Off We Go!

Autumn has arrived and so has mock award blog season! We’re joining the fold and dusting off Medal on My Mind, too. In the coming months leading up to the ALA Youth Media Awards in January 2022, we (Kazia and Alec) will highlight titles that we think ought to be considered for the Stonewall Book Award (or, more officially, the Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award).

Note: The Stonewall Book Awards are actually three different awards (one for adult fiction, one for adult nonfiction, and one for youth fiction/nonfiction) but we’re using the Stonewall Book Award for shorthand just to refer to the youth award from here on out. 

Unlike Newbery, Caldecott or other awards, the Stonewall Book Award doesn’t have pages and pages of extensive criteria. But here is what’s on the award page

  • The awards are presented to “English language books that have exceptional merit relating to the LGBTQIA+ experience.”
  • Eligible books must be published January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. 
  • Though the award is typically given to books published in the US, international books may be considered.
  • Re-printings of previously published books are not considered.
  • Substantially changed new editions and/or English translations are considered.

Additionally, we’re using these unofficial criteria to inform our selections:

  • 50% or more of the protagonists must be LGBTQIA+ to be considered.
  • We’re going to elevate books that add new voices and experiences to the existing canon of award winners.
  • We’re going to assume there will be a children’s winner and a YA winner because, given the growth in LGBTQIA+ publishing for youth, we believe there should be. 

This year, we’re also doing things a little differently in that the vast majority of our posts are going to be thematic roundups. We might not post every week. We might not have read every title we share. But we’re definitely excited about the Stonewall Book Award and eager to hear your thoughts on the contenders in the comments. Let’s go!

2021 Anticipated Books

Happy Pride!

We couldn’t let June—or ALA Annual—roll around without posting something. We’re a small team again this year: Dani’s busy chairing the Real Committee (!!!) and Stacy’s busy being a Library Journal Mover & Shaker (!!!), so it’s just Alec and Kazia! We’re taking it a bit easier this year after the rollercoaster that was 2020, but we still wanted to do a brief mid-year check-in.

Here are a few categories we’re excited about, along with some books we’re putting into our TBR pile.

  • Sharice's Big Voice
  • Singled Out
  • No Way, They Were Gay?
  • May the Best Man Win
  • The Passing Playbook
  • Obie Is Man Enough
  • Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating
  • Love and Other Natural Disasters
  • Meet Cute Diary
  • The Taking of Jake Livingston
  • Too Bright to See
  • A Touch of Ruckus
  • The Marvelous
  • Ace of Spades
  • The Girls I've Been

Queer history:
Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays and illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley
Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke by Andrew Maraniss
No Way, They Were Gay?: Hidden Lives and Secret Loves by Lee Wind

Trans athletes
May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor
The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons
Obie Is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar

Rom-coms with BIPOC leads:
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee 

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff
Touch of Ruckus by Ash Van Otterloo 

Thrillers & mysteries:
The Marvelous by Claire Kann
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

What have you read and loved so far in 2021? Any early Stonewall Book Award frontrunners? Let us know in the comments!

Join Us Next Year!

We’re on hiatus! 

It’s a busy year for the whole team and we’ve decided to sit this round out rather than bringing you a less than stellar look at queer books. 

Expect us back next fall in the lead-up to Stonewall 2021. 

As the number of eligible books published for children and teens continues to grow, we need to grow too! We’re looking for advocates for children’s and teen LGBTQIA+ books to join our team. Send us a sample review at if you’d like to write with us regularly for next year’s award season (August 2020 through January 2021).

2019 Wrap-Up

Congratulations to the 2019 Stonewall Book Award winners and honors!

Here are the books that received recognition (with links to our coverage):

Winners: Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender and Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love.

Honors: Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert and Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake.

Two of these titles were selected in our mock award—not bad!

We’re excited to see Hurricane Child, Picture Us in the Light, and Ivy Aberdeen take the award; they’re books we raved about along the way! It’s especially wonderful to see two middle grade books about queer girls receive attention. This recognition represents something new—and much-needed—for the award.

We’re uneasy about Julián‘s win given the concerns that have been raised about it. See: “Trans People Aren’t Imaginary Creatures” (Booktoss) and Alex Gino’s recent tweets.

Looking beyond the Stonewall, there were other exciting wins for queer books:

  • Jerome by Heart by Thomas Scotto with illustrations by Olivier Tallec (translated by Claudia Bedrick and Karin Snelson) received a Batchelder Award honor
  • Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro won in the Schneider Family Book Award’s teen category
  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorran won the Morris Award AND won in the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature’s young adult category
  • My Brother’s Husband Vol. 1 & 2 by Gengoroh Tagame (translated by Anne Ishii) won the inaugural GLLI Translated YA Book Prize

GLBTRT’s 2019 Rainbow Book List has been announced, too! Two of our mock picks (Hurricane Child & Darius the Great) made the Top Ten!

And so we wrap up the award season with plenty to celebrate and plenty of gratitude toward those who commented, guest blogged, or lurked at the blog this season. We’ll be back in the summer in anticipation of the 2020 awards! In the mean time, drop us a line if you’re interested in guest blogging.

Edited 2/6/19: We’ve removed a portion of this post reacting to what we interpreted as a mislabeling of Hurricane Child as YA in the awarding process. Our interpretation was based on language that was used in ALA’s press release. We’ve since learned that this language did not accurately reflect the committee’s decision.

2019 Mock Winners

ivy aberdeen
The votes are in: Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashely Herring Blake wins Medal on My Mind’s mock Stonewall Award!

Notably, the Stonewall Award often goes to more than one book, in some cases representing discreet categories, like children’s and YA or fiction and nonfiction. In a committee setting, our results would call for further deliberation, but we feel good about naming The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang a second winner, with honors to Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram and Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender.

Here’s the total breakdown of votes for our finalists:

  1. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake – 39 points
  2. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – 34 points
  3. Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram – 30 points
  4. Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender – 29 points
  5. The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell – 27 points
  6. PS I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy – 26 points
  7. A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson – 11 points
We can’t wait to see what the committee has chosen when the award is announced at the ALA Youth Media Awards on Monday (8:00AM PT). We’ll be back with some final thoughts after the fact.

A hearty congratulations to all our winners! And a big thanks to you for speculating with us!

Second Ballot

…And the results of the first ballot are in! Five titles tied so we’re calling it a top seven rather than a top five. Per the official award process, committee members would next vote for a single title out of the five. We’re going to deviate from that just a bit because (a) we have already broken the rules and (b) we think it will help us get a more meaningful picture of your opinions since we don’t get to have face-to-face discussion.

Continue reading

First Ballot

It’s voting time! According to the official award process, committee members would have each nominated 10-15 titles to be semi-finalists back in December. The 10 titles with the most votes are the only titles discussed at the Midwinter meeting in January. For the first ballot, committee members vote for their top five. For the second ballot, committee members vote for their top choice from the top five and discuss whether there will be honor books named or separate categories within the award (children’s, young adult, etc.).

We’ve obviously done things a little differently here at Medal on My Mind. In the past few months, we’ve covered 46 titles. Not all of those titles received glowing recommendations. And we haven’t narrowed down the list to a top 10. But that’s where you come in!

Continue reading

Girls of Paper and Fire / The Storyteller

Our guest blogger today is Sabrina Montenigro. Sabrina (she/her/hers) is a bookseller at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and a reviewer for Kirkus. She is a recent graduate of the Children’s Literature M.A. program at Simmons College, where her thesis research centered contemporary queer YA. Find her @sabrina_reading on Twitter and Instagram.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
JIMMY Patterson Books / Little, Brown & Co, Nov 2018
Reviewed from ARC

The Storyteller by Traci Chee (Reader/Sea of Ink and Gold Book 3)
Putnam / Penguin Random House, Dec 2018
Reviewed from hardcover

Caution: spoilers ahead!

Plot Summary: Both books take on the overarching project of grappling with identity and destiny, and their intersections with language, in a way that speaks to the queer experience on multiple levels.

Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Love

Today’s guest blogger is Stephanie Allen. Stephanie (she/her) is a University of Washington MLIS student, a teacher, and a young adult writer. You can find her on Twitter as @stephandrea_.

letstalkaboutloveLet’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
Swoon Reads, Feb 2018
Reviewed from Hardcover

Plot Summary: After Alice’s girlfriend breaks up with her, her summer plans consist solely of hanging out with her best friends and working her part-time job at the library. What she didn’t plan on was developing a huge crush on her new coworker, Takumi, and she especially didn’t plan on Takumi liking her back. The thing is, the reason Alice’s girlfriend broke up with her is because Alice is asexual. Now, she’s spending her summer worrying about how to tell Takumi she’s ace and if telling him will ruin whatever is going on between them. Alice’s easy summer vacation just got a lot more complicated.

Continue reading