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,

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The July/August 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter

Click here or above to watch the July/August 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter.


Hi, Community! I'm Lee Wind, and this is the Summer of 2020. And everything continues to not go as planned. It's the end of July, so this is going to be the July/August newsletter, and I'm not going to do anything I planned to do, because I just read this article in the New York Times that I have to speak to. [Links below]

So it turns out there's this senate race in Georgia, and the Republican candidate took a photo of his Jewish, Democratic rival, and they enlarged the nose to make it, I guess the guy, seem more Jewish. And they ran it on Facebook. And they were caught at it. And they're being accused of this anti-semitic trope. And it's crazy that in 2020 we're still facing this kind of ridiculousness.

And this is to take nothing away from all the challenges of people of color and Black people in our country especially. But I have to speak to this. Because it's an insight for me into how much we internalize the hatred in our country and this sense of "other."

So when I was a kid, not only was I a closeted Gay kid, but I hated myself. I had so many things that I didn't like about myself. And I had this horrible mantra that I would repeat every day, hundreds of times a day: "I'm ugly. I'm stupid. I have a big nose."

This wasn't coming from a vacuum. This was coming from a culture that told me that being demonstrably Jewish in that way was a terrible thing. And while I don't think it was a conscious thing on my part, I focused on that. It was this focal point of my self-hate.

And when I graduated high school, the thing I asked my parents for was a nose job. So this nose, that I have, which I like, and is fine, is actually just a scaled-down version of my previous nose. And for years I was closeted about that, too. Like I didn't want anybody to know. Because I thought it made me seem super vain. And, I am a little vain.

But what's so crazy is that, fast-forward, I came out, and I started to love myself. And the nose job helped a little bit, it helped me break that cycle, that idea that "I'm ugly, I'm stupid, I have a big nose." Wait a minute, I don't have a big nose anymore. So maybe I'm not ugly. And maybe I'm not stupid. And I went to really good colleges, and I have a masters degree from Harvard, I'm not a dumb guy. But it took me so long to unlearn that self-hate and try to approach myself with a sense of self-love.

So fast-forward to meeting the man who is now my husband, and we were on our third date or something, and we're out at a restaurant, and this guy walks by, and Mark literally stops talking and stares, and he's like, "Wow. That guy's so handsome."

And I was like, "Okay, tell me more. Why do you think he's so handsome?"

And he was like, "Wow, it's just like, he has such a prominent nose!"

And I just started laughing. (laughs)

So it turns out my husband thinks that guys with really strong prominent noses is a super sexy, super cool thing. And I had done everything in my power to have a more 'normal' nose, a more 'normative' nose.

I love that story, because everything I thought would prevent me from being loved – being Gay, having a big nose – turned out wasn't true. I could have found love. My husband probably would have been happier if I had my original nose!

But I'm bringing it up because in our world... It's like those movies that start out, "In a world where..." Well, we're living in that world. We're living in a pandemic. We're living in a completely racist society where only now people are starting to realize that, "oh, well if I'm not Black, maybe I need to try to work to be anti-racist." Yes! Yes! We do. We all do.

In a world where anti-semitic ads, where politicians are enlarging noses of their Jewish competition to discredit them, to make people hate them. The statistics on anti-semitism, on anti-semitic acts of violence and hate, are actually higher than they've been in the last 40 years!

This is this pivot point, this inflection point in our world, in our culture. and I want the teens that are watching this, and the people that care for teens to know, we have to get to a place where we can embrace and celebrate the differences within ourselves and in others - because that's how - we stand up for each other – and that's how we shift the world.

So it's not a normal video newsletter, but these aren't normal times. There's a lot of cool things going on that I'm really excited about. I did a really cool podcast interview where we were talking about Jewish kid lit and LGBTQ kid lit. The SCBWI conference is coming up and I'm really excited about that, it's all virtual. There's a lot going on, and a lot of it's good.

But in the midst of everything, I needed to take this time, and just speak from the heart. Because I want kids today to have what I didn't have: Which is a sense of safety and security to be themselves, their authentic selves. And that is also what I wish for you.

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


The New York Times article, Georgia Senator Is Criticized for Ad Enlarging Jewish Opponent's Nose

The Anti-Defamation League’s Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2019 states that “In 2019, ADL tabulated 2,107 antisemitic incidents throughout the United States. This is a 12% increase from the 1,879 incidents recorded in 2018 and marks the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979.”

The Book of Life Podcast Where Heidi Rabinowitz and I Interview Each Other About Jewish Kidlit and LGBTQIA2+ Kidlit

The SCBWI Online Summer Spectacular conference information is here. I'll be leading SCBWI Team Blog coverage here.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Black Flamingo - A Novel in Verse About a Mixed-Race Gay Teen In London Who Discovers Drag

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he's navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican--but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough.

As he gets older, Michael's coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs--and the Black Flamingo is born.

This book won the Stonewall Book Award! Add your review of "The Black Flamingo" in comments.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Mx. Sam Smith Speaks About Coming Out As Nonbinary with ALOK in OUT Magazine

One of the amazing photos from the article.

The Out100 Evolution of the Year: Mx. Sam Smith article was really great, and fascinating, and made me want to cheer on Sam even more!

Note: S is for Sam, and A is for ALOK. Here's a brief highlight:

S: In changing my pronouns, I felt incredible freedom. It’s like a brick was lifted off my chest, and with that freedom comes another kind of pain. Feeling this free in our skin is answered with abuse. And that’s really hard. For the last year and a half*, I’ve thought about changing my pronouns. I’ve always hid behind my “he, him” pronouns because I was too scared. I thought living a life playing pretend would be less painful than being authentic. But I’d rather be myself, even if it means being abused for it. I’d rather get all this shit for being myself than lie to myself. That’s not a way to live.

A: There’s something here about what it means to be an artist: If you don’t access this truth, then you’re not able to make creative work for yourself. It becomes for other people.

S: I don’t think you can sing, write music, or make art without having an open heart. There was something blocking me when I was writing my last album because I felt like I was playing this “Sam Smith” character that I created. I was depressed because I was this person in suits who other people wanted me to be. I can wear a suit now, actually, and can feel completely different in the suit, but at the time I felt, I’ve got to be butch for other people. I feel my music suffered. I think people can hear that. As soon as I came out with “Promises” and “Dancing With a Stranger,” I started playing. I started having fun. I started being myself. My art has become truer and more honest after coming to peace with being nonbinary.

Read the full, inspiring interview here.

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

*The article was published in November 2019 - and I'm happy to share it with you now!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Drama Queens in the House - 16 Year Old Jessie Discovers Her Father's Cheating on Her Mother with Another Guy

Drama Queens in the House by Julie Williams

Sixteen-year-old Jessie Jasper Lewis doesn't remember a time in her life when she wasn't surrounded by method actors, bright spotlights, and feather boas. Her parents started the Jumble Players Theater together, and theater is the glue that holds her crazy family together. But when she discovers that her father's cheating on her mother with a man, Jessie feels like her world is toppling over. And on top of everything else, she has to deal with a delusional aunt who is predicting the end of the world. Jessie certainly doesn't feel ready to be center stage in the production that is her family. But where does she belong in all of this chaos?

Add your review of "Drama Queens in the House" in comments!

Monday, July 20, 2020

SCBWI's Statement in Support of Trans Members, Youth, and Adults

This made me so proud to be a member of the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators:

From SCBWI's Instagram Feed

“ SCBWI strives to provide a safe space for all creators of content for children. Today, we specifically choose to unequivocally acknowledge that Trans youth, their families and Trans creators are an important part of our organization whose stories must be told. We choose to support your truth. As a nonprofit that supports creative people everywhere, we value the contributions that Trans people have added to the story of our human family everywhere around the world. Your stories matter. You matter to us. As always, SCBWI welcomes you. #TransLivesMatter ”

July 9, 2020, as posted to SCBWI's social media, as well as the SCBWI website here.

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

Friday, July 17, 2020

Birthday - Two Teen Best Friends Share a Birthday - One's Trans, The Other Doesn't Know, and They're Falling In Love

Birthday by Meredith Russo

The stars align when two very different kids, Morgan and Eric, are born in the same hospital on the same day, setting into motion a series of events that’ll shape who they are and who they’re destined to become. They’re best friends who will come together, drift apart, kiss, fall in love, and ultimately, discover how much fate has in store for them.

What's queer about it? Morgan is Trans.

Add your review of "Birthday" in comments!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Whispers - A Middle Grade Boy Crushes on Another Boy While His Mom Has Disappeared. He Hopes The Secret Fairy World of "The Whispers" Can Fix it All

The Whispers by Greg Howard

Eleven-year-old Riley believes in the Whispers, magical wood creatures that will grant you wishes if you leave them tributes. Riley has a lot of wishes. He wishes bullies at school would stop picking on him. He wishes Dylan, his 8th grade crush, liked him, and Riley wishes he would stop wetting the bed. But most of all, Riley wishes for his mom to come back home. She disappeared a few months ago and Riley is determined to find her. So he goes on a camping trip with his friend Gary to look for the Whispers and ask them to bring his mom back home. But Riley doesn't realize the trip will shake the foundation of everything that he believes in for forever.

Add your review of "The Whispers" in comments!

Monday, July 13, 2020

#KidLitForMasks - Grab Something Good To Read, and If You're Out in Public, Wear a Mask - #MasksSaveLives

That's me, smiling behind my facemask, posing with my own "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" YA novel. 
You can learn more about the #KidLitForMasks movement here.

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

Friday, July 10, 2020

You Should See Me In A Crown - Liz Needs The Scholarship that Comes with Being Prom Royalty, But She Might be Falling for Her Biggest Competition

You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it's okay -- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz's plans come crashing down . . . until she's reminded of her school's scholarship for prom king and queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she's willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She's smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

Add your review of "You Should See Me In a Crown" in comments!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

New Affiliate Relationship with - A great way to buy LGBTQ kid and teen books online AND support Indie Bookstores AND support Lee and this blog

I'm really excited about starting as an affiliate with I love that they're a B-corporation, meaning they see success as a business as more than just making money - they're also looking at the impact they have on society!

And they, like me, believe indie bookstores are community hubs that should be supported.

So, as an alternative to the dominant online marketplace, Bookshop has launched in just the past few months with a model that supports indie bookstores in two ways. The first, individual bookstores can make 30% of the cover price if someone buys from their online store. And the second, an affiliate program where 10% of the purchase goes into a pool of money that is then distributed by shares to all indie bookstores (even the ones who don't have stores on Bookshop!) For those affiliate sales, there's also 10% that goes to the affiliate (in this case, to me to help run this blog), and 10% to bookshop to help them keep it all running.

It's an exciting new model, and already, since their launch earlier this year, they've raised over $4.8 million for indie bookstores here in the U.S.!

Official disclosure: As of July 5, 2020, if you click on a book here on this blog and it takes you to, there is an affiliate relationship in place where 10% of that book order will come back to me, Lee Wind. I hope that works for you. And if it doesn't, no worries. I hope you buy your books somewhere that feels good to you. Thanks!

Here's the link for MY book: Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill,

And here's what this blog's store page looks like, with lists of LGBTQ Teen Books and LGBTQ Middle Grade Books that were featured on this blog in 2020.

You can also search for books on here:

What a cool way for online book shopping to help keep indie bookstores strong community centers!

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

Monday, July 6, 2020

I'll Be Part of UCLA Extension's Online YA Symposium: The Young And The Reckless: Writing For Teens - August 29 - September 5, 2020

I'm really honored to be one of "today’s most exciting YA writers" in this program!

I'll be doing two breakout sessions with my friend Karol Ruth Silverstein, one "Checking Privilege at the Door," and the other "Creating Complex Characters."

I'll also be part of a panel discussion with Sherri L. Smith, Aminah Mae Safi, and Cindy Lin:

From Desire to Draft: Writing Your First Novel
Once you have your great idea, you need to put words on paper to render the world, characters, and events you’ve imagined. How do you go from an idea to a story? What different techniques can you use to bring your story to life? Writers on this panel will discuss how they completed their first draft, how they approached revision, and how they knew they were ready to send the book out to agents and editors.

You can find all the details and register here.

Thanks for letting me share,

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

Friday, July 3, 2020

Listen to this Book of Life Podcast Where Heidi Rabinowitz and I Interview Each Other About Jewish Kidlit and LGBTQIA2+ Kidlit

I loved this discussion, and was so honored to partner with Heidi as part of the Through the Window diversity exchange.

Here's the description of that program:

Through the Window is a diversity exchange created by the Association of Jewish Libraries to fight antisemitism and other forms of bias through education and allyship. Jewish organizations swap content with other marginalized communities to give both groups a look through the window at our common humanity.

I'm also really delighted that Heidi created an opportunity for us to "use our privilege constructively to boost Black voices," and we've both done so with some recommendations of powerful works by Black creators, which starts the episode off.

Listen to the podcast here, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Camp - A Queer Teen Hides His True Self To Get The Guy... But is it worth it if he loses himself in the process?

Camp by L.C. Rosen

Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim — who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.

This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ — buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.

But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself: How much is he willing to change for love? And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

Add your review of "Camp" in comments!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Join me Tuesday June 30 for a FREE online presentation: "Empowering Kids and Teens with LGBTQ History (Okay...Adults, too!)"

The lovely people at the Broward County Library system in Florida are hosting me online tomorrow, Tuesday June 30 from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific to present this inspiring (and yes, empowering) discussion.

The program flyer

Here's the description:

The anniversary of the Stonewall Riots may have just hit 51 years, but LGBTQ history did not start in 1969. Join author and educator Lee Wind and discover Queer lives that were hidden and loves that were secret, going back hundreds, even thousands, of years and from all over the world. Unlock the secret histories of Abraham Lincoln, Sappho, the Pharaoh Hatshepsut, and so many more...

Together with Wind, you will crack the false facade of history as it has been taught and let the rainbow light of true history—the stories of men who loved men, women who loved women, and people who lived outside gender boundaries—shine through.

Click here to register! Update: here's that link again:

Hope to see you virtually!

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

Friday, June 26, 2020

Jason Reynolds, Ibram Kendi in Conversation from SLJ Day of Dialog 2020

This keynote video, Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi, co-authors of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, kicking off SLJ's Day of Dialog on May 27, 2020, is well-worth watching.

So much was important in their discussion, including:

The invention of racism

Racism as a virus and Anti-racism as a vaccine.

Racism and Anti-racism as states of being.

"There's something about the documenting of a thing that makes it real. Even if it's not true." —Jason Reynolds

and the erasure of the history of Black women.

There's even a discussion of how Jason took his own style, "the irreverence of a teenager," to re-mix Dr. Kendi's academic book into a book for teens.

Watch it here.

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

P.S. - Members of the Trans community are protesting Library Journal for awarding the Seattle Public Library (SPL) as the 2020 Gale/LJ Library of the Year, when that library had allowed the Women’s Liberation Front, an anti-trans group, to rent a meeting room for an event in February. You can read LJ's statements here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Everyone Should Read This: ”Policing Is Doing What It Was Meant to Do. That’s the Problem. Blaming racist violence on ‘bad apples’ misses the point.”

From the June 21, 2020 edition of the New York Times, this piece by philosophers Todd May and George Yancy was so powerful.

“That is the question we should be asking of the police. Not why do they regularly fail to perform their duties correctly and thus need reform, but rather, what duties are they succeeding at?

Once we ask that question, the answer is entirely clear. They succeed in keeping people in their place. They succeed in keeping middle-class and especially upper-class white people safe, so long as they don’t get out of line. They succeed in keeping people of color in their place so that they don’t challenge the social order that privileges middle- and upper-class white people. And, as we have recently witnessed in many violent police responses at protests, they succeed in suppressing those who would question the social order.

If we look at individual police officers divorced from the structure in which they operate — if we simply look for the ‘bad apples’— we fail to see the role of the police as a whole. Whether individual police officers are racist is not the fundamental issue. The fundamental issue is whether the police — the institution of policing as it exists in the United States — is racist. And once we look at this clearly, we understand that the answer must be yes.”


And as Todd and George conclude:

“To truly confront problems of racist violence in our society, let’s not once again begin with the question of how to reform the police. Let’s instead start with the question of how to build healthy and safe communities of mutual respect and see which institutions we need to reach that goal. If anything that is to be called policing emerges from that inquiry, it should be at its end rather than assumed at the outset.”

Read the full opinion piece here.

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

Monday, June 22, 2020

Teens Rock Their Power on TikTok to Impact US Politics - Even If They're Not Old Enough To Vote

So the current occupant of the White House held a political rally for his reelection. In Tulsa (injury), originally scheduled for June 19, 2020, or Juneteenth (adding insult). They pushed it one day back, and were crowing about the biggest reservation requests... But the crowds didn't show.

So what happened to the giant crowds the President and his team predicted?

I like how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put it:

"Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID
Shout out to Zoomers. Y'all make me so proud." —Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

You can read the full report on it in the New York Times here, under the headline "TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally":

And from the New York Times newsletter, here's a screen shot of empty seats at that Trump rally.

It's a great reminder that voting isn't the only way to have your voice heard, no matter your age.

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

Friday, June 19, 2020

What is YOUR Sphere of Influence? - Danielle Coke Illustrates It For Us

Love this post by Ohhappydani on Instagram:

A close up of the image Danielle created.

Danielle wrote, "This is not at ALL an exhaustive list, but hopefully it serves as a simplified overview and starter guide for those of you who are ready to move from performative to productive action!"

It's brilliant, and helpful.

Thanks, Danielle.

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

p.s. Giant thanks to my friend Tracy who shared this with me, so I could share it with you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

More than 30,000 March and Protest in Los Angeles for ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER

The ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER protest and march in Los Angeles 
(Hollywood and West Hollywood) on June 14, 2020. 
Image is a screen shot from this news report.
"We are here to amplify Black Queer voices and come together in solidarity."

That's a quote from the All Black Lives Matter LA website

30,000 plus strong. In my town. Something good to share.
And I really love how the street mural has the word ALL
in the Transgender Flag colors and the word MATTER
in the rainbow flag colors.
The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Sunday, June 14, 2020

The June 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter

For me, being an ally to the Black community right now means 7 things...

This video was recorded around 5:30pm Pacific on Friday June 12, 2020. Just hours later, Rayshard Brooks was murdered by a police officer in Atlanta. Enough! BLACK LIVES MATTER.

While there's no need for a transcript this time, there are a bunch of links to share:

There's lots of media coverage of the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, but not every article helps us know who they were as people. Look for those.

One story that didn't get as much attention was the police murder of Tony McDade. This was largely because Tony was Trans. You can read more about Tony in this Advocate article:

Watch Trevor Noah speak about our society's broken contract with Black people: The quote I cite is from 11:09.

Watch Kimberly Latrice Jones spell out the injustice done to Black Americans so eloquently here: The quote I cite is from 3:28.

Watch Jacqueline Woodson speak about being Anti-Racist (and some of the microaggressions she's faced) in the Kid Lit Rally 4 Black Lives: The quote I cite is from 24:48.

Watch this conversation with President Obama: Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence: The President Obama quote I cite is from 1:09:07.

Learn more about the diversity pride flag with the added brown and black stripes to recognize, celebrate, and advocate for LGBTQ people of color here:

Check out this "Anguish and Action" page at with "resources to create a more just and equitable world":

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

Friday, June 12, 2020

Wisdom from Bayard Rustin, a Black Gay Hero of the Civil Rights Movement

Most people don't know about Bayard Rustin, the Black Gay man who taught Martin Luther King, Jr. the tactics of nonviolent protest and organized the famous 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King gave his amazing "I Have a Dream" speech.

Bayard Rustin at a 1963 news briefing on the Civil Rights March on Washington in the Statler Hotel. Public Domain.

In 1987, Bayard wrote,

"History demonstrates that no group is ultimately safe from prejudice, bigotry, and harassment so long as any group is subject to special negative treatment."

A year earlier, when he was asked if he had any advice for other Black Gay activists who maybe hoped to follow in his footsteps, Bayard said:

"I think the most important thing I have to say is that they should try to build coalitions of people for the elimination of all injustice. Because 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. And we will win the rights for gays, or blacks, or Hispanics, or women within the context of whether we are fighting for all."
Bayard inspires me, and I hope you as well.

We must stand up, each of us as best we can, for all of us. #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackTransLivesMatter

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Kimberly Latrice Jones Spells Out the Injustice Done to Black Americans So Eloquently.


From Instagram, on Trevor Noah's feed.  This impassioned video by Kimberly Latrice Jones is less than 7 minutes long.

We need to listen.

And then do more to help Black and Brown people in our communities and our country.

The emotion. The monopoly metaphor.

And the recognition that I need to get better educated about Tulsa and Rosewood, the places where Kimberly speaks of the Black community building economic wealth only to have it burned down and taken away.

There's so much more for all of us who have privilege to do.

Start right now by listening.

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

Monday, June 8, 2020

KidLit Rally 4 Black Lives - So Important - Watch The Recording!

In two parts, the first for kids, and the second for adults, this online KidLit Rally 4 Black Lives is a must-watch.

A screen shot showing Jacqueline Woodson (right) speaking to young viewers at about 25 minutes into the recording. (One of many sign language interpreters who helped make the even more accessible is shown at left.)

The Kid-focused rally starts at about 10 minutes in, and the adult part starts about 1:13:00 in.

The event features Jacqueline Woodson, Kwame Alexander, Jason Reynolds, and so many more important voices...

Raul the Third shares his drawing of George Floyd with viewers at 1:29

Go watch it now.

And here's a link to the organizing The Brown Bookshelf's KidLit Rally 4 Black Lives: Anti-Racist Resources for Children, Families, and Educators.

I'm so glad I watched this - and recommend you watch it as well.

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

Friday, June 5, 2020

A Reminder of What Leadership Looks Like and Feels Like: Barack Obama's article: "How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change"

If you haven't yet read this piece,
How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change
by our last President on Medium yet, do so now.

The article includes these highlights:
“So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”
“And if you’re interested in taking concrete action, we’ve also created a dedicated site at the Obama Foundation to aggregate and direct you to useful resources and organizations who’ve been fighting the good fight at the local and national levels for years.”

“...watching the heightened activism of young people in recent weeks, of every race and every station, makes me hopeful. If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals.”

Inspiring, hopeful, and reminding us that people in positions of power can both care and help direct our collective energy toward creating lasting change and impact: Oh, hey! That's called leadership.

Thank you, Barack!

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

138 LGBTQ Organizations "join together again to say #BlackLivesMatter and commit ourselves to the action those words require."

This was posted on Friday May 29, 2020 on the Equality Florida website:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Those words, written over 30 years ago by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, remind us that indifference can never bridge the divide of hate. And, today, they should serve as a call to action to all of us, and to the Movement for LGBTQ equality.

This spring has been a stark and stinging reminder that racism, and its strategic objective, white supremacy, is as defining a characteristic of the American experience as those ideals upon which we claim to hold our democracy — justice, equality, liberty.

We listened to the haunting pleas of George Floyd for the most basic of human needs — simply, breath — as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled with cruel indifference on his neck.

We felt the pain of Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend as he called 9-1-1 after plainclothes Louisville police kicked down the door of their home and shot her eight times as she slept in her bed.

We watched the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery by white vigilantes in Brunswick, GA, aware that they evaded the consequence of their actions until the video surfaced and sparked national outrage.

We saw the weaponizing of race by a white woman who pantomimed fear in calling the police on Christian Cooper, a Black gay man bird-watching in Central Park.

We have heard and read about the killings of transgender people -- Black transgender women in particular — with such regularity, it is no exaggeration to describe it as an epidemic of violence. This year alone, we have lost at least 12 members of our community: Dustin Parker, Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Yampi Méndez Arocho, Monika Diamond, Lexi, Johanna Metzger, Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Layla Pelaez Sánchez, Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Nina Pop, Helle Jae O’Regan, and Tony McDade.

All of these incidents are stark reminders of why we must speak out when hate, violence, and systemic racism claim — too often with impunity — Black Lives.

The LGBTQ Movement’s work has earned significant victories in expanding the civil rights of LGBTQ people. But what good are civil rights without the freedom to enjoy them?

Many of our organizations have made progress in adopting intersectionality as a core value and have committed to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. But this moment requires that we go further — that we make explicit commitments to embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as integral to the objective of full equality for LGBTQ people.

We, the undersigned, recognize we cannot remain neutral, nor will awareness substitute for action. The LGBTQ community knows about the work of resisting police brutality and violence. We celebrate June as Pride Month, because it commemorates, in part, our resisting police harassment and brutality at Stonewall in New York City, and earlier in California, when such violence was common and expected. We remember it as a breakthrough moment when we refused to accept humiliation and fear as the price of living fully, freely, and authentically.

We understand what it means to rise up and push back against a culture that tells us we are less than, that our lives don't matter. Today, we join together again to say #BlackLivesMatter and commit ourselves to the action those words require.

Affirmations, Dave Garcia, Executive Director
AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Aisha N. Davis, Director of Policy
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director
Arkansas Transgender Equity Collaborative, Tonya Estell, Board of Directors
A Wider Bridge, Alan Schwartz, CEO & Board Chair
BAGLY, Inc. (Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth), Grace Sterling Stowell, Executive Director
Basic Rights Oregon, Nancy Haque, Executive Director
Bi Women Quarterly, Robyn Ochs, Editor
Campaign for Southern Equality, Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director
Campus Pride, Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director
Capital Pride Alliance, Ryan Bos, Executive Director
Cathedral Of Hope UCC, Rev. Dr. Neil G Thomas, Senior Pastor
Center on Halsted, Modesto Valle, CEO
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Denise Spivak, CEO
Community Education Group, A.Toni Young, Executive Director
Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi
Curve Magazine, Merryn Johns, Editor-in-Chief
Diocese of Southern Ohio, Rev deniray mueller, Legislative Liaison
Equality Arizona, Michael Soto, Executive Director
Equality California, Rick Chavez Zbur, Executive Director
Equality Delaware, Mark Purpura and Lisa Goodman, Board Chairs
Equality Federation, Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director
Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, Executive Director
Equality Illinois, Brian Johnson, CEO
EqualityMaine, Matt Moonen, Executive Director
Equality Nevada, Chris Davin, President
Equality New Mexico, Adrian N. Carver, Executive Director
Equality New York, Amanda Babine, Executive Director
Equality North Carolina, Kendra R Johnson, Executive Director
Equality Ohio, Alana Jochum, Executive Director
Equality Texas, Ricardo Martinez, CEO
Equality Virginia, Vee Lamneck, Executive Director
Fair Wisconsin, Megin McDonell, Executive Director
Fairness Campaign, Tamara Russell, Board Member
Family Equality, Denise Brogan-Kator, Chief Policy Officer
FORGE, Inc., Loree Cook-Daniels, Policy and Program Director
Freedom for All Americans, Kasey Suffredini, CEO & National Campaign Director
Freedom Oklahoma, Allie Shinn, Executive Director
FreeState Justice, Mark Procopio, Executive Director
GAAMC, Gordon Sauer, President
Garden State Equality, Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director
Gay City: Seattle's LGBTQ Center, Fred Swanson, Executive Director
Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), Kelsey Louie, CEO
Gender Rights Maryland, Sharon Brackett, Board Chair
Gender Spectrum, Joel Baum, Senior Director
Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA Network), Geoffrey Winder & Ginna Brelsford, Co-Executive Directors
Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, Executive Director
GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO
GLBT Alliance of Santa Cruz, Gloria Nieto, Board Member
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Janson Wu, Executive Director
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, Hector Vargas, Executive Director
GLSEN, Eliza Byard, Executive Director
GLSEN Southern Nevada, Trevor Harder, Co- Chair
GSAFE, Brian Juchems, Co-Director
Henderson Equality Center, Chris Davin, Executive Director
Hetrick-Martin Institute, Thomas Krever, CEO
Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey, Lillian Rivera, Executive Director
Hudson Pride Center, Elizabeth Schedl, Chief Operations Officer
Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, President
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, Kathy Ahearn-O'Brien, Executive Director
Immigration Equality, Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director
Ingersoll Gender Center, Karter Booher, Executive Director
It Gets Better Project, Brian Wenke, Executive Director
Lambda Legal, Kevin Jennings, CEO
Lesbians of Color Symposium Collective, Inc., Shaunya Thomas, Co - Founder / President
LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party, Tiffany Woods and Lester Aponte, Co-Chairs
LGBT Community Center of the Desert, Mike Thompson, CEO
LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, Phyllis Seven Harris, Executive Director
LGBT Life Center, Stacie Walls, CEO
LGBTQ Center OC, Peg Corley, Executive Director
LGBTQ Victory Fund & LGBTQ Victory Institute, Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO
Los Angeles LGBT Center, Lorri L. Jean, CEO
Louisiana Trans Advocates, Peyton Rose Michelle, Director of Operations
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Tre'Andre Valentine, Executive Director
MassEquality, Tanya V. Neslusan, Executive Director
Matthew Shepard Foundation, Jason Marsden, Executive Vice President
Movement Advancement Project, Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director
National Black Justice Coalition, David Johns, Executive Director
National Center for Lesbian Rights, Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director
National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, Executive Director
National Equality Action Team (NEAT), Brian Silva, Founder & Executive Director
National LGBT Bar Association and Foundation, D'Arcy Kemnitz, Executive Director
National LGBTQ Task Force, Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Glenn D. Magpantay, Executive Director
New York City Anti-Violence Project, Beverly Tillery, Executive Director
NMAC, Paul Kawata, Executive Director
North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, Barry Nelson, Organizer
North Jersey Pride, C.J. Prince, Executive Director
Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, Joe Hawkins, CEO
OCTOPUS LLC (Organizing Communities Transgender Outreach Promoting United Support), Kimberly Sue Griffiths, Executive Director
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Erin Uritus, CEO
One Colorado, Daniel Ramos, Executive Director
One Iowa, Courtney Reyes, Executive Director
One Orlando Alliance, Jennifer Foster, Executive Director
Our Family Coalition, Sam Ames, Interim Executive Director
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Erin Uritus, CEO
OutFront Minnesota, Monica Meyer, Executive Director
OutNebraska, Abbi Swatsworth, Executive Director
Pacific Center for Human Growth, Michelle Gonzalez, Executive Director
Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Rand Hoch, President and Founder
PFLAG National, Brian K. Bond, Executive Director
Point Foundation, Jorge Valencia, Executive Director & CEO
PRC, Brett Andrews, CEO
Pride at Work, Jerame Davis, Executive Director
PROMO, Stephen Eisele, Executive Director
Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County, Kiku Johnson, Executive Director
Reformed Catholic Church, Chris Carpenter, Presiding Bishop
Resource Center, Cece Cox, CEO
Sacramento LGBT Community Center, David Heitstuman, CEO
San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Joe Hollendoner, CEO
San Francisco Community Health Center, Lance Toma, CEO
SF LGBT Center, Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director
SAGE, Michael Adams, CEO
SAGE Jersey City , Gordon Sauer, Affiliate Leader
San Diego LGBT Community Center, Cara Dessert, CEO
Sero Project, Sean Strub, Executive Director
Silver State Equality, André C. Wade, State Director
Stonewall Columbus, Gerry Rodriguez, President of the Board of Trustees
Stonewall Democratic Club, Ryan Basham Vice President
Tennessee Equality Project, Chris Sanders, Executive Director
The Diversity Center, Sharon E Papo, Executive Director
The Gala Pride and Diversity Center, Michelle Call, Executive Director
The Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, Glennda Testone, Executive Director
The LGBTQ Center, Long Beach, Porter Gilberg, Executive Director
The LGBTQ Center, NYC, Reg Calcagno, Senior Director of Government Affairs
The Pride Center of Maryland, Mimi Demissew, Executive Director
The Pride Network, Jacob Rudolph, Executive Director
The Source LGBT+ Center, Brian Poth, Executive Director
The Trevor Project, Amit Paley, CEO
Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), Emmett Schelling, Executive Director
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), Andy Marra, Executive Director
TransOhio, James Knapp, Chair & Executive Director
True Colors United, Gregory Lewis, Executive Director & CEO
Truth Wins Out, Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance (UGLA), Carl Matthes, President
Waves Ahead & SAGE PR, Wilfred Labiosa, Executive Director
Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Ricci Levy, President & CEO
Wyoming Equality, Sara Burlingame, Executive Director


I'm a guy with a blog for kids and teens, one book out, and a few more on the way. I'm not an organization. But I'm adding my name to this call for justice and action. #BlackLivesMatter, and I commit myself to the action those words require.

I hope you'll add your name and commitment, too.

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

Monday, June 1, 2020

Trevor Noah on our Society's Broken Contract with Black People

This 18 minute video by Trevor Noah, speaking from his heart about the events of the last week, George Floyd's murder, Amy Cooper's villainy, the disproportional toll of Coronavirus on Black communities, and the protests that have risen up around the country (and the world), is so important.

"Try to image how it must feel for Black Americans when they watch themselves being looted every single day. Because that's what's fundamentally happening in America. Police in America are looting Black bodies." —Trevor Noah

Watch the full video here.

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

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Parker Inheritance - A Middle Grade Mystery (with an LGBTQ main kid character)

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.

So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?

Add your review of "The Parker Inheritance" in comments!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs - Middle Grade about Loss, and Family, and Love... and "the world's best bad dog"

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor

It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death.

Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming—and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival.

Wasn’t one rescue enough?

Lydia is not a dog person—and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past.

Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult—and she does not mean to keep secrets—but there are things she’s not telling...

Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important...

And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger...

And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past—but at what cost?

Add your review of "A Home for Goddesses and Dogs" in comments!

PS - thanks to the unknown commenter on this blog's The Middle Grade Bookshelf post for the heads-up on this one!

Monday, May 25, 2020

My Latest TikTok Video Celebrates Christine Jorgensen!

Christine Jorgensen became world famous in 1952 for transitioning her body to match who she knew herself to be.

@leewind Christine Jorgensen became world famous in 1952 for transitioning her body to match who she knew herself to be. ##transpride ##gaypride ##lgbtq
♬ This Is Me - Alan Walker Relift (From "The Greatest Showman") - Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble

Knowing our Queer history is so empowering! (And I love this song from The Greatest Showman soundtrack.)

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

Friday, May 22, 2020

True Letters from a Fictional Life - Soccer, A Sort-Of Girlfriend, A Secret Crush, And Letters That Are The Only Place James Gets To Be Himself

True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student, and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world—letters he never intends to send—he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s his friend, a boy, who lingers in his thoughts.

James’s secret letters are his safe space—but his truth can’t stay hidden for long. Will he come clean to his parents, his teammates, and himself, or is he destined to live a life of fiction?

Add your review of "True Letters from a Fictional Life" in comments!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Fascinators - Teenage Sam Deals With Magic and Being Gay In His Small, Conservative Town

The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

Living in a small town where magic is frowned upon, Sam needs his friends James and Delia—and their time together in their school's magic club—to see him through to graduation.

But as soon as senior year starts, little cracks in their group begin to show. Sam may or may not be in love with James. Delia is growing more frustrated with their amateur magic club. And James reveals that he got mixed up with some sketchy magickers over the summer, putting a target on all their backs.

With so many fault lines threatening to derail his hopes for the year, Sam is forced to face the fact that the very love of magic that brought his group together is now tearing them apart—and there are some problems that no amount of magic can fix.

Check out this Q&A with the Andrew in Publishers Weekly, where he speaks about what it was like to bring magic to a small town like the one he grew up in, and imagining, "what it would have looked like if a person was out, but still dealing with the pressures of a conservative, religious town."

Add your review of "The Fascinators" in comments!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Gay Tribal Elder with Dr. Donald Kilhefner - a New Podcast About Intergenerational Queer Community

Don Kilhefner is a mentor and elder in my life, and he's launched a new podcast that deserves the spotlight:

Gay Tribal Elder

This blog is really all about Youth (books, culture, politics, all with LGBTQ kids and teens in mind) - but, as Don so rightly understands and shares, we need Adults to be there for Youth. And Elders to be there for Adults and Youth. And, in a way I'm still learning about, we need to know our Ancestors are there for us at every stage of our lives. Until, I suppose, we become ancestors, too.

It's heady, and important, and Don is the perfect intergenerational guide for the journey. I hope you'll listen, and share, and continue to grow along with me.

You can listen to the first episode here.

And if you'd like to be added to Don's newsletter, you can email him at donkilhefner (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

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