Author Archives

jlmiller1

I teach literature, writing, gender studies, and interdisciplinary studies in Arlington, TX. My current research explores LGBTQ+ children's picture books. I blog about children's literature at https://raisethemrighteous.wordpress.com.

Zetta Elliott’s Dragons in a Bag

If you or someone you know is over eight-years-old, you need a copy of Zetta Elliott’s urban fantasy Dragons in a Bag! Dragons in a Bag introduces readers to Jaxon, a sweet and smart young boy with brown skin and unruly eyebrows. Jaxon’s father passed away and he lives alone […]

Ruth Lehrer’s Being Fishkill

Ruth Lehrer’s gritty realism is reminiscent of Dorothy Allison, as is her exploration of poverty, abuse, neglect, miraculously strong girls, and the failure and promise of family. But, Lehrer’s pace and unrelentingly complicated descriptions of young teen subjectivity set Bring Fishkill firmly within the field of YA literature. *A few […]

Alice Faye Duncan’s A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks

Alice Faye Duncan’s A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks recounts Brooks’ life in carefully crafted verses and introduces readers to Brooks’ own work through sensitively selected poems. Xia Gordon’s evocative images pair well with the text, creating a meditative mood with pictures that at times appear to glow. The brightness of […]

Christine Emery’s The Black Cloud Blues

Written by Christine A. Emery and illustrated by Kellie R. Emery, The Black Cloud Blues does the important work of acknowledging childhood depression. In doing so it makes a valuable contribution to children’s literature. Kellie Emery’s deliberate illustrations provide access to the unnamed narrator’s feelings as he takes readers on […]

Terry Lynn Johnson’s Lost!

Terry Lynn Johnson’s Lost! is the first book in the Survivor Diaries series. Two recently introduced children vacationing with their families at a resort in Costa Rica get lost in the rainforest. They survive through will, wit, and a little luck. In the first chapter, one of the two protagonists, […]

Elise Gravel’s You Can Be

Elise Gravel’s board book, You Can Be, subtly rejects gender stereotypes while introducing very young readers to a range of characteristics through images of diverse children embodying them. Steely-blue and bright-red images leap off the glossy-white background of each page. The cover features the back of a young child with […]