Barry Wittenstein’s Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove (2019) takes readers on a stroll through New York City that begins at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. The picture book manages to be both intimate and expansive. Although a biography of jazz great Sonny Rollins, his story is deeply contextualized within cultural and political history. Keith Mallett’s illustrations capture mood and motion, each a work of art that brings the story to life. Continue reading
This post is a bit different from my usual reviews of children’s literature. It’s my second year writing an annual review article about important new work in queer theory for Oxford Press’s The Year in Critical and Cultural Theory. I focused my review of 2018 publications on RESISTANCE. You can check it out here.
It is often thought that boyish girls have it easier than girlish boys. In fact, the idea that girls can more easily wear clothes and play with toys associated with boys is often used to diminish the challenges of being a tomboy. This book illustrates the policing of gender and hurt it causes. Continue reading
Like most children’s picture books that feature transgender children, Sophie Labelle’s 2013 publication, A Girl Like Any Other, was self-published with the help of crowdfunding. Readers are introduced to a quirky young girl who shares what it is like being transgender in this first-person-narrative which is sure to reflect many young children’s experiences. Continue reading
The Harvey Milk Story (2001), written by Kari Krakow and illustrated by David Gardner, is a serviceable biography of one of the first openly gay US politicians. Krakow chronologizes Milk’s life from birth to assassination. Gardner’s realistic images provide Milk with humanizing depth by showing his nuanced emotions throughout his life. Continue reading