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?
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.
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 Vol. 1: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, and Kate Leth
Image Comics, March 2018
Plot Summary: Curvy, 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.