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 - 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,



Angie said...

Lee -- congrats, some good quotes. :)

And yeah, even for someone like me -- a straight, white, middle-class cis woman -- I just got used to identifying with the male characters in the SF I read as a kid, well into my twenties. With a few exceptions, like Lessa in the Pern books, the main characters, the people who got to have adventures and save the world, were all dudes. Female characters like Wyoh in Moon is a Harsh Mistress, who thought an electron was something the size of a small pea [eyeroll] were much more common. Although at least I had the occasional Lessa, unlike GLBT kids, or kids of color.

And thinking back to that era, in the 60s and 70s and into the 80s, even straight white boys had far too many examples of characters like them who reeked of toxic masculinity. So many of our archetypical characters are people who aren't great role models. :/ It's definitely a good thing that we're getting more diversity now, and more recognition that some of those "heroes" from back then are why restraining orders were invented.


Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Thanks, Angie! I loved Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, too! (There was this gay subtext to the culture that, looking back on it, may have been why I was so obsessed with it.) And yes, I agree about the 'toxic masculinity' that is still too often celebrated in our culture. But, to paraphrase Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr., the arc of history is bending towards justice... we just need to keep pulling on it! Best, Lee