Congratulations to this year’s Stonewall Book Award winners and honors!
Though we only had the chance to cover one of the four here, these choices didn’t come at us completely out of the blue. You can find some final reflections at the end of this post.
We are so thrilled to see such diverse and intersectional representation honored this year. The committee awarded all women and nonbinary folks, and while this isn’t unprecedented, it’s unusual enough to merit acknowledgement! Both of the winners address disability, and all four of the chosen titles explore race and racism. Two of the titles feature characters with nonbinary identities (Sasha in The 57 Bus is agender and Charlie in As the Crow Flies is nonbinary). At least two of the books feature characters who are bi.
It was also awesome to see books with queer representation win big in other areas. Printz winner We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is about a queer girl, and Geisel winner Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, with illustrations by Emily Hughes, depicts a gay couple.
We learned a lot from the reading and blogging we did this year–most significantly, that we could use a bigger team! If you are interested in working with Medal on My Mind or know someone who would make a stellar contributor with insightful perspectives on Stonewall eligibles, drop a comment or email us at email@example.com
And don’t forget to check out the 2018 Rainbow Booklist!
Little & Lion
Brandy Colbert’s work of YA contemporary realism centers on Suzette, a black bisexual teen who is part of a Jewish biracial blended family. Still hurting from a failed, secretive relationship with a girl at her uptight East Coast boarding school, Suzette finds that she’s more secure in her identity back home in LA but torn between attraction to two people. She is also refamiliarizing herself with her step-brother, Lionel, who is figuring out how to manage having bipolar disorder. Colbert gets at the nuance of intersectionality by putting into conversation characters with highly specific experiences navigating a variety of identities. Little & Lion stands out for its depiction of complex relationships and for dialogue that is welcomely direct in shutting down biphobia, racism, and ableism.
The 57 Bus (Content warning!)
Dashka Slater’s masterpiece of narrative nonfiction stems from her longform 2015 piece for the New York Times Magazine, Fire on the 57 Bus. Slater divides her narrative between two teens: Sasha, a white agender teen, and Richard, a black straight teen who set Sasha’s skirt on fire when they were both passengers on an Oakland bus. Slater doesn’t shy away from detailed descriptions, but she never veers into the gratuitous. Always respectful of both her subjects, she never excuses Richard’s behavior but she also never reduces him to his crime.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
As the Crow Flies
Melanie Gillman’s webcomic-turned-graphic novel follows 13-year-old Charlie, a biracial nonbinary teen apprehensively attending an all-girls Christian summer camp for the first time. As the only brown person at the camp, they feel increasingly isolated and frustrated by the camp’s white feminism. Befriending Sydney, a trans girl who’s not out to the camp, provides some relief as the duo struggles between wanting to fit in and needing to challenge the camp’s TERFs. Poignant and intimate, As the Crow Flies flew relatively under the radar this year, but we’re so glad it got the attention it deserves!