Friday, December 18, 2020

Vacation Message... Me, You, and Hello, 2021!

2020 has been a year. (At times it's felt more like a decade...)

But here we are! 

My three part vacation message...

#1: Me:

I'll be taking the next two weeks off of blogging, because one thing I've learned is that self-care is not something that you only cram into the available spaces in your life - I need to make the time to take care of myself, on an ongoing basis, or nothing else will work right. (Including me!) 

Julia Cameron, in her amazing The Artists Way, talks about filling the well:

“As artists we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them-- to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process filling the well.” —Julia Cameron

So for the next two weeks, I'll be filling my well.

#2: You:

I hope you'll take the time to do something kind for yourself, too. Maybe read one of the LGBTQ teen and kid books featured on this blog in the past twelve months. Maybe go for a walk in nature. Or spend the afternoon baking on Zoom with a friend or loved one. Slow down. Breathe. Maybe your well could use some filling, too.

#3 Hello, 2021!

I'll be back blogging in January. And we'll continue the journey, together.



Until then, the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,
Lee


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Verona Comics - Two Bi/Pan Teens Fall for Each Other... But then the World Doesn't See Them as Queer Anymore


Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan

Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.

Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them–that is, when they’re even paying attention.

They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible . . . unless they manage to keep it a secret.

Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?

I really loved this interview in Publishers Weekly with the author where she said,

"I knew I wanted to feature two bi/pan kids in a relationship, particularly one who could appear heteronormative to outsiders. As a queer woman married to a man, I know firsthand the stigma and loss of community that can accompany a bi person entering a relationship with someone of a different gender. Unfortunately, biphobia is something that runs rampant not just in the world at large, but also within queer spaces. It was important to me to show bi/pan teens that it’s okay! You are still valid, and your sexuality is not defined by the person you are dating at any particular moment in time. That was something I desperately needed to hear when I was growing up." -Jennifer Dugan

So cool that she paid it forward in this novel (pun intended) way.

Add your review of Verona Comics in comments!

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Spotlight Series - Country music superstar Grady Dawson meets celebrity stylist Nico Takahashi (it's a Gay romance!) And Gwen (Nico's business partner) has a Lesbian love triangle of her own!


The Spotlight Series by Lilah Suzanne

BROKEN RECORDS: Los Angeles-based stylist Nico Takahashi loves his job—or at least, he used to. Feeling fed up and exhausted from the cutthroat, gossip-fueled business of Hollywood, Nico daydreams about packing it all in and leaving for good. So when Grady Dawson—sexy country music star and rumored playboy—asks Nico to style him, Nico is reluctant. But after styling a career-changing photo shoot, Nico follows Grady to Nashville where he finds it increasingly difficult to resist Grady’s charms. Can Nico make his peace with show business and all its trappings, or will Grady’s public persona get in their way of their private attraction to each other?

BURNING TRACKS: Gwen Pasternak’s got it all. Or so it seems… In the sequel to RT Book Reviews’ Top Pick Broken Records, Gwen’s life looks perfect: She has a job she loves as stylist to the stars; a beautiful wife, Flora; and a house in the heart of Nashville. But the more she works alongside country music’s dynamic princess Clementine Campbell, the less Gwen is certain of her commitment to a life of domestic bliss. Meanwhile, her business partner Nico Takahashi is happily settled down with reformed bad-boy musician Grady Dawson. But when Nico questions the permanence of their relationship, Grady retreats into some dangerous old habits. Will Gwen ruin the life she’s built with Flora for something new and exhilarating? Can Grady be convinced of Nico’s devotion before it’s too late? Burning Tracks is a story of tough choices, taking risks, and the pressures of living life in the spotlight.

BLENDED NOTES: Grady Dawson’s future looks bright. He’s at the top of his country music career, has a close-knit group of friends who have become his Nashville family, and has found solid ground in his personal life as he plans his intimate, private wedding with Nico, his stylist-turned-lover, turned love of his life. It seems Grady has finally left his difficult childhood and tumultuous youth behind. That is, until his past shows up on his doorstep, news of his upcoming nuptials is leaked to the media, and his record company levels demands that challenge his integrity as an artist and as a person. The foundation of Grady’s new life begins to crumble, and fast. Will he be forced to make the ultimate choice between a private life with Nico and the public demands of his career?

The publisher, Interlude Press, is selling all three books as a boxed set with a bonus short story about Clementine.

Add your review of "Broken Records," "Burning Tracks," and/or "Blended Notes" in comments!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Dark and Deepest Red - Two Tales (One Medieval and One Modern) That Interweave and Queer 'The Red Shoes' Fairy Tale



Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva's feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever's history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there's more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.
Read an interview with the author here.

Add your review of "Dark and Deepest Red" in comments!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Highlights from the Latinx KidLit Book Festival's Panel with LGBTQ+ Latinx Writers!

 

clockwise from top left: Jonny Garza Villa, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Aiden Thomas, Mark Oshiro, and Laura Pohl.

I so enjoyed watching this discussion with Jonny Garza Villa (FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES FROM THE SUN), Anna-Marie McLemore (DARK AND DEEPEST RED), Tehlor Kay Mejia (WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE), Mark Oshiro (EACH OF US A DESERT). Laura Pohl (THE LAST 8) and Aiden Thomas (CEMETERY BOYS)!

Moments that resonated for me included:

"Queerness is actually a very magical thing." –Aiden Thomas

"We're all kinds of works in progress in terms of identity... and that's okay and beautiful." –Anna-Marie McLemore

On not centering straight, cis, whiteness in his work: "these are the stories I want to tell...and who I am." –Mark Oshiro

"I would like this... but make it Gay." –Laura Pohl on finding her inspiration in other media

"For me, writing intersectional stories is a lot about having privilige in one area and not as much in another, and how you navigate that." –Tehlor Kay Mejia

'I want to celebrate everything I am now... to let kids/teens today know THEY can be themselves.' –Jonny Garza Villa

If you didn't catch it, you can watch the recorded panel discussion here.

My thanks to all the panelists!

Monday, December 7, 2020

The November/December 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter: Chaos and its antidote, an author update, book recommendation, and more!

click here or above to watch the video 

transcript:

Hi Community! I'm Lee Wind. It's December 2020, and this is the November/December 2020 Newsletter. It's been quite a few months, and I think what I've realized is that there are certain people that thrive on creating chaos, including the current occupant of the White House.

And I've also realized that I don't thrive on chaos. I thrive on being grounded, and breathing. Like in meditation or in yoga, when you have a solid foundation, then you can stretch and grow and expand. Like roots of a tree and reaching up to the sky.

It's been a very, very challenging time, and I just want to acknowledge that. And I hope that you and yours are well and safe and are finding moments of being grounded so you can thrive, too.

So it's the video newsletter. I have a few updates. The first, about author stuff...

I'm very honored to be one of 50 authors participating in "Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep" which is an amazing compilation of essays, an anthology of essays, orchestrated and edited by Melissa Stewart, who has so many amazing nonfiction books for kids that are out there. And she wants to let people know that nonfiction comes from a place of passion, too. It isn't just facts and dates. 

Which I love, because I really believe, so strongly, that history to me was taught as medicine, and I think it should be like chocolate, and that's really the whole idea behind my new book coming out, "No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves."

So I was really excited to be part of that and it's available for preorder now! So that's really cool and exciting.

I want to tell you about a book I read recently that I really loved. "You Brought Me The Ocean" - which is a graphic novel. It's sort of the origin story of Aqualad. Written by Alex Sanchez and illustrated by Julie Maroah. Julie is the creator of "Blue is the Warmest Color," which was amazing, and Alex of course has done "Rainbow Boys," and "The God Box," and so many other powerful Queer teen novels. I'm very excited to tell you that this book was amazing. I savored it! It was so beautifully drawn, and the story was so exciting. They're young Queer kids of color and Oh, yes! You must read it. It was so great!

Inspiration! So this month - these two months - the words I'm finding really inspiring, that are helping me stay grounded, are the words of Bayard Rustin. Actually, so inspirational that it is the opening spread of the chapter on Bayard Rustin in my upcoming nonfiction book.

This is - what is this, you ask? - this is a printout of an early version of a draft of the book - of the ARC - which is very exciting. You can see that it's very dynamic and exciting. It won't be in oranges, I don't know, my printer ink went wonky. It is black and grays. The quote from Bayard Rustin is right here, it's sort of a pull quote from later in the chapter, and it says:

"...If we want to do away with the injustice to gays it will not be done because we get rid of the injustice to gays. It will be done because we are forwarding the effort for the elimination of injustice to all." —Bayard Rustin, in a 1986 interview

I love that. Right? We can't each just be for ourselves. We have to stand up for everyone that is disenfrancished, for everyone who is left out, for everyone who is not getting their voices heard, and stand up together and then we will eliminate injustice for everyone at the same time. I love that vision. I love that that was 1986, and it feels like it could  have been said today. So, Bayard Rustin, an amazing forefather of our modern Gay rights movement, and a real big player in the Civil Rights movement. He was the guy who organized the big march on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. made that amazing "I have a dream" speech. You'll find out lots more about Bayard in the book, but that really inspires me.

The final thing I wanted to share is gratitude. That I've very grateful that you're part of my community and I'm part of your community. Because truly, community is the antidote to chaos. And so, I invite you to take a deep breath with me. (inhale...  exhale) 

And I want to thank you, and I want to tell you that the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you.

Happy holidays, stay safe. Bye.




Friday, December 4, 2020

Check out the Latinx KidLit Book Festival! (December 4-5, 2020)



I'm really excited about this online, free Latinx KidLit Book Festival - and especially delighted that there's a panel including Queer Latinx creatives in KidLit, DE COLORES: A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH LGBTQ+ LATINX WRITERS (happening Friday, December 4, 2020, from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time EST) 

Here's that session description:

Being Latinx and anywhere within the LGBTQIA+ spectrums brings its own set of unique circumstances, often shaped by gendered language, heteronormative cultural norms, and deeply held religious teachings. Especially growing up, we can often feel the conflict between tradition and expectation against the pull of our heart and soul toward happiness, seeing and being seen as our complete selves. How do our experiences walking within these intersectional identities shape the stories we tell and what meaning do these identities carry across genres? Hear from authors Jonny Garza Villa (FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES FROM THE SUN), Anna-Marie McLemore (DARK AND DEEPEST RED), Tehlor Kay Mejia (WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE), Mark Oshiro (EACH OF US A DESERT). Laura Pohl (THE LAST 8) and Aiden Thomas (CEMETERY BOYS) on creating these powerful novels, and what shapes their stories, their characters, and their hopes for young LGBTQ+ readers who come across their writing.




Can't wait!

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

When a Bully Is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times - A Picture Book I Wish I'd Had Back in Nov 2016 (And Still Useful Now, for the Next 50 Days - And Beyond, When We Look Back at Trump and Go, "What the Heck was THAT?")





When a Bully Is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times by Maya Gonzalez

Self-Care for Kids! A children's book to talk about current and historical oppression and bullying in the United States while focusing on the important role kids can play using creativity and self love as a base to develop strength during difficult times.

Playful ink and watercolor illustrations support a powerful journey that touches on bullying in the founding history of the US, how that history may still be impacting kids and families today, and ways to use creativity and self-respect in the face of negative messages for all marginalized communities. The first part of the book briefly acknowledges the United States’ past and present and shows some basic forms of activism that kids engage in. The next part talks about walking away from a bully or de-escalation and focusing on how to take care of yourself and community. Finally practical ways creativity and portraiture can be used to support self-respect and spread respect in community are explored. Communities reflected include Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Chicanx, LGBTQ Americans, disabled Americans, Americans who identify as women and girls, Muslim and Sikh Americans, Jewish Americans and Asian Americans. The back includes related resources and referrals. Hardcover version also includes a reading guide for adults, community project and art & witnessing worksheets to copy. Paperback version just includes the art & witnessing worksheets.

This book is not a hero’s tale or the journey of a brave fight. This book is for the in between moments, the middle of the night, the long afternoon: those moments when kids are haunted by what someone said to them in the hallway, a sideways stare at the store or what they heard on the news. It’s about gathering strength for life’s every day journey and supporting a strong full self all the time.

Check out this video of the author/illustrator reading the book and sharing a mix of the art in progress and finished art.

Add your review of "When a Bully Is President" in comments!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Ma Llorona - A Queer YA novella "reclamation" of a classic Mexican ghost story


Ma Llorona: a ghost story… …a love story by Maya Gonzalez

"I cry for all of us who bear the burden of these times."

Aaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

One day at the river changed everything.

So begins the terror from the pale ones who remake the lands and the people to suit their pale vision.
But the ghost woman and her one true love conjure a plan.

Will La Llorona's heart be strong enough to fulfill it?
More importantly, when the time comes....will the people be ready?

In times filled with terror and torment, one woman's haunting grief rises from beyond to become the people's howl in the dark. Sometimes a heartache is so great, it belongs to everyone. Sometimes a healing is so powerful it holds within it the spark to change everything....if we're ready.

A queer reclamation of the classic Mexican ghost story, La Llorona, that spans the ages and the Americas (MesoAmerica 1500 to present day San Francisco) to reunite the people with their ghosts and mend what was torn apart.

An emotional and layered journey that weaves history with love, spirit with flesh, and merges ancient myths with current political times. Powerful themes of love, pre-colonial queer identity, sacred feminine, loss and endurance course through the pages as the story gathers and flows and gathers again to support healing, negotiate deep ancestral trauma and ultimately, transformation.

Add your review of "Ma Llorona" in comments!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Did you know Amazon's Ring gives over 1,600 Police Departments Access To Your Front-Door Footage, Putting Black Lives In Danger?

Going into Black Friday and the consumerism of the days ahead, Amazon's relationship to unjust power structures is important to know about.


From https://breakupwithamazon.org/

Amazon’s Ring: Ring gives police backdoor access to your front-door footage. Over 1,600 police departments partner with Amazon Ring. Nearly half have a history of excessive force or police-involved civilian deaths. That’s over 10 million households helping Amazon digitize racist “Stop & Frisk” policies and powering more police violence against Black lives.

Neighbors, Amazon Ring’s reporting app, encourages people to spy on anyone passing by and label them as “suspicious,” which automates racial profiling. There is no evidence to support that Amazon Ring and the Neighbors app actually help reduce crime or maintain public safety. Meanwhile, they put Black lives in danger.

As the Break Up With Amazon website states:

As people across the country take to the streets demanding an end to police violence against Black communities, Amazon is quietly positioning itself to rake in the benefits of the next evolution of policing. Instead, Amazon should sincerely align itself with today’s Movement for Black Lives, which demands our cities to #DefundThePolice. The funding spent on policing, surveilling, and caging Black and brown communities hardest hit by the COVID19 pandemic should be reinvested back into housing, education, and other relief programs.

Important to know, and share, and raise our voices that this isn't okay.

Stay safe, all.

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving Ambivalence and a History Lesson on the Native Nations Whose Ancestral Lands I Live On Today

Ahh, Thanksgiving. It's a holiday that's sat uncomfortably with me for the past few years, especially as I've learned more about colonialism and the mistreatment and murder of Native people as generations of white people took their land and made it "ours." (Part of that was the research for the chapter on We'wha in my upcoming book, NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves.)

So for a long time I've tried to shift my focus onto the gratitude part of the holiday.

But this year, I was inspired by my friends April and Lori to do a little more. I've lived in Los Angeles since 1991 (twenty-nine years now!) but in all that time, I've never really dug into the history of who lived here before. Before the white people. Before the Spanish.

 It took me two Google searches to find a website created by the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation.

The first search took me to a website on the history of my neighborhood that had this line about the Gabrielina-Tongva people who lived here, "Eventually, they shared the land and sea—the good duck hunting and steel-head trout fishing—with the Spanish explorers and, in time, with the first Angelenos.” which sounds like a page out of the happy Pilgrims holding hands with Native people singing campfire songs "history" I learned in school. 

Clearly I needed to find a website written by members of the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation. I found it here: https://gabrielinotribe.org/history/

That's where I learned that:

The Gabrielino-Tongva Nation has been indigenous to the Los Angeles Basin for 7,000 years. This history is well-documented through 2,800 archaeological sites, in State historical records and federal archives, and Catholic church records at San Gabriel Mission and San Fernando Mission.

Their struggle for official recognition:

In 1994, the State of California recognized the Tongva in Assembly Joint Resolution 96, chaptered by the California Secretary of State as Resolution chapter 146, Statutes of 1994. The Joint Resolution states that the State of California “recognizes the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation as the aboriginal tribe of the Los Angeles Basin and takes great pride in recognizing the Indian inhabitance of the Los Angeles Basin and the continued existence of the Indian community”.

And that they still do not have federal recognition:

The Gabrielino-Tongva are one of two state-recognized tribes and the best-documented tribe in the State without federal recognition.
I recognize this is a small step, but it feels important to acknowledge that I live on the ancestral lands of the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation.

With the help of my friend Lori, I found out about this very cool website that tracks - worldwide - the ancestral location of Native nations. It's at https://native-land.ca/

They call out the Chumash, Tongva, and Kizh nations as being native to where I live... 



Clearly, I have more homework to do!

I'd like to encourage you to do the two-step process for where you live. Find some history on your neighborhood. And then dig a little deeper, and find that history written by the Native people descended from those who lived where you live, hundreds -- if not thousands -- of years ago.

And then check our your neighborhood on native-land.ca, with links to the websites of the Native nations cited.

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

Monday, November 23, 2020

Federal Policies that Contributed to Segregation - And the Disparities between White and Black Wealth

Watch this eight and a half minute video,  Segregation Myth: Richard Rothstein Debunks An American Lie



 

The part about Black wealth today being 10% of white wealth, as a direct result of this federal housing subsidy helping white families where it held back Black families, was really eye-opening for me.

Important to know, and to think about.

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

P.S. - my thanks to Dr. James Pogue for sharing this as part of his No Nonsense Experience, a four-part DEI training I'm taking as part of my job at the Independent Book Publishers Association. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Advocating for LGBTQ Students With Disabilities - A New Guide

From the Human Rights Campaign, The National Association of School Psychologists, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Education Association, comes this "Advocating for LGBTQ Students with Disabilities" guide.



As quoted in a press release from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, 

“It is critical that school administrators and educators have the tools to address the needs of all LGBTQ students, including LGBTQ students with disabilities,” said Asaf Orr, Director of the Transgender Youth Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights and co-author of the publication. “This resource will ensure that schools know how to comply with their legal obligations to LGBTQ students with disabilities by providing a roadmap for creating IEPs and 504 Plans that meet their unique learning needs.”

The Guide for Educators and Parents/Guardians on Supporting LGBTQ Students With an IEP or 504 Plan is seven pages, and also includes the voices of a few students:

“It was so helpful when the school counselor met with me and the teacher who sponsors the school GSA. I was able to tell them about how I didn’t feel safe using the girls’ bathroom. I had been so scared to tell anyone else about it before. They talked about how this could be addressed through my IEP so I could start using the boys’ bathrooms since that’s how I identify.” – Transgender student with disabilities

Happy to amplify, and acknowledge the intersectionality of many within our Queer and Disabled communities.

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The U.S. Flag - Mixed Emotions About the Message It Sends, and a Cool New Version

My friend April Powers posted (over on LinkedIn) about her concern that the message sent by flying the U.S. flag on last week's Veteran's Day would be mistaken for support for the current president. She shared a link to Nasty Women Get Shit Done's alternatives, which I think are pretty awesome.





It reads: 
"In Our America: All People are Equal, Love Wins, Black Lives Matter, Immigrant & Refugees Are Welcome, Disabilities Are Respected, Women Are In Charge Of Their Bodies, People & Planet Are Valued Over Profit, Diversity Is Celebrated"

There's also a version in español:



And a Queer pride version, too:


Check them out here.

Thanks, April!

And yeah, I will feel better about the U.S. flag – about our country, actually – once Biden and Harris represent and lead us.

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

Monday, November 16, 2020

Contra Costa County Library: Indie Author Talk with Lee Wind

Click here to watch my recent "Indie Author Day" presentation, done virtually with the Contra Costa County Library.



My thanks to librarian David Greene for the invite, and to everyone for watching.

Stay safe,
Lee

Friday, November 13, 2020

"Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-Winning Children’s Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing" is available for Pre-Order! (celebratory note: I'm one of those 50!)

Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-Winning Children's Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing, edited by Melissa Stewart.

This is exciting, and a real honor to be included...



The book is published by the National Council of Teachers of English, and Melissa, who edited and organized the whole thing, has published over 180 nonfiction books for kids!

Here's the blurb from NCTE:

In Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep, some of today’s most celebrated writers for children share essays that describe a critical part of the informational writing process that is often left out of classroom instruction. To craft engaging nonfiction, professional writers choose topics that fascinate them and explore concepts and themes that reflect their passions, personalities, beliefs, and experiences in the world.

By scrutinizing the information they collect to make their own personal meaning, they create distinctive books that delight as well as inform. In addition to essays from mentor authors, the book includes a wide range of tips, tools, teaching strategies, and activity ideas from editor Melissa Stewart to help students (1) choose a topic, (2) focus that topic by identifying a core idea, theme, or concept, and (3) analyze their research to find a personal connection. By adding a piece of themselves to their drafts, students will learn to craft rich, unique prose.

And the list of contributors (the other 49 besides me) is impressive! The book features essays from essays by Sarah Albee, Chris Barton, Donna Janell Bowman, Mary Kay Carson, Nancy Castaldo, Jason Chin, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Seth Fishman, Candace Fleming, Kelly Milner Halls, Deborah Heiligman, Susan Hood, Gail Jarrow, Lita Judge, Jess Keating, Barbara Kerley, Heather Lang, Cynthia Levinson, Michelle Markel, Carla Killough McClafferty, Heather Montgomery, Patricia Newman, Elizabeth Partridge, Baptiste Paul, Miranda Paul, Teresa Robeson, Mara Rockliff, Barb Rosenstock, Laura Purdie Salas, Anita Sanchez, April Pulley Sayre, Steve Sheinkin, Ray Anthony Shepard, Anita Silvey, Traci Sorell, Tanya Lee Stone, Jennifer Swanson, Stephen R. Swinburne, Don Tate, Laurie Ann Thompson, Pamela Turner, Patricia Valdez, Sandra Neil Wallace, Laurie Wallmark, Jennifer Ward, Carole Boston Weatherford, Paula Yoo, and Karen Romano Young.

And me!

Really proud to be part of this.

Gratitude to Melissa for the opportunity, and to the readers out there who need to hear that Queer nonfiction for Kids and Teens has an important (and impassioned) place at the table, too!

If it sounds like your jam, you can preorder the book here: bit.ly/NonfictionDig

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Watch this 8 minute video: "How American Slavery Helped Create Modern Day Policing"

So much work to do to make our country - and world - a better place. A good way to move forward on being antiracist and better understanding what Black and brown people in the USA face is to learn about this connection: How American Slavery Helped Create Modern Day Policing


My thanks to Felice León, Producer of The Root, and host of this episode of Unpack That, for sharing this, and to Dr. James Pogue for recommending this video.

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

Monday, November 9, 2020

Whew.

In which I can breathe again.











For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful about the future of this country I love and call home.

Hurray for U.S.A. President Elect Biden and Vice-President Elect Harris!

So grateful.
Lee

Friday, November 6, 2020

Where's Lee? Attending a virtual SCBWI & Smithsonian Nonfiction Conference - and Blogging it, too!

 It's a first!

SCBWI and the Smithsonian have teamed up to offer this unique two-day opportunity for those of us who craft nonfiction work for children and teens.


I'll be live-blogging highlights of the event at the Official SCBWI Conference Blog, so join me there! Or, if you're attending as well, give me a virtual wave hello.

Stay safe, all.
Lee

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Democrats were hoping for a repudiation of Trump selfishness and Republican hypocrisy. We'll take a Win.

It may take some patience here. 

Hopefully we'll have good news for the arc of justice -- and our country, and our world -- with a Biden/Harris win and a Democratic-controlled Senate in a few days.

Joe Biden's election night speech, "We feel good about where we are.... We believe we're on track to win this election.... We're going to have to be patient.... And it ain't over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted."


Deep breaths til then.

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


Monday, November 2, 2020

Van Jones TED Talk: What if a US Presidential Candidate Refuses to Concede After an Election?

This was eloquent and super-important.


I hope it's a landslide for Biden/Harris, and we aren't dragged there. But this is important to know about. My thanks to Cindy for sharing it with me, so I could share it here with you.

Stay safe, and if you haven't yet, VOTE!

Friday, October 30, 2020

100 Years of Photos of Gay Men In Love - a photo book of male couples from 1850-1950

 This book, as written about on Hyperallergic, sounds so cool!


Were they all Gay? Were they really in romantic love, or were they just friends. Some photos it's hard to tell. Others, it's pretty clear...


Photograph, 1910, 113 x 69 mm, provenance: US
Note: “Rocky Nook Labor Day 1910” (image courtesy of the Nini-Treadwell Collection © “Loving” by 5 Continents Editions)

In their article about "Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s–1950s," Hrag Vartanian writes, "Flipping through the book, it wasn’t that I felt that I learned a great deal about being LGBTQ, but what gave me comfort was the feeling that we’re not going anywhere. Seeing ourselves in the past is as much about being certain of our present and, dare I say, our future." and I think that's so true. Knowing our Queer past emboldens us to claim our place today, and lets us imagine a future that can be amazing!

I'm really excited to check this one out.

Have you seen it? Add your review of "Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s–1950s" in comments!

My thanks to Karol, my Dad, and the other folks who made sure I knew about this, so I could share it with you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

VOTE

We need Democrats to have majority control of the Senate, House of Representatives, and Presidency.

The hypocrisy of the Republicans, whose sole aim seems to be winning and holding power, goes against everything we all say we want our country to stand for: Liberty and Justice for All. Diversity. The American Dream.

When a Supreme Court opening happened during President Obama's time, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to even hold hearings to confirm Merrick Garland, saying it was an election YEAR - and they wanted the next president to decide. That election was 270 days away.

Now they've rammed through yet another super-conservative judge, who will push the court -- and our country further from justice. Further from fairness for every one of us - Queer people, women, Black people, Indigenous People, People of Color, the disabled, religious minorities - all the disenfranchised and under-represented people.

We must stand up to them.

We must vote.

We must bend the arc of history - the arc of NOW - back towards justice.

VOTE them out.

VOTE for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

VOTE for Democratic Congresspeople.

VOTE for Democratic Senators.

The Democrats aren't perfect, but we see what Republicans in power care about.

At the risk of giving him more spotlight, here's a recent quote from our current president

"They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again...”

They know they can't win fair, so they're not playing fair.

We need a landslide against Trump, to get him and his Republican enablers out of power.

VOTE like your life -- and the lives of those you care about -- is in the balance.

Because it is.

Final words of this post go to Joe Biden:

"The rushed and unprecedented confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, in the middle of an ongoing election, should be a stark reminder to every American that your vote matters..."

Monday, October 26, 2020

Join Me and the Contra Costa County Library Community for Indie Author Day on Nov 7, 2020 (it's virtual!)




Here's the summary of my presentation, which will be hosted by David Greene and the awesome folks at the Contra Costa County Library:

Your Voice Matters: Indie Publishing and You 

Indie Publishing and Print on Demand can be game changers for you, your book, and under-served readers hungry for works that speak to them. 

There’s lots to do to set yourself up for success: 

1) Target Your Audience 
2) Quality Wins the Day 
3) Get Your Book Vetted 
4) Join the Conversations Already Happening 
5) Know Your Timeline and Then Publish 
6) Target Your Audience (Now That You Have the Book!) 
7) Celebrate Each Milestone Repeat with your next book. And the next. 

As an author, Lee Wind published the crowd-funded young adult novel “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” celebrated by Publishers Weekly as an Indie Success Story and one of the top five independently published middle grade and young adult books of 2018. He has two books publishing from Indie Presses in 2021, the middle grade nonfiction “No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves” (Lerner) and the picture book “Red and Green and Blue and White” (Levine Querido.) As the director of marketing and programming for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Lee loves empowering indie publishers to have their voices heard. Learn more about Lee and his books at www.leewind.org Find out more about IBPA at www.ibpa-online.org

Find out more and register here.

Hope to see you (virtually) there!

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

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Dragon of Ynys - A Fairy Tale Novella with a Aromantic Asexual main character!



The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen

Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet, the local knight, makes his way to the dragon's cave and negotiates the item's return. It's annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.

But when the dragon hoards a person, that's a step too far. Sir Violet storms off to the mountainside to escort the baker home, only to find a more complex mystery—a quest that leads him far beyond the cave. Accompanied by the missing baker's wife and the dragon himself, the dutiful village knight embarks on his greatest adventure yet.

Quite wonderfully, author Minerva explains, “This is the fairy tale I wish I could have had as a child. Now I’ve written it for all of us.” And in addition to the Aromantic Asexual main character, there are lesbian and trans supporting characters. 

Add your review of “The Dragon of Ynys” in comments!

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,
Lee

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.
Lee 

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,

Lee

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.

Transcript:

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,

Lee

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,

Lee

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!