I Felt A Funeral In My Brain

Our guest blogger today is Nicole T. Cunha. Nicole (they/she) is a librarian, traveler, and avid bookworm. You can find them on Twitter at NicoleTCunha, discussing disability rights, libraries, and anything they feel like fangeeking over.


waltonI Felt A Funeral in My Brain by Will Walton
Push,  June 2018
Reviewed from hardcover, library binding

Plot SummaryAs 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.

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What Are We Missing?

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.

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What It’s Like To Be on the Committee

The call is out! ALA’s GLBT Round Table is accepting applications to volunteer for the Stonewall Book Award and Book List committees until Friday, December 7.

What’s it actually like serving on the Stonewall committee? How does it differ from other award processes? Guest blogger Amanda Foulk provides insight based on her experience as a 2018 committee alum.


My year on the Stonewall Book Award Children’s & Young Adult Committee was eye-opening. I’m proud of the outcome of our deliberations – I think we selected two exceptional winners of the Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award and two excellent honor books. What I felt qualified me to serve on the committee was previous experience evaluating children’s books based on set criteria, and a willingness to thoughtfully and passionately discuss those books in a way that built consensus. What I didn’t realize going in was how different the process would be from my previous experiences.

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Moonstruck Vol 1: Magic to Brew

Our guest blogger today is Angela Ocana. Angela (she/her) is a fierce queer Latina, not to mention a saucy and sassy Teen Services Supervisor for Eugene Public Library.


Moonstruck_Vol01-1Moonstruck Vol. 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, and Kate Leth
Image Comics, March 2018

Plot SummaryCurvy, queer, bi-racial werewolf Julie would love nothing more than to go on her date with fellow werewolf Selena and not ‘wolf out’. Unfortunately, when her centaur bestie Chet tags along on her date, everything goes haywire, including the transformation of Chet into a human!  With a crazed magician on the loose and a horse rump to find, the gang is thrown into a magical mystery that Julie’s new love life might not survive.

Shae Beagle’s dreamy art style perfectly captures a variety of body shapes and multiracial characters. The color work is gorgeous and sets the tone for a story that’s love-cute meets the supernatural.

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Middle Grade Fiction Roundup

Per Savin-Williams and Diamond, the age at which people realize their LGBTQ identity tends to fall between eight and ten. This research was published in 2000. Yet, the (small) proliferation of queer-themed middle grade novels is still a relatively new phenomenon. Since Tim Federle’s Better Nate Than Ever (2013) and Alex Gino’s George (2015), we’ve seen a steady rise in the number of queer-themed middle grade novels being published.

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Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)

Our guest blogger today is Dr. Rob Bittner. Rob (he/him) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the iSchool of the University of British Columbia, working with LGBTQ books for youth and children.


jack of heartsJack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen
Little, Brown, October 2018
Reviewed from ARC

Plot Summary: Jack is a very sexual young man. He’s certainly not afraid to “get it on” and try new things. But when school gossip about his sex life starts to get out of hand, Jack’s friend Jenna suggests he try to use his experiences to educate his classmates through a new sex advice column in the school newspaper. Though a bit hesitant at first, Jack eventually embraces the opportunity, and in the process manages to catch the attention of a secret admirer and get the administration after him for disrupting the status quo.

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Black Wings Beating

Our guest blogger today is Dr. Rob Bittner. Rob (he/him) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the iSchool of the University of British Columbia, working with LGBTQ books for youth and children.


Black wings beatingBlack Wings Beating by Alex London
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, September 2018
Reviewed from ARC

Plot Summary: Uztar is a land full of people who revere birds of prey, holding those with the skill for falconry in high esteem. Brysen wants nothing more than to become one of these highly respected falconers, and it frustrates him that his sister has a gift for it that she doesn’t want to embrace. The twins also need money, and their abusive father is certainly not paying the bills. Kylee can’t wait to get out of town, out of the whole business and away from her home, but Brysen puts the two in a precarious position just as the shadows of war are descending. The two end up embarking on an epic quest to find the elusive ghost eagle and hopefully turn the tide of the impending battle. Continue reading

And We’re Back!

It’s almost that time again! Medal on My Mind is getting ready to take a close look at 2018’s queer books for kids and teens in anticipation of the 2019 Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Stonewall Book Award.  Some exciting announcements and housekeeping details before we get into the good stuff:

A New Home

We have an official website! You can now link to Medal on My Mind at www.medalonmymind.com

(Though the wordpress address still works, too.)

Our Team

Stacy and Dani are returning to the blog for a second time round. Kazia won’t be here with us this yearbut for very good reason: she’s currently serving on the 2019 Sibert committee. We’re excited to welcome two new contributors: Alec Chunn (who dreamed up the initial idea for MoMM) and Kit Kavanagh-Ryan.

Alec (he/him/his) is a librarian and book reviewer in the Pacific Northwest. He holds joint masters degrees in library science and children’s literature and served on the 2018 Rainbow Book List Committee.

Kit (she/her/hers) holds a Masters of Information Management and is mid-PhD at Deakin University, specialising in children’s fiction, disability and secondary worlds. She works as an alcohol and other drug librarian at a not-for-profit and lectures in young adult and children’s literature at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

What To Expect

Between August and January, every week(ish), there will be a new short post from one of us providing a brief overview of a book and some thoughts on its queer rep. We’ll also do some round-ups to give consideration to as many books as we can.

Guest Blogging

We’re looking forward to featuring more guest posts from fellow queer reviewers this year. If you’re interested in writing for Medal on My Mind, please email medalonmymind@gmail.com with the title(s) you’d like to cover and, briefly, why.  

Up Next

You’ll be hearing more from us soon! Subscribe to this page or follow Medal on My Mind on Twitter for updates.

After the Announcement

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 medalonmymind@gmail.com

We’ll pick back up again in the summer with a broader consideration of 2018’s possibilities. In the meantime, keep up with us on Twitter: Kazia, Alec, Stacy, Dani.

And don’t forget to check out the 2018 Rainbow Booklist

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