YA Coming Soon: Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White Lands

Image result for Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White LandsGuest Review by Sara Austin, PhD

Because there was so much apocalyptic YA fiction, it is rare to find something truly different, but Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White Lands delivers just that. Samuel, the main character of the novel, is not gifted with magic by birth or circumstance. This lack of “Chosen One” status is what sets Demon in the White Lands apart from many other entries into the genre. Samuel is relatable, a flawed character whose decisions seem realistic. Also, because Samuel is not special in a traditional YA sense, Richard relies on characters and relationships to drive her plot. Continue reading

Coming Soon: Elana K. Arnold’s What Riley Wore (2019)

What Riley Wore

What Riley Wore (2019), written by Elana K. Arnold, explores the creativity and sensitivity of a nonbinary/gender creative child as they navigate everyday life from the dentist’s office to the playground. This accessible children’s picture book is colorfully and cartoonishly illustrated by Linda Davick with a touch of whimsy that doesn’t detract from the text’s realism. Continue reading

July 28

July 28th is my ONE YEAR BLOGAVERSARY!

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I’ve reviewed over 150 children’s picture books, including over 100 LGBTQ children’s picture books. I’ve also dabbled in middle-grade and YA reviews.

My goals for the year were to get 2500 blog followers and 2500 Twitter followers – I did it! I love that so many people are using my blog as a resource to find books that meet their needs.

I’ll have a big giveaway to thank everyone for their support on the 28th – stay tuned!

ChLA 2019

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I am recuperating from a 5 night adventure. I flew to Indianapolis on June 12 for ChLA’s 2019 conference where I presented my work about LGBTQ children’s non-fiction picture books. There are only a handful of children’s picture books that explore aspects of LGBTQ history and I discussed their transformative potential and limitations during my presentation: LGBTQ Children’s Picture Books Now: Between the Past and the Future.

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If we build a rich archive of children’s nonfiction that centers diverse experiences of differently classed, raced, and gendered subjects we might just begin to create the type of critical consciousness needed to take account of various modes of oppression that work in tandem. We might also be able to imagine becoming queer as a project in empathy and understanding that forces us to rethink attachments to oppressive ideas, identities, and institutions that reproduce oppression, indignity, and injustice for a newly conceptualized all of us.

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I was only there a couple of days before flying to Saratoga Springs, NY to participate in a workshop for an open access Introduction to LGBTQ Studies textbook project I’m contributing to. I’m writing chapters about queer theory and LGBTQ children’s picture books. I’m so excited about this project because it will make information about two of my favorite topics available to students for FREE! It was wonderful to talk with folks who love all things queer! But, it was a lot of flying!

Continue reading

Barry Wittenstein’s Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sony Rollins Finds His Groove

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