Wednesday, February 3, 2021

From Archie to Zack - A Picture Book Celebrating "the Joy of a First Crush" Between Two Young Boys


From Archie to Zack by Vincent X. Kirsch is definitely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid. 

Here's the publisher description:

"Archie loves Zack!" "Zack loves Archie!" Everyone said it was so. But Archie hasn't told Zack yet. And Zack hasn't told Archie. They spend just about every minute together: walking to and from school, doing science and art projects, practicing for marching band, learning to ride bikes, and so much more. Over the course of a few months, Archie tries to write a letter to Zack to tell him how he feels: "From A to Z." None of his drafts sound quite right, so he hides them all away. One by one, Archie's friends (Zelda, Zinnia, and Zuzella) find the letters . . . but they know exactly whom they're meant for.
There's so many things to love about this picture book, and here are my top three: 

1) There's no shame about their love. Adults know the two boys love each other. The other kids know the two boys love each other. It's all a joyous celebration of the journey of the boys being able to tell each other how they feel. 

2) The illustrations do so much of the storytelling, and are beautifully rendered. 

It's a great example of how an author/illustrator can sometimes tell a story so fully that every part reinforces the whole. Even the endpapers add to the storytelling, with 16 more vignettes of Archie and Zack spending wonderful times together. 

3) It's a picture book about two young boys in love. The concept of making that a first crush love is so smart. This is the kind of love that's valentines given to every classmate in kindergarten - and a special one for that special someone! It's sweet and incredibly "G" rated - which is entirely awesome and appropriate.

Like I always say, the word homoSEXual isn't helping our Queer community. If we used the word homoLOVEual, we'd be having different conversations. Because the love that holds my family together is the same love that holds other families together.

And the first-crush love that Archie and Zack delight in is the same first-crush love that so many other young children delight in.

And that's worthy of celebrating!

With Valentine's Day coming up, "From Archie to Zack" is an extra special treat. 

Add your review of "From Archie to Zack" in comments!


laurasalas said...

This sounds wonderful! It's on order at my library system, and I just put it on reserve. Thanks, Lee (and I like your thought about the word homosexual--words are so powerful, and that one syllable takes top priority in that word, doesn't it...)

Unknown said...

I have been excited for this book for a long time, but Kirkus did raise the issue of its depiction of East Asian kids with stereotypically slanted eyes. I still have it on hold...