Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Get Out The Vote: Heidi Rabinowitz Hosts a Three-Part Podcast Interviewing Jewish KidLit Authors About Voting (I'm in Episode 2)

 The Mitzvah of Voting (Part 2) on The Book of Life Podcast

With reasons to vote and ways to keep Democracy healthy!  

I'm joined in this podcast by fellow guest authors: Elissa Brent Weissman, author of The Length of a String; Barbara Bietz, author of Sweet Tamales for Purim; Jane Breskin Zalben, author of A Moon for Moe and Mo: Jacqueline Jules, author of The Generous Fish, Never Say a Mean Word Again, The Hardest Word; and Anne-Marie Asner, author of the Matzah Ball Books series.

Very honored to be included.

Listen, share, and most of all... VOTE!

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

PS - don't miss part 1, with: Marjorie Ingall, author of Mamaleh Knows Best; Linda Epstein, author of Repairing the World; Jeff Gottesfeld, author of No Steps Behind; Leslie Kimmelman, author of The Eight Knights of Hanukkah; Susan Kusel, author of The Passover Guest; and Tziporah Cohen, author of No Vacancy and part 3, with: Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted and A Ceiling Made of Eggshells; Lesléa Newman, author of Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story; Evan Wolkenstein, author of Turtle Boy; Sue Macy, author of The Book Rescuer; and Sarah Aroeste, author of Buen Shabat, Shabbat Shalom and singer/songwriter of Gracia.

Monday, October 19, 2020

GLSEN’s 2019 National School Climate Survey - Challenges, and a "Win" for Queer Kid and Teen Lit

GLSEN's mission is pretty awesome: "to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."

Towards being able to quantify that, GLSEN does this National School Climate Survey- the results for 2019 are in, and while the graphics are lovely, the data shows we have quite a distance to go to achieve that mission.

2 in 5 LGBTQ+ students of color were bullied or harassed based on race or ethnicity

86% of LGBTQ+ students were harassed or assaulted at school

84% of trans students felt unsafe at school because of their gender

What's the good news?
"Twenty years of research shows that dedicated support from teachers and staff, LGBTQ+ inclusive school policies, and continued investments in resources relate to better school outcomes for LGBTQ+ students. For example, the 62% of LGBTQ+ students who said their school had a GSA in 2019 felt safer, were less likely to miss school, and were less likely to hear homophobic or transphobic remarks."

GSAs change school dynamics and help shift the culture. 

And one other really nice piece of news: 

"Access to LGBTQ-related books and library resources increased in 2019 and was higher than all previous years"

Yay for Queer Kid Lit!

Check out the full report here.

Stay safe, all.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Heartstopper - A Gay Teen Graphic Novel - Nick Plays Rugby, and Charlie is Out at an English All-Boys School...

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Shy and softhearted Charlie Spring sits next to rugby player Nick Nelson in class one morning. A warm and intimate friendship follows, and that soon develops into something more for Charlie, who doesn't think he has a chance.

But Nick is struggling with feelings of his own, and as the two grow closer and take on the ups and downs of high school, they come to understand the surprising and delightful ways in which love works.

Add your review of "Heartstopper" in comments!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

How to Be Ace: Rebecca Burgess's Graphic (As in Panels, Comic-Book Style) Memoir of Growing Up Asexual

How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess

"When I was in school, everyone got to a certain age where they became interested in talking about only one thing: boys, girls and sex. Me though? I was only interested in comics."

Growing up, Rebecca assumes sex is just a scary new thing they will 'grow into' as they gets older, but when they leaves school, starts working, and does grow up, they starts to wonder why they doesn't want to have sex with other people.

In this brave, hilarious and empowering graphic memoir, we follow Rebecca as they navigate a culture obsessed with sex - from being bullied at school and trying to fit in with friends, to forcing themself into relationships and experiencing anxiety and OCD - before coming to understand and embrace their asexual identity.

Add your review of "How to Be Ace" in comments!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Always Human - A Cool Science Fiction Graphic Novel of a Future Australia where Bodies are Modified and Two Young Women Fall For Each Other

Always Human by Ari North

First serialized on the popular app and website WebToon, Always Human ran from 2015-2017 and amassed over 76,000 unique subscribers during its run. Now reformatted for a print edition in sponsorship with GLAAD.

Here's the publisher description:

In the near-future, people use technology to give the illusion of all kinds of body modifications-but some people have "Egan's Syndrome," a highly sensitive immune system that rejects these "mods" and are unable to use them. Those who are affected maintain a "natural" appearance, reliant on cosmetics and hair dye at most to help them play with their looks.
Sunati is attracted to Austen the first time she sees her and is drawn to what she assumes is Austen's bravery and confidence to live life unmodded. When Sunati learns the truth, she's still attracted to Austen and asks her on a date. Gradually, their relationship unfolds as they deal with friends, family, and the emotional conflicts that come with every romance. Together, they will learn and grow in a story that reminds us no matter how technology evolves, we will remain . . . always human.

Add your review of "Always Human" in comments!

Friday, October 9, 2020

How To Be You: Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life - Jeffrey Marsh Offers a Self-Help Book Designed For Us To Become Our Own Heroes

How To Be You: Stop Trying to Be Someone Else and Start Living Your Life by Jeffrey Marsh

Too short. Too weird. Too quiet. Not true. Let Internet superstar Jeffrey Marsh help you end those negative thoughts and discover how wonderful you are. An interactive experience, How to Be You invites you to make the book your own through activities such as coloring in charts, answering questions about how you do the things you do, and discovering patterns in your lives that may be holding you back. Through Jeffrey's own story of "growing up fabulous in a small farming town"--along with the stories of hero/ines who have transcended the stereotypes of race, age, and gender--you will discover that you are not alone. Learn to deepen your relationship with yourself, boost your self-esteem and self-worth, and find the courage to take a leap that will change your life.
I'm excited about this one.

In the materials shared by the publisher, I was really struck by this quote from Jeffrey: 

"I wrote the book for my 11-year-old self. If I could jump in a time machine, I would want young Jeffrey to have all the advice that's in How to Be You. In that way, this book is indended to be the manual that none of us got about truly loving ourselves and knowing that we belong." 

That resonated. 

Add your review of "How to Be You" in comments!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Going to School Library Journal's Day of Dialog - Oct 15, 2020? Check out my panel: "Remaking History in Fiction and Nonfiction"

A special shout out to my librarian friends and readers! 

I hope you'll join me a week from today for this panel, moderated by Mahnaz Dar, with my fellow panelists Kyandreia Jones (Choose Your Own Adventure Spies: Mary Bowser); Randi Pink (Angel of Greenwood); Michael O. Tunnell (Desert Diary? Japanese American Kids Behind Barbed Wire); Paula Yoo (From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement); and me - Lee Wind (No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves).

Here's the panel description from the event program:

History is more than the dates and names in textbooks; it's the stories of everyday people—especially the accounts of marginalized people, which have often gone untold. These authors will discuss surfacing information that has gone unaddressed in history textbooks but that is vital to give students a well-rounded and nuanced understanding of history.

When is it happening? It's an Afternoon Concurrent Session I: 1:40 PM–2:30 PM ET | Remaking History in Fiction and Nonfiction

I hope you'll join us!

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


Monday, October 5, 2020

The October 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter

Hi Community!

So much going on... Click here or the video above to watch the October 2020 edition of the Lee Wind video newsletter.


Hi Community, I'm Lee Wind. It's October 2020, and I've been thinking a lot about poetry. So, I'm going to do an acrostic today, that's going to be the structure of this enewsletter.

I was going to do HUBRIS, but it didn't have a "T" in it for Trump.

And then, I was going to do TRUMP, but then that was too much about Trump.

And anyway, I settled on this one. So, we'll spell it out together. The first letter of our acrostic is "V", for VOTE. [laughs]

I don't know about you, but I watched the first debate - well, I watched part of the first debate, for me, it was too much like watching a schoolyard bully incident, where the adult in charge, the moderator, had no power, and didn't stop the bully.

The best analysis I read, Wes Kennison wrote:

“Joe Biden is a stutterer. Like many others, he has overcome the disability by understanding it and exercising extraordinary perseverance and discipline. If you know and love a stutterer and you watched the presidential debate last night, within minutes it became obvious what was going on. Abusive tone of voice, rapid fire interruptions, zigzagging change of topic, personal insult and humiliation, and family pain are all tripwires that scramble a stutterer's ability to speak. There was nothing unplanned or spontaneous in the President's strategy. The bastards did not prep him to attack Joe. They prepped him to attack Joe's disability hoping that by triggering his stuttering they might deceive an audience unfamiliar with the disability into thinking that Joe was stupid, weak, uncertain, confused, or lost to dementia.”

I thought that was a really good analysis of what the heck was going on. Because it was horrible to witness. But there was a purpose to it, and it was sort of nasty. So, VOTE. 

Actually, I just sort of gave it away, the acrostic, but let's keep going. 

O! [It slips on the wall] Let's try it again!

O! [laughs] It's not all about politics. I have to say that something exciting is happening in October. On October 15, School Library Journal is doing a Day of Dialog, and I'm going to be on a panel!

It's called "Remaking History in Fiction and Nonfiction."

The moderator will be Mahnaz Dar, Reference and Professional Reading Editor at School Library Journal and Library Journal.

And my panelists, my fellow panelists are really going to be amazing:

Kyandreia Jones, Randi Pink, Michael O. Tunnel, and my friend Paula Yoo. 

So that's really exciting! I'm going to be on a panel, I'll be talking about my book coming out from Lerner, NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY?, And I'm really excited to be part of that, and to reach all those librarians, and have a great conversation about how history has been sanitized for the protection of the people in power, and has sort of disenfranchised so many people - women, disabled people, people of color, and LGBTQ people. So I'm really excited to be part of that.

The next letter in our acrostic is "T"!

Back to politics. So, Trump makes it all about Trump, but I want us to take a moment and just acknowledge that Joe Biden is, in fact, a pretty stand up guy. And in fact, in his evolution towards embracing Queer people and Queer rights, he actually came out publicly in favor of Gay marriage before President Obama did it, and in fact kind of pressured President Obama to do, which was a very cool moment, back in 2012. 

So, shout out to Joe. Also, Kamala Harris - amazing, can we talk? 

So it's not just voting against Trump, it's really voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and really acknowledging that if we can get the shift of power to happen in the Senate so it isn't controlled by Republicans, we may be able to, as Obama always quoted Reverend Martin Luther King, [Jr.] saying, bend the arc of history towards justice. 'Cause it's been bending the wrong way, and we need to get it back.

And then, "E" is the final letter of our Acrostic.

And it's because I'm Excited, because it was just announced that I sold a picture book to Arthur Levine of Levine Querido, and I'm really amazingly... It's like an endurance sport. 

"E" could also be for Endurance sport. Because writing books for kids and teens, it takes a long time. First of all, to get good enough, and then to find the right home for the projects that you're doing. Wow. I've been writing picture book manuscripts for 16 years - more than 16 years, and finally sold one. It's my debut picture book. The illustrator's going to be the incredible Paul [O.] Zelinsky, I am just like pinching myself because Wow, it is so exciting!

It's called RED AND GREEN AND BLUE AND WHITE, and it's about two kids who are friends, one celebrates Chanukah, and the other celebrates Christmas, and something happens in their town, and how they band together to stand up, for each other and for themselves, and against hate and for love. It's inspired by a true story, and I can't wait for you to see it. I'm very excited.

So, there you go. Sort of like a Sesame Street episode. Today's - this month's - video newsletter is brought to you by the acrostic VOTE. I hope you do. 

Take care, stay safe, and until next month, hopefully we'll have good news in November.

'Bye, take care. The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you.


Friday, October 2, 2020

My Debut Picture Book Is Announced! RED AND GREEN AND BLUE AND WHITE will be published by Levine Querido in 2021

I have been dreaming of having a picture book manuscript I wrote deemed good enough for an agent to love, good enough for a publisher to love, good enough for an amazing illustrator to love for a very long time. Like 16 years.

So it is with immense delight that I share the announcement that just happened yesterday in Publishers Weekly's Children's Bookshelf:

The announcement text reads:

Arthur Levine at Levine Querido has acquired world rights to Lee Wind's (l.) debut picture book, Red and Green and Blue and White, inspired by the true story of how an entire town stood up to hate during the Chanukah / Christmas season. Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky will illustrate; publication is slated for 2021. Marietta Zacker at Gallt & Zacker represented the author, and the artist represented himself.

It is a moment of ebullient gratitude... to my amazing agent Marietta Zacker, for loving this story enough to find it a publishing home. To the story's legendary editor, publisher Arthur A. Levine for loving it enough to acquire it and share it with readers everywhere. To the story's celebrated and oh-so-talented illustrator, Paul O. Zelinsky (!!!) who is taking my words and fashioning magic on the page. Magic, I tell you. Magic.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thanks as well to my friend (and elementary school librarian) Yapha Mason, who introduced me to to the true story eight years ago.

I'm so excited to introduce kids – and the world – to this story of friendship between two kids (one who celebrates Chanukah, the other who celebrates Christmas) who together inspire an entire town to stand up for each other, to stand up for community, to stand up for love.

I can't wait for you all to read it.

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


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

We Are Lost and Found - A Teen in the 1980s Navigates a Homophobic Family, and World, the Threat of AIDS, and... Just Maybe, Love

We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James and Becky. Plus, his brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be Michael's only chance at avoiding the same fate. To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father's angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands. Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he's willing to risk to be himself.
Add your review of "We Are Lost and Found" in comments.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Yom Kippur 2020/5781 - A Good Time to Learn the Difference Between an Ally and an Accomplice

I found the photo of this great mural at the website Uncustomary here.

The ten days of and between the Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Ha Shana (the Jewish New Year, which happened on September 18) and Yom Yippur (today) have at their core both introspection and resolve.

Introspection, as in how did I do as a human being in the past year? Making amends for any mis-steps, and then Resolve, as in I'm going to do better – be better – this year.

For me, so much of that renewing surrounding the Jewish New Year, of aiming to be a better person annually, is based on a desire and a curiosity to always learn more. Understand more. 

So today I'd like to share this article, "Ally or Accomplice? The Language of Activism" by Colleen Clemens from the Teaching Tolerance website.

When I first heard the term "Accomplice" it made me think about how homosexuality and gender non-conformity have for generations been made illegal and prosecuted as crimes, and my initial discomfort was based in that paradigm, as if using the term would be buying in to the hundreds of years of criminalization of marginalized groups, including Black people, people of Native nations, people of color, disabled people, women, and my own Queer community.

But I've been reading up on it, and Colleen's article on the distinction between "Ally" and "Accomplice" was really helpful in my re-imagining the term "Accomplice":

"An ally will mostly engage in activism by standing with an individual or group in a marginalized community. An accomplice will focus more on dismantling the structures that oppress that individual or group—and such work will be directed by the stakeholders in the marginalized group. Simply, ally work focuses on individuals, and accomplice work focuses on the structures of decision-making agency."

A sign at a protest this summer really spoke to me. It said: 

 "Use white privilege to dismantle white privilege" 

And I think that's what the term "Accomplice" is aiming for.

So here's to a year of being better Allies, and Accomplices, to make our world a better place. In Hebrew, there's this ideal of action called "Tikkun Olam" which translates as "Healing the World."

We have work to do.

If you can vote, VOTE. Raise your voice. Be there for individuals as an Ally. And join in on the work of creating systemic change as an Accomplice.

And let's heal our world. Together.

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


Friday, September 25, 2020

Banned Books Week 2020 - How Will You Celebrate the Freedom to Read?

It starts Sunday, running September 27-October 3, 2020, and as every year, the American Library Association has made a list of the "Top 10 Most Challenged Books" of the past year. It is bracing that eight - EIGHT - out of ten were challenged for including LGBTQ characters or themes in books for kids or teens. 

Here's the list, from the ALA Banned Books Week website (highlights were added by me):    

Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019. Of the 566 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

George by Alex Gino Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content

Resolved: read a Queer book for kids or teens this upcoming week (and maybe every week?) to celebrate your freedom to read!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Willow and the Wedding - a Picture Book About a Young Girl Who Wants to Get Her Uncle to Dance at His Wedding (to Another Man) - a Picture Book I Wish Had Been Read to Me When I Was a Little Kid

Willow and the Wedding, by Denise Brennan-Nelson, Illustrated by Cyd Moore

Here's the publisher synopsis:

Willow is back! This time she’s so excited to be flower girl for her favorite uncle and his partner David’s wedding. Willow just can’t wait to help make it perfect. The beach ceremony! The dinner! The dessert! The dancing! But there’s just one hiccup. Uncle Ash refuses to dance these days. A wedding with no dancing?! Willow makes it her mission to remind him of the joy he found in dancing years ago. On the evening of the wedding, Uncle Ash surprises them all and everyone dances in just the ways they were meant to.

Gotta admit, this one choked me up a bit - just the joy about Ash and David getting married from everyone in the family, and the story's conflict not being the wedding being a gay wedding, but that Ash didn't want to dance...

Absolutely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid. Next best thing - I got to read it now. And recommend it to you.

Add your review of "Willow and the Wedding" in comments!

Monday, September 21, 2020

She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary Resisters - Author and Sociologist Robyn Ryle Presents Gender as a "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" Journey

She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary Resisters by Dr. Robyn Ryle

If you've ever questioned the logic of basing an entire identity around what you have between your legs, it's time to embark on a daring escape outside of the binary box...

Open your eyes to what it means to be a boy or a girl -- and above and beyond! Within these pages, you get to choose which path to forge. Explore over one hundred different scenarios that embrace nearly every definition across the world, over history, and in the ever-widening realms of our imagination! What if your journey leads you into a world with several genders, or simply one? Do you live in a matriarchal society, or as a sworn virgin in the Balkans? How does gender (or the lack thereof) change the way we approach sex and love, life or death?

Jump headfirst into this refreshingly creative exploration of the ways gender colors every shade and shape of our world. Above all, it's more important than ever for us to celebrate the fact that there are infinite gender paths -- and each of them is beautiful.
Add your review of "She/He/They/Me" in comments!

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Trevor Project's Guide to "How To Support Bisexual Youth: Ways to Care for Young People Who Are Attracted to More Than One Gender"

This is really cool...

It's Bisexual Awareness Week, and The Trevor Project has put out their first ever guide to support Bi and Pan Youth. As they explain,

The handbook is an educational resource that covers a wide range of topics and best practices for supporting bisexual youth, including: bisexuality, pansexuality, and other multisexual identities; romantic orientations; preventing bisexual erasure and biphobia; navigating gender and bisexuality; exploring different relationship types; and self-care tips.

Last year, nearly 50% of the youth who reached out to Trevor’s crisis services experienced multi-gender attraction. And while bisexual people make up the largest portion of the LGBTQ community, bi youth are often erased and their specific needs overlooked. Our research shows that bi youth are at higher risk than their peers for sexual assault and bullying, and almost half of bi youth seriously considered suicide in the past year.

We hope this resource will help people challenge biphobic assumptions in their everyday lives and foster the creation of safer, more affirming communities for bisexual youth everywhere.

Click here to visit the Trevor Project website and download the guide.

One stand-out moment in reading it was when the guide said:

Your bisexuality is real and valid. You deserve so much kindness, care, and celebration for being exactly who you are!

Yes! That kind of support and validation, for everyone who identifies as part of the Queer community, is so important. Especially for Bi and Pan people who struggle with sometimes feeling like their authentic identity is erased by others (who can see them as either heteronormative or queer, depending on the relationship they may be in at any time.) That's not cool. Bi and Pan folks should be honored for who they authentically are.

Happy Bi Awareness Week, everyone!

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


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

More Happy Than Not - A New Edition Features a New Final Chapter

This is really cool.

The new edition of "More Happy Than Not" features a new final chapter, that "gives readers even more of Aaron Soto's unforgettable story."

I'm so intrigued.

And the idea of a new final chapter, of a book being changeable once it's been published, and lauded, is fascinating and inspiring.

Here's the info from the publisher:

Adam Silvera’s New York Times bestselling debut is back(!!!) in a new Deluxe Edition.

Features an introduction from #1 New York Times bestseller Angie Thomas, a new final chapter that gives readers even more of Aaron Soto's unforgettable story, and an afterword from Adam.

And the story:

In the months following his father's suicide, sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto can’t seem to find happiness again, despite the support of his girlfriend, Genevieve, and his overworked mom. Grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist won’t let him forget the pain. But when Aaron meets Thomas, a new kid in the neighborhood, something starts to shift inside him. Aaron can't deny his unexpected feelings for Thomas despite the tensions their friendship has created with Genevieve and his tight-knit crew. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound happiness, he considers taking drastic actions. The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-altering procedure will straighten him out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Want to learn more about Adam? Here's his website.

Monday, September 14, 2020

The September 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter

Click here or above to watch the September 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter.


Hi Community,

I'm Lee Wind. It's September 2020, and whoa - six months of sheltering in place. There are fires and smoke, and for the last week it's been really crazy, and there's still this ongoing sense that we have to do more than be allies. We need to be accomplices and help dismantle these systems that are so oppressive.

And in the midst of all of it, in the midst of all of it, some nice things have happened. And I find myself a little self-conscious, awkward, feeling like maybe I shouldn't be talking about the nice things that have happened, even though they're things that I've worked on for a very long time. And I've realized that when the sky is amber, (laughs), when things are difficult, it's important to still share good things, because it's hopeful, and it's nice, and so with your indulgence, I'll share a few nice things that have happened.

It's almost as if I'm a gardener - I'm a vegetarian and not much of a real gardener out in a garden – but I feel like there are projects I've worked on for so long that are flowering and bearing fruit, and that is a lovely thing to celebrate. And so, with your indulgence, I'm going to share three really lovely things that have happened.

My nonfiction book that's coming out from Lerner had its big cover reveal this past week on Betsy Bird's School Library Journal Fuse #8 blog.

Click through to see big cover reveal

She does an amazing job, and she does these great interviews with people, and she did this cool interview with me! So it's very exciting, you can go there, check out the cover, check out the interview, it says a lot about the book, and about why I wrote it, and the importance of putting this nonfiction, these true stories from history, stories of men who loved men, and women who loved women, and people who lived outside gender boundaries. Taking the primary sources and putting them in front of kids and letting kids read it themselves, and how empowering that can be, and that is. And I'm really really excited about that and very grateful to Betsy for the opportunity, and very excited that the book is coming out in April 2021.

So that's the first seed that was planted - oh my gosh - so many years ago. More than ten years ago I started on that journey, so it's very exciting to see that book slowly making its way out into the world with a big cover reveal this week and that interview.

The second lovely thing, is something that came about because of these video newsletters. After the video newsletter I think back in January or February, I was contacted by an editor of the English Journal, uh, journal (laughs) which is published by the National Council of Teachers of English, and they asked me if I would be interested in writing the “Bookended” column, it's sort of like an essay that happens at the end of each of their journal issues, that talks about something about the author's experience in English classes in either middle school or high school. And so I got to write this essay, and it came out this past week, in September.

The first page of my three-page essay in the English Journal September 2020 issue, called "Who's the Monster? (Hint: It's not the whale.)"

So that's something where the seed was planted in February, I guess, and that is flowering now. And that's very exciting because 16,000 middle school and high school English teachers will read that. And so I'm very excited, and it just feels very nice, to reach both librarians - school librarians in particular - and to reach English teachers at this moment feels very very exciting.

And then third thing I want to share is that I have been blogging at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? for thirteen years. September 15th, 2007 was my very first post, and now it is 13 years later. And that is amazing, and exciting. And actually, I looked it up, Google counted for me, and this post that's going up, is post #2,700. I've done two thousand seven hundred posts on my blog about LGBTQ kid and teen books and culture and politics, and so much more, and you've been here as part of the journey, and I'm so grateful for that.

And just last week we passed three million page loads!


BOOM! (mind blown sound)

Wow! It's very exciting. I'm very very grateful, and very humble[d], trying to come at this from a place of humility, too, because oh my gosh there's so much going on in the world, and that you would allow me to take a little time to share with you some good news that's happened for me, in the midst of all this, is very lovely.

So thank you so much. Stay safe, be kind to yourselves and others, and we're all in this together, and thank you for letting me share.

Until next time, the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you.

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Queer Love Story Behind "Goodnight Moon" - Or, How I Learned To Love A Children's Classic

So recently I had this revelation from the SCBWI 2020 Summer Spectacular Online conference about Goodnight Moon, this perennial favorite board book/picture book that we were gifted multiple copies of when our daughter was born, that I never really understood.

I mean, there's not much plot. Not to diss author Margaret Wise Brown, or Illustrator Clement Hurd, but it's really just a bunny settling into bed, saying "Good Night" to the things in their big green room. Like the comb, and brush, and bowl of mush by their bedside.

On August 2, 2020, in that online SCBWI conference, when talking about the heart-message of a book being either explicit or implicit, editor and author Jill Santopolo explained that for Goodnight Moon, the heart message is "everything is as it should be, and it's safe to go to sleep."

And suddenly the popularity of the book made more sense to me. That's the storyline. Implicitly there.

Then just last week, Lambda Literary published this article by Lizzy Lemieux, ‘Goodnight Moon’ and the Queer Love Story of the Great Green Room.

Turns out, Margaret Wise Brown had a real green room:

“Brown’s New York City apartment, gifted to her by her lover, actress, and poet Blanche Oelrichs, who was known by her nom de plume, Michael Strange. While Brown was writing her magnum opus of children’s literature, she painted her own gifted bedroom green and yellow and covered her poster bed in red velvet.”

It's information from Amy Gary's 2017 biography In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown, and it's fascinating. The article includes this bit:

“The relationship was never truly a secret. During her divorce from John Barrymore, an exposé even dubbed Michael the ‘Sappho of Long Island’, forcing her to go temporarily ‘incognito’ for fear of social ostracization. External and internal homophobia coloured the couples relationship. In letters, Michael ‘insisted’ they use coded language. As Gary writes, ‘At times, they attached emotions they had for each other to their dogs or had imaginary characters speak for them in their letters. Michael’s was Rabbit and Margaret’s, Bunny.’”

Look at the brush!

Oh - My - WOW!

Suddenly, there's a whole other reason to love this story of Bunny (Margaret's stand-in), lovingly seeing all the things in their great green room (gifted to her by the woman who loved her), and knowing that everything is as it should be, and it's safe to go to sleep.

And in that one-two revelation, I love a children's classic.

As Lizzy put it so perfectly in the final line to her article,

“Goodnight stars. Goodnight air. Goodnight women loving women everywhere.”

I loved learning this bit of Queer and Kid Lit history!

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

You're Invited To My Friend Lori's FREE Online "Writers Happiness" Writing Retreat (Sept 11-13, 2020)

I've done two of these before, and it's been awesome, both in terms of the sense of community gathered, and in my getting some writing done!

If writing's your thing, you might consider joining.

Here's the scoop, and the link to register:

Join Lori and me

"...and other writers in a free, communal writing weekend, Friday evening through Sunday lunch (with an optional Friday daytime component). You are welcome to attend for all or just parts here and there, whatever works for your time, brain, or life right now.

The idea behind this writing retreat is simple: community and time. Time to write, to brainstorm, to clear your psychic space from distractions. To sit with your manuscript. To revise. To remember why you love this. To finish something. To start something. To feel refreshed. To be supported. To remember that your writing matters in the midst of all of this, and that it’s also totally okay if it’s not coming easily at the moment.

There are no critiques, no readings, no workshops. Just a chance to work on or think about your project in a supportive community of other writers working on and thinking about their projects as well. [Lori will] also be leading optional writer-centric yoga and guided meditations. All writers of anything are welcome, whether it’s a book or a blog, a dissertation or a business plan."

Get all the details here.

Hope you'll be able to join!

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

P.S. - Lori didn't ask me to share this, but I am because it's just so good, and it's free, and I'm delighted to spread the word!

Monday, September 7, 2020

#ShowThemYouCARE #SuicidePrevention - September is National Suicide Prevention Month

According to The Trevor Project’s research, 40% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months, with more than half of Trans and Nonbinary youth having seriously considered it.

Check out this video from The Trevor Project, explaining how to Prevent Suicide with CARE: which stands for Connect, Ask, Respond, and Empower

As Patricia says in the video,
"Acceptance from at least one adult can decrease the risk of LGBTQ youth suicide by 40%."

Learn more about how to help LGBTQ youth in crisis here:

Stay safe, 

know that the world needs your light,

and that the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you.


Friday, September 4, 2020

The New Queer Conscience - Adam Eli Argues That Queers Anywhere Are Responsible For Queers Everywhere

The New Queer Conscience by Adam Eli, Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky

Voices4 Founder and LGBTQIA+ activist Adam Eli offers a candid and compassionate introduction to queer responsibility. Eli calls on his Jewish faith to underline how kindness and support within the queer community can lead to a stronger global consciousness. More importantly, he reassures us that we're not alone. In fact, we never were. Because if you mess with one queer, you mess with us all.

I love the description of this book, and can't wait to read it! Add your review of "The New Queer Conscience" in comments!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe (An ALA Alex Winner, Naming It a Book for Adults That Will Have Teen Appeal)

Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.
Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity--what it means and how to think about it--for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

The School Library Journal starred review said, "It's also a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand."

Add your review of "Gender Queer: A Memoir" in comments!

Monday, August 31, 2020

I Was on Faculty at a Writer's Conference This Weekend and... I Didn't Even Attend?

I didn't miss it. It's just that the UCLA Extension Writers' Program YA Symposium, The Young and the Reckless: Writing For Teens was all pre-recorded.

The good news is you didn't miss it, either. The sessions, the panels, it's all online through September 5, 2020. Along with the amazing Karol Ruth Silverstein (who I'm proud to call my friend), I co-lead two breakout sessions, Checking Privilege at the Door


Creating the Complex Character.

I was also on a great panel discussion with Sherri L. Smith, Aminah Mae Safe, and Cindy Lin that was moderated by Nutschell Windsor.

It's not the same as being in person, but there are definitely some upsides. The conference is only $50 to attend, and is available not just one day, but over eight days, and virtually, which makes it more accessible. And this way, I can attend the sessions my fellow faculty members gave because I'm not busy doing my own!

So I miss hanging out, and checking out my fellow faculty's books in the conference bookstore, but I remind myself that there's a pandemic going on. And the fact that Charlie, Nutschell, Carrie, Ashley, Jennie, and the whole UCLA Extension Writer's Program team were able to pivot and still make this amazing event happen is pure awesomeness.

I'm very grateful to have been - to be - part of it.

So, if writing for teens is your jam, check it out.


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

Friday, August 28, 2020

Beyond The Gender Binary - Alok Vaid-Menon Shows Us The Only Limit To Gender Is Our Imagination

Beyond The Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon

Poet, artist, and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate Alok Vaid-Menon deconstructs, demystifies, and reimagines the gender binary.

In this book, Alok "challenges the world to see gender not in black and white, but in full color. Taking from their own experiences as a gender-nonconforming artist, they show us that gender is a malleable and creative form of expression. The only limit is your imagination."

Love these blurbs about the book:

"Thank God we have Alok. And I'm learning a thing or two myself."--Billy Porter, Emmy award-winning actor, singer, and Broadway theater performer

"When reading this book, all I feel is kindness."--Sam Smith, Grammy and Oscar award-winning singer and songwriter

"Beyond the Gender Binary will give readers everywhere the feeling that anything is possible within themselves"--Princess Nokia, musician and co-founder of the Smart Girl Club

"A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change." – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Add your review of "Beyond The Gender Binary" in comments!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? (My Middle Grade Nonfiction Coming April 2021) Gets a Shout-Out In Publishers Weekly!

This was exciting!

Publishers Weekly did a feature last month called "Spring 2021 Children's Sneak Previews" where they go publisher-by-publisher, imprint-by-imprint, and highlight just a few (two or three) stand-out upcoming titles for kids and teens for the readership of Publishers Weekly (over 68,000 booksellers, publishers, public and academic librarians, wholesalers, distributors, educators, agents and writers.)

and there, in the listing for LERNER/ZEST...

"No Way, They Were Gay?: Hidden Lives and Secret Loves by Lee Wind, which examines primary source letters, poems, and more to rethink the lives and loves of historical figures."


We've been waiting a looooooong time for this to finally come out. This is one more exciting step on that journey.

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

Monday, August 24, 2020

Flex Your Vote!

I didn't know that 1 in 5 Queer People in the US are not registered to vote. We need all hands on deck this November to get the current occupant of the White House out of power.

As photographer Mike Ruiz put it in his Instagram Post,

Be like Eric and Flex Your Vote! 20% of LGBTQ+ people are NOT registered to vote! That 20% could help keep us protected for the next 4 years. Please vote like your life depends on it! WWW.VOTE.ORG @erictastic #flexyourvote #doordie #register #vote #MIKERUIZ

An article on the campaign at Socialite Life explains further, "Eric Wainwright [the model shown above] devised the “Flex Your Vote” slogan and the campaign was born. In it, the eight photographers are posting images to their Instagram and Facebook accounts and encouraging fans to share them with the hashtag @flexyourvote."

Here are a few more images from the campaign, that hopefully will get our community inspired to register to VOTE!

Of course, we don't all need to be buff and beautiful to inspire voting... or vote!

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

Stay safe,

Friday, August 21, 2020

My New Gender Workbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity

My New Gender Workbook by Kate Bornstein

Cultural theorists have written loads of smart but difficult-to-fathom texts on gender theory, but most fail to provide a hands-on, accessible guide for those trying to sort out their own sexual identities. In My Gender Workbook, transgender activist Kate Bornstein brings theory down to Earth and provides a practical approach to living with or without a gender.

Bornstein starts from the premise that there are not just two genders performed in today's world, but countless genders lumped under the two-gender framework. Using a unique, deceptively simple and always entertaining workbook format, complete with quizzes, exercises, and puzzles, Bornstein gently but firmly guides readers toward discovering their own unique gender identity.

Since its first publication in 1997, My Gender Workbook has been challenging, encouraging, questioning, and helping those trying to figure out how to become a "real man," a "real woman," or "something else entirely." In this exciting new edition of her classic text, Bornstein re-examines gender in light of issues like race, class, sexuality, and language. With new quizzes, new puzzles, new exercises, and plenty of Kate's playful and provocative style, My New Gender Workbook promises to help a new generation create their own unique place on the gender spectrum.

Here's just a bit of this book's brilliance, from page 125 of the first edition:

Did you know that in most countries, your gender is recorded as a matter of law? That from the moment of your birth, you're classified into an identity you haven't had the time or experience or intelligence to figure out? There you are, newly born, dealing with all this birth stuff; you don't know the language and can't get your needs and wants articulated, and the first social thing that happens to you is that you're fixed into a legal identity that will determine the course of your life. And did you know that in most countries, it's against the law to change that gender once it's been assigned? Is it just me, or does that strike you as a little weird? Does it sound like that sort of legal system is truly representing your best interests as a complete being, capable of some wonderful growth in your life?

And just because I love the cover of the first edition on my shelf, here's that:

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Falling in Love Montage - Two Teen Girls Agree To A Summer of Rom-Com Cliche Dates With Each Other, With a Binding Agreement To End Their Romance Come Fall

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

Add your review of "The Falling in Love Montage" in comments!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Stay Gold - An #OwnVoices Novel Where Trans Guy Pony Moves To A New High School And Goes "Stealth"

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Pony just wants to fly under the radar during senior year. Tired from all the attention he got at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s looking for a fresh start at Hillcrest High. But it’s hard to live your best life when the threat of exposure lurks down every hallway and in every bathroom.
Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She plans on keeping a low profile until graduation…which is why she promised herself that dating was officially a no-go this year.
Then, on the very first day of school, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How is Pony supposed to stay stealth when he wants to get close to a girl like Georgia? How is Georgia supposed to keep her promise when sparks start flying with a boy like Pony?

Here's a really touching video from the author, talking about their book, their journey, and how

"Books are the ultimate safe space." 

Add your review of "Stay Gold" in comments!

Friday, August 14, 2020

All-American Boys - A Gay Teen Love Story With a Happy/Hopeful Ending From Back in 1983

All American Boys by Frank Mosca

Neil Meilish has known that he was gay since he was 13 but so far he's told no one including his father and brother. Folks at school only know him as the guy who's got a black belt in kung fu, or as the guy who races pigeons.

But when Paul Carrington's family moves into town things change. The boys have a connection that's too intense to deny and soon Neil and Paul are in love but find that their families and schoolmates have trouble accepting a gay relationship.

Here's the back-cover copy:

"I've known I was gay since I was thirteen.
Does that surprise you? It didn't me.
According to one of the lousy books I read back then, I'm supposed to tell you it came as some sort of huge shock that sent me into fits of suicidal depression. Actually, it wsas the most natural thing in the world. I thought everyone was. At least until I hit high school the next year. That's when I finally realized all those faggot and dyke stories referred to people like me...
So begins All-American Boys, the story of a teen-age love affair that should have been simple – but wasn't."

It seems long out of print (from the old Alyson Publications) but I'm so intrigued by this book that came out when I was teen. If only I'd found it back then. Fascinated to read it now...

Add your review of "All-American Boys" in comments.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

All Boys Aren't Blue - A Memoir-Manifesto for Teens by journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson

All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren't Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson's emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.

Kirkus Reviews gave this book a starred review, calling it, "A critical, captivating, merciful mirror for growing up black and queer today." Add your review of "All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto" in comments!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Civil Rights Leader John Lewis Wrote This Essay Just a Few Days Before His Death. It was Published in the New York Times on the Day of His Funeral.

This essay by John Lewis is so brilliant, and inspiring.

The stand out line for me:

"When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act..."

The context of that quote:

"Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it."

And then the call to action:

"Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe."

Read the full piece – It's well-worth it. And then let's stand up, together.

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

Friday, August 7, 2020

My Highlights From #SCBWISummerSpec

Hello community!

I'm still flying high from the first-ever virtual iteration of the SCBWI Summer Conference – after 48 years of meeting in person. (I haven't been going for 48 years. I started 16 years ago.)

Amazingly, the virtual version delivered so much, and moments like the LGBTQIA+ and Allies Social that I hosted gave me a taste of the community aspect that I was missing. (More on that in another post soon.)

I was really inspired by Susie Ghahremani's summing-it-all-up tweet, and so here's mine. Certainly not as visually pretty, but packed with the moments that inspired and/or resonated for me:

Philip Pullman explaining the best piece of advice he's been given was from Raymond Chandler, 'When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun.' That solves every problem. Meaning, "Add a character who you the writer weren’t expecting." So when he was trying to solve the problem of the opening scene of The Golden Compass he needed someone for Lyra to talk to. And then he described writing and having Lyra’s daemon appear. “What’s a daemon?” he wondered. “I wrote the rest of the 1,100 pages to find out.”

"Do you know any writer who isn't incredibly insecure?" – Judy Blume

“There’s a fine line between artistic genius and self-doubt.” – Kwame Alexander on how “you can’t let other people define your worth, your creative value.”

"There is a purpose for me in this space." –Jason Reynolds on why he keeps going in an industry that is so challenging.

"Every single type of writing is poetry. ...all of it to me is poetry." Jason Reynolds

Raúl the Third on Muhammad Ali being the "greatest" - "Not because he was better than anyone else, but because no one was greater than him." Raúl wasn't a boxer, but he thought, "If I focus on these drawings, maybe I can become a champion."

"Books are amusement parks. Kids have to choose the ride." – Kwame Alexander

Jill Santopolo talking about the heart-message being either explicit or implicit, and explaining that for the children's classic Goodnight Moon, the heart message is "everything is as it should be, and it's safe to go to sleep."

Dan Santat speaking about picture books, "16 sentences that tell a story beginning to end."

LeUyen Pham on illustrating picture books, "Not drawing what is written – interpreting what's written." She's only interested in illustrating a writer's text "if there's something left of the story to tell."

Jon Klassen (in another conversation) agreed, “I would get bored if my job was just decorating.”

“We’re making art for kids…Art is just a conversation. You’re saying something to a living breathing person on the other end. Be clear. Be interesting. Say things of value to them, the audience.” – Mac Barnett

Nic Stone advising "Separate selfhood from work."

“Books don’t have to have a happy ending. As long as there’s hope in the narrative… it can be complete.” – Jacqueline Woodson

Lori Snyder, telling the story of Gandhi's response to a brash young reporter who asked him what was his message to the world: "My life is my message."

Grace Lin on an idea being a picture book or a novel: "I know it's a picture book when the pictures are going to tell another story." Two stories, one told by words, one told by pictures.

Laurie Halse Anderson explaining that the first draft is figuring out "what I want to write." And then the second draft is taking the "beautiful mess" of that first draft and applying her craft. "Beautiful mess" is such a better metaphor than 'shitty first draft.'

"I just kept building on every tiny success until it snowballed." – Meg Medina

"We deserve to tell our readers the truth, offered in a responsible and loving way." – Laurie Halse Anderson

Jeff Kinney writing 700 jokes, then taking it down to the best 200, and then writing the book AROUND those.

"Write what you know, write who you are, and it is like a magnet." – Henry Winkler

"The eye and the ear are different listeners." – Jane Yolen, on having someone else read your manuscript out loud to you as part of your revision process.

and maybe most of all, feeling In Community, with more than 150 people showing up for the LGBTQIA+ and Allies Social on Zoom.

Giant THANK YOUS to the whole SCBWI Team Blog this time round, who made all the Official SCBWI Conference Blog postings and live-tweets possible! Thank you, Jaime, Jolie, Don, Leah, Mike, Susie, Bingham, Olugbemisola, and Gaby!

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Ship We Built - An #OwnVoices Trans Middle Grade Novel Where Letters Sent Out To The Universe Feel Like the Only Way Rowan Can Be Real

The Ship We Built by Lexie Bean

Sometimes I have trouble filling out tests when the name part feels like a test too. . . . When I write letters, I love that you have to read all of my thoughts and stories before I say any name at all. You have to make it to the very end to know.

Rowan has too many secrets to write down in the pages of a diary. And if he did, he wouldn't want anyone he knows to read them. He understands who he is and what he likes, but it's not safe for others to find out. Now the kids at school say Rowan's too different to spend time with. He's not the "right kind" of girl, and he's not the "right kind" of boy. His mom ignores him. And at night, his dad hurts him in ways he's not ready to talk about yet.

But Rowan discovers another way to share his secrets: letters. Letters he attaches to balloons and releases into the universe, hoping someone new will read them and understand. But when he befriends a classmate who knows what it's like to be lonely and scared, even at home, Rowan realizes that there might already be a person he can trust right by his side.

Add your review of "The Ship We Built" in comments!

Monday, August 3, 2020

You Brought Me the Ocean - A Gay Teen Coming-Out Romance and Origin Story for Aqualad (A Graphic Novel from DC Comics!)

You Brought Me the Ocean by Alex Sanchez, illustrated by Julie Maroh

Jake Hyde doesn't swim--not since his dad drowned. Luckily, he lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, in the middle of the desert. Yet he yearns for the ocean and is determined to go to college on the coast. But leaving home would mean parting from his best friend Maria, who wants to stay and protect the desert, and breaking from his mom, who encourages him to play it safe.

But there's nothing "safe" about Jake's future--not when he's attracted to Kenny Liu, swim team captain and rebel against conformity. And certainly not when Jake secretly applies to the University of Miami. And those aren't the biggest of Jake's secrets, which include the strange blue markings on his skin that glow when in contact with water.

What power will Jake find when searching for the truth of his identity, and will he accept the consequences of coming out--in more ways than one--to his mom, Maria, and the world?

I am ridiculously, silly excited about this one. Add your review of "You Brought Me The Ocean" in comments!

Friday, July 31, 2020

My Listical Introducing Myself for the 2020 SCBWI Online Summer Spectacular #SCBWISummerSpec

As the lead of SCBWI Team Blog, I'll be heading up the live blogging and tweeting from the virtual conference floor for the 2020 SCBWI Online Summer Spectacular, which starts TODAY!!! Here's the post I shared on the official SCBWI Conference Blog, 3 Things About Me (Lee Wind). Well, YOU. Okay, Us. And the 2020 SCBWI Online Summer Spectacular

I don't have a photo of you, but here's one of me from this week.

1. I love this community, of children's book creators. Writers, Illustrators. And the industry folks, editors, agents, art directors, marketing and PR peeps, librarians, booksellers, really, everyone who is passionate about books for children and teens. I love the community because I'm part of the community. And I became part of the community, really, the first time I attended an SCBWI event. I'm a writer by dint of my writing. And I'm a member of this community by dint of claiming a spot in the community. You can claim a spot, too. Just be being here, reading this blog. Attending virtual SCBWI events, like this SCBWI Online Summer Spectacular. And working at your own craft. We've saved a space for you.

2. I have a voice. It took me a long time to find it, in life, and in my art. (Words are my medium.) I started out writing picture books about frogs and princesses and manners. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it wasn't the story of my heart. (Thank you, Esther Hershenhorn!) And now I'm telling those heart-driven stories. My blog I'M HERE. I'M QUEER. WHAT THE HELL DO I READ? has been a great way to figure out what I want to say and how to best say it. I'm even doing video newsletters! My crowd-funded debut YA Novel, QUEER AS A FIVE-DOLLAR BILL, is about Wyatt, a closeted teen, who triggers a backlash when he outs Abraham Lincoln. (It was a Publishers Weekly Indie Success Story. And Foreword Reviews said it “Will change the way young readers look at history…”) My Middle Grade Nonfiction book is due out from Zest/Lerner in April 2021, and it's called NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? HIDDEN LIVES AND SECRET LOVES. And I have a picture book (not formally announced yet) coming out in the Fall of 2021 that's an empowering story for kids about social justice. Here's the thing: You have a voice, too. Take the time to develop it. And then share it with the world. We want to hear it. Kids and teens need to hear it.

3. I'm aiming for this long weekend conference to be spectacular. Yes, it's online, and meeting in person is so much more, well... personable. But this virtual incarnation is so much more accessible. Like having 10 team bloggers this time around, everyone doing a little bit so no one gets completely zoomed out. (Shout out here to Jaime, Jolie, Don, Leah, Mike, Susie, Bingham, Olugbemisola, and Gaby! Make sure to check out their introduction posts here at the scbwi conference blog, too.) I get to listen, and learn from some of the giants in our industry, having conversations with each other. LeUyen Pham and Dan Santat talking about visual storytelling? I'm there. A fantasy deep dive with Philip Pullman and Arthur Levine? Can't wait! And of course, the LGBTQIA and Allies Social, happening Monday August 3, 2020 at 5pm Pacific in a safe space zoom that I'll be hosting with special guests! Whether you're following along on twitter and elsewhere with the conference hashtag


or you're jumping into every big zoom conversation live (or watching the recordings later), whether you're grabbing time to be creative in between sessions, or enjoying some of the live virtual yoga "interludes" led by my friend Lori Snyder, you can make this conference experience just what YOU need it to be for you. And that sounds pretty spectacular, doesn't it?

Here's to a wonderful conference ahead, all!

Stay safe,