Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Man Up - A High School Senior on the Baseball Team is Outed as Gay and Has To, Well, "Man Up"

Man Up by Kim Oclon

With David’s final baseball season starting and college plans still up on the air, he begins senior year on edge. But when his baseball coach wants to know if David is gay, he is left speechless. No one was supposed to notice the hallway glances at Tyler, a star on the boys track team, or their rides home together. In a school where his friends are turning their backs on him, he finds a new set of allies, that he didn’t know roamed the high school halls. Although he was forced out of the closet before he thought he was ready, what happens next is up to him. David can either cower in the corner or man up.

Bonus points to the author for, as a high school teacher, founding her school's first Gay-Straight Alliance. 

Add your review of "Man Up" in comments!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Mohandas Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach were Soul Mates - 4 Keys to Unlock Their Hidden History in this week's TikTok!

Finding out that Mahatma Gandhi was in love with another man - a German Jewish architect named Hermann Kallenbach - rocked my world...

@leewind Mohandas Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach were soul mates! ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queer ##historybuff ##gaypride ##love ##lgbtq 4 keys
♬ Bloom - Troye Sivan

Four Keys...

Soul Mates

And it's not just me, or the Pulitzer-prize winning biographer Joseph Lelyveld who said it... Gandhi himself said it!

One of the letters Mohandas wrote Hermann in 1914 included this line,
"We can therefore but go forward as far forward as our legs will carry us and no farther and still be together, one soul and two bodies."

Upper House and Lower House

These were nicknames Mohandas and Hermann used in their letters to each other. Mohandas was "Upper House" and Hermann was "Lower House."

The love contract

Gandhi had trained in England as a lawyer, and on July 29, 1911 he wrote up a contract between him and Hermann, pledging

"...more love and yet more love between the two houses ~ such love as, they hope, the world has not seen."

Hermann signed the contract.

More than a footnote in history. 

If Gandhi was in love with another guy, a Jewish guy at that, does it help us understand his giant breakthrough better? That Mohandas Gandhi was the one who wrote in 1911 in his "Triumph of Satyagraha",
"Let people's religions be different... You worship facing one way and I worship facing the other. Why should I become your enemy for that reason? We all belong to the human race; we all wear the same skin; we hail from the same land."

This was a giant step forward in humanity's compassion towards others with different religious beliefs. Could it be more than co-incidental that Mohandas loved Hermann while he had this insight? I think so.

There's so much of our LGBTQ heritage to discover! Queer history really is everywhere.

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

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Confusion of Laurel Graham - A Teen Girl Deals With a Mystery Bird, a Beloved Grandmother in a Coma, a Contest... And another Teen Girl in Her Way (Who She Might Be Falling For).

The Confusion of Laurel Graham by Adrienne Kisner

Seventeen-year-old Laurel Graham has a singular, all-consuming ambition in this life: become the most renowned nature photographer and birder in the world. The first step to birding domination is to win the junior nature photographer contest run by prominent Fauna magazine. Winning runs in her blood—her beloved activist and nature-loving grandmother placed when she was a girl.

One day Gran drags Laurel out on a birding expedition where the pair hear a mysterious call that even Gran can’t identify. The pair vow to find out what it is together, but soon after, Gran is involved in a horrible car accident.

Now that Gran is in a coma, so much of Laurel's world is rocked. Her gran's house is being sold, developers are coming in to destroy the nature sanctuary she treasures, and she still can't seem to identify the mystery bird.

Laurel’s confusion isn’t just a group of warblers—it’s about what means the most to her, and what she’s willing to do to fight to save it. Maybe--just maybe-if she can find the mystery bird, it will save her gran, the conservatory land, and herself.

What's queer about it? As explained on the ALA Rainbow list website, "standing in her way is the girl she suspects sabotaged her earlier photos – and Laurel just might be falling for her."

Add your review of "The Confusion of Laurel Graham" in comments!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Alien: Echo - A YA Science Fiction/Horror novel with a teen lesbian romance in the "Alien" Universe

Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

Olivia and her twin sister Viola have been dragged around the universe for as long as they can remember. Their parents, both xenobiologists, are always in high demand for their research into obscure alien biology.

Just settled on a new colony world, they discover an alien threat unlike anything they’ve ever seen. And suddenly the sisters’ world is ripped apart.

On the run from terrifying aliens, Olivia’s knowledge of xenobiology and determination to protect her sister are her only weapons as the colony collapses into chaos. But then a shocking family secret bursts open—one that’s as horrifying to Olivia as the aliens surrounding them.

The creatures infiltrate the rich wildlife on this untouched colony world—and quickly start adapting. Olivia’s going to have to adapt, too, if she’s going to survive...

What's queer about it? As explained on the ALA's Rainbow Book List website, the alien invasion happens just when "Olivia hosts a party for her sort-of girlfriend, Kora."

Add your review of "Alien: Echo" in comments!

Monday, April 20, 2020

The April 2020 Lee Wind Video Newsletter - Our World Is So Different Than Just a Month Ago, and So Is This Shout Out to The Power of Art

Hello, Community!

I hope you and yours are well and safe.

Here's this month's video newsletter -- I also hope it brings some light to you.

Watch by clicking above or using this link here:

Here's the transcript:

Hi Community, I'm Lee Wind. It's April 2020, and what a different world we're in than just a month ago. This has been a really dark and challenging time, and art – in the midst of that – I think can bring us a lot of light. And remind us of joy, and gratitude. I want to share with you a piece of art that's come into my life that's brought me a lot of joy, and I hope it brings some joy to you, too.

This is inspired by my novel, "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill." My brother John is an artist, John Wind, and he created a limited edition work of art.

This is the base, it's a sculpture, it's a wooden bell jar base, and John took actual, two, five-dollar bills and cut them out. And this is a disco base on top of the other base for the sculpture to rest on. So we're going to build it like a cooking show, okay? So I'm going to set that right there.

And then here is the statue of Abraham Lincoln that John embellished with jewelry. He has a jewelry company and he then adds jewelry to make these amazing portraits of people, like Abraham Lincoln.

And it's embellished with all this really, really cool stuff. There's so much to explore, I'm just going to share some highlights...

There's the rainbow tie - a shout-out to the Gay community.

There's "L" for Lincoln.

There's George Washington.

There's a shout-out to Lincoln being a lawyer with the scales of justice.

He loved animals so there's an owl, a dog bone, there's a kitty cat playing with a ball.

There are the initials for Abraham and Joshua, "A" and "J".

The whole thing is signed, on the back of this, with their initials and a heart in-between it.

And then coolest, coolest, there's the number 16, because Lincoln was the 16th President. And a disco ball, oh, a good luck penny, because, Hey! It's good luck. Lincoln is good luck!

So the entire amazing sculpture goes on top of the disco ball. Things get jujed just a little bit to make sure that things aren't covered... The little Aquarius symbol, I know there's a rainbow heart and we want to make sure we see that, and then there's a ball jar. And John said to me, "Make sure you don't get fingerprints on the bell jar!" So, the bell jar goes over it, like so...


Art, inspired by another piece of art.

This is a happy moment. I'm so glad I got to share it with you.

Please, stay safe.

And if you're wanting to be inspired, go for some art.

Until next time,


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

P.S. You can learn more about my brother John Wind's amazing art here:, and his jewelry here:

Friday, April 17, 2020

Death Prefers Blondes - A Teen Socialite and her Crew of Drag Queens Have To Pull Off Their Biggest Heist Ever In This Thriller

Death Prefers Blondes By Caleb Roehrig

Teenage socialite Margo Manning leads a dangerous double life. By day, she dodges the paparazzi while soaking up California sunshine. By night, however, she dodges security cameras and armed guards, pulling off high-stakes cat burglaries with a team of flamboyant young men. In and out of disguise, she’s in all the headlines.

But then Margo’s personal life takes a sudden, dark turn, and a job to end all jobs lands her crew in deadly peril. Overnight, everything she’s ever counted on is put at risk. Backs against the wall, the resourceful thieves must draw on their special skills to survive. But can one rebel heiress and four kickboxing drag queens withstand the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune? Or will a mounting sea of troubles end them—for good?

Add your review of "Death Prefers Blondes" in comments!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

I'm Interviewed on the BookBaby Podcast!

The April 6 edition of "BookBaby Spotlight" is a 45 minute interview with, well, me!

BookBaby's Sam Sedam and I talk about a whole range of issues, including the early impact of COVID-19 on indie publishing, my perspective as the director of marketing and programming at the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and my own writing and publishing journey and mission to empower kids and teens.

It's a great conversation, and I hope you'll enjoy it! You can listen to the episode here.

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

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Latest TikTok - 1 Key To Unlock The Hidden History of the Pharaoh Hatshepsut

I'm excited to continue this series on TikTok with this 15 second celebration of Hatshepsut!

@leewind Over 22 years of ruling Egypt, Hatshepsut transitioned their public persona from female to male. ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queer ##historybuff ##pride
♬ Me Too part 2 - Meghan Trainor

The Key

The remarkable thing is that these three statues are ALL Hatshepsut. At the beginning of their reign, as regent for their 2 year old nephew, Hatshepsut was portrayed publicly as a woman. Seven years into their rule, they declared themself KING (senior Co-King, technically), and not daughter of their father but son of their father. There was a period of time where Hatshepsut's gender transitioned to an in-between state, both in terms of dress and body shape (men's clothes, no shirt, and not quite breasts or bare chest, in the center sculpture). And then, towards the end of their 22-year rule, Hatshepsut was portrayed completely as a man, with a man's physique and a beard!

I loved learning about Hatshepsut, and think how empowering it must be for gender-queer, gender non-conforming, and trans kids today to know that thousands of years ago (Hatshepsut ruled Egypt from 1479 BCE-1458 BCE) the ruler of Egypt completely transitioned their public display of gender over two decades!

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

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical - Emma Wants To Take Her Girlfriend To Their High School Prom. Enter Two Broadway Stars To "Help"

The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical by Saundra Mitchell, Bob Martin, Chad Beguelin, Matthew Sklar

Seventeen-year-old Emma Nolan wants only one thing before she graduates: to dance with her girlfriend at the senior prom. But in her small town of Edgewater, Indiana, that's like asking for the moon.

Alyssa Greene is her high school's "it" girl: popular, head of the student council, and daughter of the PTA president. She also has a secret. She's been dating Emma for the last year and a half.

When word gets out that Emma plans to bring a girl as her date, it stirs a community-wide uproar that spirals out of control. Now, the PTA, led by Alyssa's mother, is threatening to cancel the prom altogether.

Enter Barry Glickman and Dee Dee Allen, two Broadway stars who decide to take up the cause and get a little publicity along the way. But when they arrive in Indiana to fight on Emma's behalf, their good intentions go quickly south.

Between Emma facing the fray head-on, Alyssa wavering about coming out, and Barry and Dee Dee basking in all the attention, it's the perfect prom storm. Only when this unlikely group comes together do they realize that love is always worth fighting for.

Add your review of "The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical" in comments!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Summer of a Thousand Pies - A Middle Grade Book About a Girl Who Finds Home With Her Estranged Lesbian Aunt (and Then Has To Fight To Save It)

Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway
When Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she isn’t sure what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.

Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs.

Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she's learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?

Add your review of "Summer of a Thousand Pies" in comments!

Monday, April 6, 2020

William Shakespeare Bi Pride! 3 Keys to Unlock His Hidden Queer History

The latest TikTok, all about William Shakespeare, has three keys, revealed below...

@leewind William Shakespeare Bi Pride! ##queerhistoryiseverywhere ##queer ##historybuff ##bisexual ##lgbtq ##pride ##love ##gaypride 3 keys to unlock.
♬ Everyone Is Gay - A Great Big World

Henry VIII and Homophobic British Law (Key 1)

In 1553, under King Henry VIII, a new law made a guy loving another guy a crime punishable by death. It was the law of the land during William Shakespeare's life (He was born in 1564.)

Sonnet 144 (Key 2)

Most of the time, when students learn about Shakespeare, no one mentions the Sonnets. There's debate about whether or not they are autobiographical—I think they are. Sonnet 144 is the clearest about Shakespeare having romantic interest in both a man and a woman. It starts with these lines:

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still;
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman color'd ill.

There are 154 of these love poems, 28 addressed to a "dark lady" and the other 126 addressed to "a man right fair."

Some of the most famous lines of Shakespeare, like this opening to Sonnet 18,

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;

were lines he wrote to this guy he loved.

Mr. W.H. (Key 3)

The identity of the guy Shakespeare loved isn't known. The Sonnets, when they were published, were dedicated to a "Mr. W.H." and historians don't agree on who that was. But it's fascinating (and empowering) to know the Bard of Avon was a guy who was Bi.

Queer Pride!

Queer History really is Everywhere.

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

Friday, April 3, 2020

Nate Expectations - Our Middle School Hero Returns from Broadway to High School in Jankburg, PA, Where He Has To Figure Out How To Come Out As His Awesome, Show-Loving, Gay Self

Nate Expectations By Tim Federle

When the news hits that E.T.: The Musical wasn’t nominated for a single Tony Award—not one!—the show closes, leaving Nate both out of luck and out of a job. And while Nate’s cast mates are eager to move on (the boy he understudies already landed a role on a TV show!), Nate knows it’s back to square one, also known as Jankburg, Pennsylvania. Where horror (read: high school) awaits.

Desperate to turn his life from flop to fabulous, Nate takes on a huge freshman English project with his BFF, Libby: he’s going to make a musical out of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. (What could possibly go…right?) But when Nate’s New York crush ghosts him, and his grades start to slip, he finds the only thing harder than being on Broadway is being a freshman — especially when you’ve got a secret you’re desperate to sing out about.

Add your review of "Nate Expectations" in comments!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain - Grief, Sexuality, and Poetry: Avery Tries to Figure It All Out

I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain By Will Walton

How do you deal with a hole in your life?

Do you turn to poets and pop songs?

Do you dream?

Do you try on love just to see how it fits?

Do you grieve?

If you're Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what's happened--and is happening--to you.

Add your review of "I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain" in comments!