Matt Mendez’s Barely Missing Everything

Barely Missing Everything

Matt Mendez’s emotionally demanding Barely Missing Everything (2019) explores the lives of working-class Mexican Americans living in El Paso, TX.  A teenage boy named Juan anchors the text, which focalizes his experiences as well as those of his mother, Fabi, and his best friend, JD.

Juan and JD are high school seniors planning life after high school, but just barely. They both have hazy visions of the future. JD, a film enthusiast, aspires to make movies and carries a camera wherever he goes. Juan, a high school basketball star on a mediocre team, doesn’t imagine himself doing anything else. Additionally, Fabi, a teen mom turned 30-something mom of a teenager, tends bar to make ends meet. Continue reading

Myles E. Johnson’s Large Fears (2015)

Large Fears

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. Continue reading

Jordan Scavone’s A Girl Named Adam (2019)

A Girl Named AdamA Girl Named Adam (2019), written by Jordan Scavone and illustrated by C.N.J. Zing, tells the story of a young girl begrudgingly adjusting to her best friend’s transition at the start of fourth grade. Few stories that focus on transgender children are available, and Scavone’s story is the first I have read that focuses on the discomfort and jealousy of a young girl whose good friend is transitioning.

The story opens with the narrator, Annie, and her best friend, referred to through most of the narration as Adam, going back-to-school shopping with Annie’s mom. Annie didn’t want to go shopping with a “boy,” but her mom forces her to “be nice” and invite Adam along. Continue reading

Trans* and Gender Creative Kid Lit

Here’s a list of books I’ve reviewed about kids who reject gender norms. Check out the reviews and commit to adding one to your personal or school library!!

I’m reviewing LGBTQ# inclusive children’s picture books at RaiseThemRighteous.

If you are an author/publisher (traditional/indie/self-published) contact me for a review and to learn more about my book project!

Jamie Is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way

My Princess BoyFrom the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the SeaJack (Not Jackie)

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erica Silverman’s Jack (Not Jackie) (2018)

Jack (Not Jackie)

Jack (Not Jackie) (2018), written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Holly Hatam, adds an important perspective to the existing archive of children’s picture books about transgender and gender creative kids. This thoughtfully told and cheerfully illustrated tale is narrated from the point-of-view of a girl experiencing her transgender younger brother come into his identity. In an article for Watermark Online, Ryan Williams-Jent, writes: “It’s the second picture book in a partnership between GLAAD—the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization—and Bonnier Publishing USA, which publishes over 150 books annually. The collaboration aims to integrate and elevate positive LGBTQ representation throughout children’s literature by releasing at least four titles annually.” Continue reading

Maya and Matthew Smith-Gonzalez’s They She He Me: Free to Be (2017)

They She He Me: Free to Be (2017), by Maya and Matthew Smith-Gonzalez, is a celebration of diversity in its many forms. People with different boy-types, skin-tones, and gender expressions are thoughtfully illustrated above a variety of pronouns that are repeated across the two-page spread. The text suggests that gender is not written on the body but is instead a personal identity that can change over time. It seeks to uncouple gender from the body while simultaneously troubling a gender binary. The creators provide lots of useful backmatter that explains gender, pronouns, and the importance of inclusivity. I think this is a lovely teaching aid that will encourage discussions about the social and personal dimensions of gender for all ages. Continue reading

Robb Pearlman’s Pink is for Boys (2018)

Pink is for Boys (2018), written by Robb Pearlman and illustrated by Eda Kaban works to disrupt the idea that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. It does this through simple prose and bright, fun illustrations. Several colors, including pink, green, blue, and purple, are explored over a pair of two-page spreads. The first spread assures readers that x color is for girls and boys. The second spread reinforces the message. Continue reading