not true.

How there were poor people, and people of color, and disabled people, and gender non-conforming people, and Queer people from all over the world and as far back as we can go in history, who changed our world!

How every example we find of men who loved men, and women who loved women, and people who lived outside gender boundaries cracks that false facade and lets some rainbow light through.

And afterwards, while signing my Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill novel for them, or in an excited conversation, or in an email, they'll tell me about a piece of hidden LGBTQ history that they know.

Have I heard about Babur, the Prince and Emperor, who wrote in his autobiography (the first autobiography ever in Islamic literature) about his teenage love for another boy?


I hadn't, and I got the Baburnama from the library - it's amazing and true and romantic... and that story is going to be in my upcoming book, coming out from Zest/Lerner publishing, The Queer History Project: No Way, They Were Gay? LGBTQ People Across Time and Around Our World.

Have I heard about Kuan Yin, the Chinese bodhisattva (someone who delays their own ascension to be a Buddah to work to relieve the suffering of others), who is a Trans icon?


I hadn't, but I'm reading up on them now!

In short, I'm collecting these stories - about people, and cultures, and legends - and I'd love to hear from you. Whether you think I've heard of them or not, please reach out and tell me about the LGBTQAI+ history you know. About the men who loved men, women who loved women, people who lived outside gender boundaries, cultures that saw—and see—gender differently than we do today, and myths and legends and gods and goddesses that are part of our Queer heritage.

So let me know - in comments, via email, or on social media - and if you have a source to share, that's even better! I'll share it all, and if it ends up in a book, I will of course thank you!

You can also use the hashtag #QueerHistoryIsEverywhere
Because it is.

And together, we can tear down that wall - that false facade of history - and let all the amazing rainbow light of history shine through!

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

Social Intercourse - A Gay Teen and a Jock With Two Moms (Who Are Now Separated) Plot to Break Up Their Parents' New Romance



Social Intercourse by Greg Howard

Beck: The Golden Girls-loving, out-and-proud choir nerd growing up in the “ass-crack of the Bible belt.”

Jax: The Golden Boy, star quarterback with a slick veneer facing uncomfortable truths about himself and his past.

When Beck’s emotionally fragile dad starts dating the recently single (and supposedly lesbian) mom of former bully, Jaxon Parker, Beck is not having it. Jax isn’t happy about the situation either, holding out hope that his moms will reunite and restore the only stable home he’s ever known. Putting aside past differences, the boys plot to derail the budding romance between their parents at their conservative hometown’s first-ever Rainbow Prom. Hearts will be broken, new romance will bloom, but nothing will go down the way Beck and Jax have planned.

Add your review of "Social Intercourse" in comments!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Love and Other Carnivorous Plants - Freshman Year at Harvard, Bulimia, and a Crush on Another Girl



Love and Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves

Freshman year at Harvard was the most anticlimactic year of Danny's life. She's failing pre-med and drifting apart from her best friend. One by one, Danny is losing all the underpinnings of her identity. When she finds herself attracted to an older, edgy girl who she met in rehab for an eating disorder, she finally feels like she might be finding a new sense of self. But when tragedy strikes, her self-destructive tendencies come back to haunt her as she struggles to discover who that self really is.

Here's a piece where the author talks about writing this book.


Add your review of "Love and Other Carnivorous Plants" in comments!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Dactyl Hill Squad - Dinosaurs and Race in a reimagined 1863 New York (with a Trans Hero!)



Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older

It's 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as the Civil War rages between raptor-mounted armies down South. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker.

Magdalys and her friends flee to Brooklyn and settle in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood, where black and brown New Yorkers have set up an independent community--a safe haven from the threats of Manhattan. Together with the Vigilance Committee, they train to fly on dactylback, discover new friends and amazing dinosaurs, and plot to take down Riker. Can Magdalys and the squad rescue the rest of their friends before it's too late?

What's Queer about it? One of the heroes of this story is the pirate Redd, a trans man.

This Middle Grade title has won a LOT of praise, including being named A New York Times Notable Book, An NPR Best Book of the Year, A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year, A Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. 

Add your review of "Dactyl Hill Squad" in comments!

Friday, July 19, 2019

If I Was Your Girl - A Trans Teen Starts Her New Life, But Struggles With Keeping Her Past A Secret



If I Was Your Girl By Meredith Russo

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won't be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It's that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

Add your review of "If I Was Your Girl" in comments!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - A 1700s Gay Teen Romp Through Europe



The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Add your review of "The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue" in comments!

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out In The Streets - A Nonfiction History Told In Objects That I'm Really Excited About



The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out In The Streets by Gayle E. Pitman

The Stonewall Riots was a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ+) community in reaction to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The Riots are attributed as the spark that ignited the LGBTQ+ movement. The author describes American gay history leading up to the Riots, the Riots themselves, and the aftermath, and includes her interviews of people involved or witnesses, including a woman who was ten at the time. Profusely illustrated, the book includes contemporary photos, newspaper clippings, and other period objects.

In this interview over at the Children's Book Council Diversity Site, Gayle shares the research challenge and how she approached it:

“Researching Stonewall was incredibly difficult, because it’s hard to find accurate and credible information about it unless you know where to look. Fred Sargeant was so helpful in this endeavor. He pointed me towards the Craig Rodwell papers at the New York Public Library and the Foster Gunnison papers at the University of Connecticut library, and even went so far as to advise me on which folders in the collection held specific items. I also combed through archival materials at the New York LGBT Center, the ONE Archives at USC, the Museum of the City of New York, and other places. I interviewed people like Margot Avery, who was ten years old when the riots occurred, and watched them from her apartment building’s fire escape. I read books and watched documentaries. I visited New York City and went to the Stonewall Inn. I explored various sites, including where the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop, the Village Voice offices, STAR House were originally located. I even walked the route of the first Christopher Street Liberation Day March. In order for me to share history authentically, it helps if I can get as close as I can to the experience.” —Gayle E. Pitman

Read the full interview here.

And add your review of "The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out In The Streets" in comments!


Friday, July 12, 2019

Today: Be a Light For Liberty and Speak Out Against the Mistreatment of Migrants and Asylum Seekers at America's Borders

We must speak up. We must not be bystanders. We must be upstanders.

Stand up with me.

On Friday July 12th, 2019, Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps, will bring thousands of people to locations worldwide as well as to concentration camps across the country, into the streets and into their own front yards, to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.



Raise your voice. #lights4liberty #dontlookaway #endusconcentrationcamps

If you can't attend a protest in person, consider doing this:

At 9pm, please hold a candle and share a moment of silence. Together we will light up the world (and social media) to demand an end to human detention camps.


Find out more at LightsforLiberty.org

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Me Myself & Him - A Gay Teen Lives Two Separate Futures



Me Myself & Him by Chris Tebbetts

When Chris Schweitzer takes a hit of whippets and passes out face first on the cement, his nose isn’t the only thing that changes forever. Instead of staying home with his friends for the last summer after high school, he’s shipped off to live with his famous physicist but royal jerk of a father to prove he can “play by the rules” before Dad will pay for college.

Or… not.

In an alternate time line, Chris’s parents remain blissfully ignorant about the accident, and life at home goes back to normal—until it doesn’t. A new spark between his two best (straight) friends quickly turns Chris into a (gay) third wheel, and even worse, the truth about the whippets incident starts to unravel. As his summer explodes into a million messy pieces, Chris wonders how else things might have gone. Is it possible to be jealous of another version of yourself in an alternate reality that doesn’t even exist?

With musings on fate, religion, parallel universes, and the best way to eat a cinnamon roll, Me Myself & Him examines how what we consider to be true is really just one part of the much (much) bigger picture.

What's queer about it?

Author Chris Tebbetts explains that the main character (also named Chris) is gay, ”and while the inciting incident of the book is autobiographical, the rest of the book splits into two parallel and fictional outcomes from that same incident (parallel realities, a la “Sliding Doors”).” Author Chris shared further that the story isn't about the main character being gay, but that fictional Chris ”does confront a somewhat autobiographical issue for me—becoming the gay third wheel to his two straight best friends who hook up in their last summer before college.” Author Chris also let us know that fictional Chris does get a romance of his own.

Add your review of "Me Myself & Him" in comments!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah - Twin Teens Throw a High School Graduation Party (With LGBTQ Characters!)



Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Siblings Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing parties for their friends--and now they've prepared their final blowout, just before graduation.

The rules are simple: each twin gets to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn't know who's coming until the partiers show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right, as well...in rather surprising ways.

In the book, Sam is gay, and there's more LGBTQ goings-on, too.

Add your review of "Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah" in comments!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Learning Seventeen - a Teen Girl Trapped in a Baptist Reform School Falls For a Gorgeous Bad Girl



Learning Seventeen by Brooke Carter

New Hope Academy, or, as seventeen-year-old Jane Learning likes to call it, No Hope, is a Baptist reform school where Jane is currently being held captive.

Of course, smart, sarcastic Jane has no interest in reforming, failing to see any benefit to pretending to play well with others. But then Hannah shows up, a gorgeous bad girl with fiery hair and an even stormier disposition. She shows Jane how to live a full and fulfilling life even when the world tells you you're wrong, and how to believe in a future outside the "prison" walls. Jane soon learns, though, that Hannah is quietly battling some demons of her own.

Add your reviews of "Learning Seventeen" in comments!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

I'm Quoted In The Philadelphia Inquirer!

It's a wonderful article by Abbey White, Why LGBTQ bookstores, such as Philadelphia’s Giovanni’s Room, are a lifeline for queer teens.




It speaks about the importance of LGBTQ bookstores for teens who need bookstores like Philly's Giovanni's Room as affirming community centers, as safe spaces... and that's where my quote fits in, talking about how the big online retailers aren't concerned with making their spaces safe for Queer people, especially Queer youth. (Which, not incidentally, is what motivated my starting this blog more than twelve years ago!)

You can read the full article here.

On a personal note, this is the newspaper I grew up seeing on the kitchen table every day... so being quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer is particularly exciting.

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

Monday, July 1, 2019

Ruse - a Sci Fi Thriller in a Near-Future Shanghai with a Lesbian Teen Main Character



Ruse by Cindy Pon

In this sequel to Want, the team of teens fighting Jin Corp for a future where everyone—not just the rich—can breathe clean air are back. This time, Lingyi is one of the point of view characters! Here's the official synopsis:

Jason Zhou, his friends, and Daiyu are still recovering from the aftermath of bombing Jin Corp headquarters. But Jin, the ruthless billionaire and Daiyu’s father, is out for blood. When Lingyi goes to Shanghai to help Jany Tsai, a childhood acquaintance in trouble, she doesn’t expect Jin to be involved. And when Jin has Jany murdered and steals the tech she had refused to sell him, Lingyi is the only one who has access to the encrypted info, putting her own life in jeopardy.

Zhou doesn’t hesitate to fly to China to help Iris find Lingyi, even though he’s been estranged from his friends for months. But when Iris tells him he can’t tell Daiyu or trust her, he balks. The reunited group play a treacherous cat and mouse game in the labyrinthine streets of Shanghai, determined on taking back what Jin had stolen.

When Daiyu appears in Shanghai, Zhou is uncertain if it’s to confront him or in support of her father. Jin has proudly announced Daiyu will be by his side for the opening ceremony of Jin Tower, his first “vertical city.” And as hard as Zhou and his friends fight, Jin always gains the upper hand. Is this a game they can survive, much less win?

Add your review of "Ruse" in comments!

Friday, June 28, 2019

ALA Inspiration - Two Librarians Share Their Response to Complaints About Their Library's LGBTQ Pride Displays

I'm back from the American Library Association annual conference in Washington D.C., and one discussion among the more than 600 librarians I met really stands out. (By the way, that number is not an exaggeration, I was working at the IBPA booth on the exhibition floor representing over 260 books from our independent publisher members, and I scanned 606 badges over the four days.)

It was during my give-away of audiobook review copies of my YA novel, "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill", for which I had a big diversity rainbow pride flag out on the signing table, rainbow pride flag bookmarks, and a sign about the giveaway with the same pride flag on it as well. I even had a little bust of Abraham Lincoln with some Gay Pride neck jewelry (courtesy of my brother John!) In short, for the times I was at the demo table, I was a lighthouse of LGBTQ inclusion.

And it worked as a lighthouse, drawing interested and allied folks near.

That's me, chatting with interested librarians about the "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" audiobook at #alaac19


One librarian, Monena, told me about how she had a patron complain about a June pride display in their library. Her response? She thanked the patron for sharing their point of view, and then, "I went and added a dozen books to the display."

Another librarian overheard our conversation, and nodded. She had had a patron complaint about a pride display in one of their branch libraries as well. She smiled as she said, "so this year, we did pride displays in two more libraries."

That's the stuff of true allies.

And it's why I so appreciate and respect librarians!

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

p.s. If you're a librarian, and you want a free review copy of the audiobook of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill," simply email me your name along with your library name and location, and I'll send you a copy as well! 

leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com

I'm so excited about the audiobook (narrated by Michael Crouch, who also did the narration for "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda", and with a bonus author interview at the end where the legendary Lesléa Newman interviews me!) You can listen to the first two chapters here.




Wednesday, June 26, 2019

I'm the Headliner for Episode 194 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast: “Five Dollar Bill,” Queer History and YA Lit with Lee Wind!

This is thrilling!


In this extended interview with Jeff Adams, we talk about LGBTQ history, research, Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill, its inspiration and characters, this blog, and so much more!

Being the featured guest on a podcast I listen to all the time is an amazing way to celebrate LGBTQ Pride!

I hope hearing about the Queer history we discuss is empowering, and that the podcast will be part of your LGBTQ Pride celebrations!

You can listen to the episode now at this link!

I'm very grateful to Jeff and Will for this opportunity to shine like a lighthouse for their listeners.

Enjoy the podcast!

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


Monday, June 24, 2019

Pride in the Window, or Hidden Away In the Back - A Tale Of Two Stores For LGBTQ Pride Month

I recently had two completely different shopping experiences, in the space of ten minutes.

The Kiehl's store, where I went to pick up the grapefruit bodywash that has changed my mind about scented products, had a diversity pride flag shining out from the three-foot tall statue of liberty decal across their front window.

The saleswoman and I chatted about my husband and teenage daughter, and how we all liked their products. She wished me a happy Gay Pride, excitedly telling me that this was the first year Kiehl's was marching in the Los Angeles Pride parade as well as in the New York City Pride parade. As she rang me up, she offered me two sheets of LGBTQ pride stickers, which included the image of Lady Liberty shining her diversity pride flag.

The amazing Kiehl's Diversity LGBTQ Pride Stickers!

I mentioned that the next day was my anniversary - 22 years with my husband - and that I needed to get him a card. Were there any card stores around? She warmly congratulated me on the anniversary, and then suggested I try out the Hallmark store five shops down.

"Hallmark?" I said, dubious. "Are they going to have anything for two guys?" I was thinking of the pretty heteronormative Hallmark brand I knew, the movies, the whole vibe...

She encouraged me to check it out, and I said I would, and I'd let her know if I found anything. Thinking that, when I went back in a month, I'd tell her I had to go somewhere else because Hallmark wasn't going to have anything.

But I was there, and why not try? Walking into the Hallmark store (where I've never shopped before) didn't change any of my preconceived notions. But the saleswoman smiled as I walked in and asked if she could help me find anything.

I said, "Yes, I'm looking for an anniversary card for two men." (Looking back on this, it's interesting that my language obliquely slipped me into the closet. The card I wanted could have been for friends, the way I said it. That damn closet that I spent so many years in and out of, depending on how safe I felt. I guess, in this store, I didn't feel that safe.)

"Oh, we have a box in the back." She replied.

"Huh?" Not my most eloquent reply, but I didn't know what she meant. There were ten aisles of card racks in the store, each stretching back twenty feet, displaying probably thousands of cards. I headed over to the counter where she stood.

"Yes, like our Spanish language cards." She pointed to a cardboard box on the floor behind her. "I'll just go get them."

While I waited, I headed over to the anniversary section, wondering if I could find something sort of gender-neutral (what I usually do in a pinch), but even the animal card couples were the kind where one penguin wore a dress and the other wore a bow tie.

Then she was back, with a cardboard box full of cards. "Here they are," She set them on the counter, and I started to look through it.

It was a goldmine of LGBTQ greeting cards. Cards congratulating two moms on having a baby. Cards for parents whose child had come out to them about being Trans who wanted to say they loved their child still. And yes, cards for two men celebrating their anniversary and their love.

I found a lot of good options in the LGBTQ box of cards at the Hallmark Store


The card I got was awesome - the printed text on the cover reads:

"You're strong and sexy,
sweet and generous,
funny and tender—
everything a man wants
his husband to be."

and it's stamped Hallmark on the back. It's made with recycled paper. I was so impressed!

And yet...

All these cards were hidden in a box in the back.

There was no signage in the store that would let you know the cards were there. You had to ask.

I asked the saleswoman why the cards weren't on display. June is LGBTQ pride month, after all. And she said they had more cards than they had room to display, as if that made perfect sense to her.

As she rang me up, I fought back my anxiety and I suggested that they might want to put out a handful of the LGBTQ cards on their racks, with signage that they had more, and that customers could ask for them. So people would know they were supportive of the queer community. So people would know that they had all these great cards. For people like me and my husband. (There. I'd come out. Take that, you damn closet!)

I asked if she would pass the comment along to whoever made the decisions on display in their store, and she said she would. It was awkward, but I felt good about asking. About being real about who I am. And I was excited about the "Our Anniversary: Man to Man" card I had found.

I left the Hallmark store, and went right back to Kiehl's.

I found the saleswoman who had been so kind, and told her that to my surprise, I had found some great gay cards, but that they'd had to bring them out from the back in a cardboard box.

"Oh," she laughed. "That's what they make us do for the mahogany cards."

I didn't know the term. "Mahogany," She explained. "Cards that show Black people like me."

And it hit me, what that Hallmark store had so wrong. People who spoke Spanish, Black people, Queer people—none of us were represented on the store floor. We weren't part of their vision of their customers. Of their community.

They had our cards in the back, in cardboard boxes.

They would have our cards in stock, they would take our money, but we weren't important enough to represent on the store floor, even with a handful of cards.

The straight, white, cis-gendered folks had all their cards proudly on display. But anyone different was second-class, and had to ask if, maybe, possibly, in the back, there was something for them. For us.

There was no pride in that box of LGBTQ cards being hidden away.

I hope that Hallmark store changes their approach. Hallmark is making cards for Spanish speakers. They're making cards for and featuring Black people. They're making cards for those of us in the LGBTQ community.

Now they need to put those cards out on display, so they proudly tell everyone—including their straight, white, cis-gendered customers—that celebrating diversity is part of who they are, too.

Because right now, I'll proudly continue to shop at Kiehl's. But I'll think twice before shopping at Hallmark again.

Be you, with Pride!

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




Friday, June 21, 2019

Librarian Friends! Come Say "Hi" At ALA2019

Hello Librarian friends!

If you're going to be in Washington D.C. for the American Library Association's 2019 annual conference, please swing by the Independent Book Publishers Association booth #1145 where I'll be working, helping to represent the more than 260 books from IBPA's publisher members.

We'll have signings and book giveaways throughout the conference weekend, including me on Saturday June 22, 2019 at 3:30pm and on Sunday June 23, 2019 at Noon!

I'll be giving away free review copies of the "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" audiobook—narrated by Michael Crouch (who also narrated the "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" audiobook), and with a bonus author interview at the end by "Heather Has Two Mommies" author Lesléa Newman!

Listen to the first two chapters of the "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" audiobook for free here.
Visit me at the IBPA booth #1145 to get the full audiobook review copy emailed to you.

It's always a wonderful show, and I hope I'll get to see you.

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Exciting News: "The Queer History Project: No Way, They Were Gay?" Lives On... With a New Publisher, Lerner!

It's official!

The book contract is signed, and the deal was announced yesterday in Publishers Weekly!


The deal announcement reads:
Hallie Warshaw at Lerner/Zest has acquired “I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?” blogger Lee Wind's debut middle grade nonfiction book, The Queer History Project: No Way, They Were Gay? The book reveals the surprising and often hidden true stories of men who loved men, women who loved women, and people who lived outside gender boundaries. Publication is set for fall 2020; Marietta Zacker at Gallt & Zacker did the deal for world rights.

I'm excited, and grateful, and want to believe more than anything that this time, my LGBTQ history book that would have totally changed my life had I read it when I was a closeted 11 and 12 and 13 and 14 year old, really will come out and reach readers and change lives for the better!

Really, it would have changed everything had I read it as a closeted 15 and 16 and 17 and 18 and 19 and 20 and 21 and 22 and 23 and 24 and 25 year old, too. I was in the closet for so long! "The Queer History Project: No Way, They Were Gay?" would have changed my life—for the better. It would have helped me be more authentic, sooner. It would have let me know that I was not alone.

Because if we know there were men who loved men in history, and women who loved women in history, and people who lived outside gender boundaries in history, then we'll know we are not alone. We'll know we deserve a place at the table today.

And knowing we have a place at the table today empowers us to imagine a limitless future.

And that's what I want for all the young people—the ones we were, and the ones today.

This book is for them. For you. And yeah, for me, too.

And I can't wait! Dammit, I'm actually tearing up as I write this. Because there are moments in your life that transcend you. When you know you're doing something epic, something groundbreaking. Something that will change our world for the better—even in a small way. But that's how most change starts. And for me, that's this moment.

Thank you to my new and honest and smart and wonderful agent, Marietta Zacker.

Thank you to this book's new publisher at Lerner/Zest Books, Hallie Warshaw, and my editor Ashley Kuehl, and the whole Lerner team for believing in me and this project.

Thank you to my husband, and daughter, for loving me whether or not I have a book deal.

Thank you to my family and friends for cheering me on.

And thank you, my community, for all your support and encouragement on this crazy, crazy adventure in publishing.

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

Monday, June 17, 2019

Order Signed Copies of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" From Pages A Bookstore!

I'm thrilled to announce that Pages A Bookstore in Manhattan Beach, California, will be carrying signed copies of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" and they're happy to mail them to you!

Me, outside the independent Pages A Bookstore


You can order signed copies online at their website here, or call them at 310-318-0900.

Ten minutes from my day job at IBPA, Pages A Bookstore has become my local bookstore, and they're awesome. They even have a pretty amazing LGBTQ Pride month display up—a whole table-worth of great reads—and I'm so excited that Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill is being welcomed to their carefully curated collection!

Here I am, holding a copy of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" in front of their LGBTQ Pride Month Display!


Order your signed copy from Pages A Bookstore today!

My thanks to Kristin, Casey, and the whole Pages A Bookstore team!

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

Friday, June 14, 2019

I'm Featured In The Lead Story at Books Make A Difference!

This month's headline article is Power and Progress: Diverse Stories, Authentic Voices by Karen Pavlicin-Fragnito.

Wow - there's "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill," among some of my favorite LGBTQ titles for kids and teens!

I'm honored to be included, not just with a generous shout-out to "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill," but also with numerous quotes from my interview with Karen, covering why diversity in books for kids and teens is important, the difference between archetypes and characters, some of my favorite LGBTQ reads for youth, and so much more!

Hey, that's me! Talking to some of the teens who received the crowdfunded donated copies of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" at Camp Brave Trails.

The article also features Hannah Ehrlich, marketing and publicity director at Lee & Low Books, and T.S. Ferguson, editor at Jimmy Patterson Books. They're both smart and articulate, and I'm delighted to be in their company.

Some stand-out quotes:

“When we see someone like ourselves in books, it’s powerfully validating,” says Lee Wind, author of Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill. At the same time, “When we step into someone else’s shoes through the magic of reading, and they’re different from us in some way (different gender, or racial background, or ability, or religion, or affective orientation) it helps us have a level of empathy and understanding we didn’t have before we knew them through the book.” —Me!

Hannah challenges fellow publishers and editors to recognize they are all gatekeepers and to approach that authority with responsibility. “Books have power,” she says. “And we choose the books.” —Hannah

“And you should be reading multiple books by multiple authors within those communities, because just like in your own communities, not everyone is the same and one perspective is not going to give you a fully formed idea of what these communities are like. You’re not going to read The Hate U Give and fully understand the black experience, for example. You need to be well-read.” —T.S.


Head over to read the full article here at booksmakeadifference.com - it's a great piece!

I'm grateful to Karen for writing it and including me, and to you, my community, for this opportunity to share.

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

Lee

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Celebrating LGBTQ Pride in Los Angeles! An Album of Prideful Photos...

Went with the husband and teen to Los Angeles Pride this past weekend, and we walked in the parade with a group of gay dads and their kids. Lots of love and support, and some awesome t-shirt messages. So many, that I ran up to about a dozen folks and asked if I could take their photos to share here on the blog.

And now, your glimpse of some strong PRIDE from Los Angeles, 2019:

"The First Pride Was a Riot" — and love the shout out to Marsha P. Johnson!

Rainbow Bear! 
"Make Racists Afraid Again" — made me laugh, and pretty true.



"Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you could just be quiet?" Yaaaas!

"Proud Daddy and Proud Papi — says it all!"

This sign was brilliant: "Free Hug No Matter Who You Are You're Loved."

HUMAN—yes, we all are!

"Gays do it Better" — loved this one, with hat ribbon and belt buckle tying it all up!

"Make America GAY Again" — a nice counterpoint to our current president's anti-gay, anti-women, anti-environment, anti-everything I seem to hold dear policies and statements and tweets. Yeah, let's make America GAY Again. Proudly Gay.

This couple made me so happy. "Free Hug: Proud Dad" and "Free Hug: Proud Mom" - they were representing, and I couldn't cheer them on enough!

"All for Love and Love for All" - such a great message!

"Love is a Human Right" — Yes!

"Protect Trans Kids" — Yes!

Thank you, Los Angeles Pride!