Welcome to Medal on My Mind, a mock award blog speculating the potential results of the Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award.
I Felt A Funeral in My Brain by Will Walton
Push, June 2018
Reviewed from hardcover, library binding
Summary: As summer starts, Avery Fowell and his mother are delivering cakes and BOOM. The car crash sets in motion a narrative of a young man’s coming to terms with the good news and bad news. Avery Fowell writes poetry so he can understand all that is going on in his life. Moving from past to present, we follow transitions between Avery’s inner and outer dialogue through changes in tense and form. Stream of consciousness and poetic form intertwine as the protagonist processes multigenerational alcohol addiction, self- and family parenting, loss of a grandparent, personal injury, and feelings for his best friend.
It’s December, which means that the ALA Youth Media Awards announcement on Monday, January 28 is practically just around the corner. Are you as excited as we are?
According to the CCBC’s Diversity Statistics, 136 children’s and young adult books with queer content were published last year in 2017. Our (less formal) spreadsheet of this year’s titles counts 162—a 26 book increase! Because of the growth in the market, it gets harder and harder to pick the best of the best each year. We think that’s a good thing.
As slim as the pickings for LGBTQ+ nonfiction usually are, there’s a recognized need for informational books that center queer experience. Though proportionally small compared to the amount of fiction published, nonfiction tends to do well at the Stonewall Award. In seven of the past nine award years, a nonfiction book has been among those honored. In this post, I’ll cover a few nonfiction titles for teens on MoMM’s radar this year. (See Alec’s post on Pride and Sewing the Rainbow for a look at some of this year’s nonfiction picturebooks.)
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Dial Books, August 2018
Reviewed from hardcover
Plot Summary: “Fractional Persian” Darius knows Klingon better than Farsi. This bodes well for Darius and his white father: their mutual love for all things Star Trek is one of the few things they have in common besides their chronic depression. But when Darius and his family go to Iran to visit his mother’s ailing father, Darius’ unfamiliarity with his Persian heritage leaves him feeling like even more of an outcast than he does at home in Portland, Oregon. As Darius struggles with his sense of self, a Bahá’í teen named Sohrab shows Darius what acceptance can feel like. The two boys strike up a powerful friendship. But can it stand the test of long distance when Darius returns home to America?
In the eight years the Stonewall has been given to children’s and YA literature, only one picture book has ever won the medal: This Day in June (2015). Two picture books have been honored: 10,000 Dresses (2010) and Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (2015). This is partly due to the relative scarcity of picture books with queer content but I’m happy to report that there are so many titles this season—15 by our count—that we will have two posts!
Odd One Out by Nic Stone
Crown Books for Young Readers, Oct 2018
Reviewed from ARC
Plot Summary: Courtney has known his best friend Jupiter since they were kids. Together, they’re “Jupe-and-Coop,” a unit so inseparable that they often fall asleep cuddling. Which isn’t okay because, even though Jupiter is an out and proud lesbian, Coop is in love with her. The arrival of new-girl-in-town Rae Chin sparks jealousy and misunderstandings–especially when it’s not clear to anyone, Rae included, whether she’s falling for Coop or Jupiter. Told from three perspectives, Odd One Out’s doozy of a love triangle is a dramatic reminder that sexuality is complicated and so are human relationships.
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Disney-Hyperion, April 2018
Reviewed from ARC
Plot Summary: Acceptance letter and scholarship in tow, Danny Cheng is well on his way to RISD and a bright future as an artist. But as senior year approaches its end, the idea of leaving pulls Danny’s mind back to Cupertino, his friends, and his family. When Danny discovers a box of letters in his father’s closet, long-kept family secrets begin to unravel. The more Danny learns, the more his world begins to fall apart. Meanwhile, Danny’s own secret—his feelings for his best friend, Harry—begins to float to the surface. Can Danny bring himself tell Harry even though Harry’s madly in love with Regina?