Queer-affirming children’s book Large Fears (2015) is the product of a collaboration between writer Myles E. Johnson and illustrator Kendrick Daye. Each two page-spread is a vignette combining prose-poetry, photographs, black and white sketches, and color blasts that provide readers with access to the witty, whimsical, controlled chaos of young Jeremiah’s mind. Jeremiah is a queer black boy who loves pink and wants to go to Mars but his fears are almost as big as his dreams and they keep him Earth-bound.
However, his desire eventually gives him strength and he gains the confidence to plunge into the unknown.
This magnificent tale reminds me a bit of The Little Prince and a bit of Alice in Wonderland, but it is really quite unique; a meditation aimed at generating self-confidence that unfolds gorgeously.
On Earth, after a fantastic journey through his “mind’s adventure,” Jeremiah’s mother grounds him, collapsing the line between fantasy and reality by assuring him: “If you want to be a star, you can be the biggest star.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it for personal and classroom libraries. Since it is quite text heavy, it is most appropriate for audiences five-years and older.
Like many of the queerest kid lit currently available, this was self-published with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.
This review is part of my “Snapshots of LGBTQ Kid Lit” project. I’m working on a book, The New Queer Children’s Literature: Exploring the Principles and Politics of LGBTQ* Children’s Picture Books, which is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi. Part of my research is identifying and interpreting English-language children’s picture books with LGBTQ* content published in the US and Canada between 1979 and 2019. Follow my blog to follow my journey!