2019 was a wonderful year for Raise Them Righteous! I’ve reviewed over 200 books since beginning my blog in June 2018. 125 of those reviews are of LGBTQ+ children’s picture books! I am so happy to bring more attention to diverse, inclusive, social justice-oriented books for young people! My blog has over 4500 followers and my Twitter account has an additional 4000. I hope to grow my followers in 2020 as I continue to review excellent books!
In 2019 I participated in Multicultural Children’s Book Day and will participate again at the start of 2020. I also participated in the Cybils Awards again! This time as a Round One Judge for the Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction category. I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone and read some amazing middle grade books! I hope to participate again in 2020.
In 2020 I will continue to review picture books, middle grade, and young adult literature with a focus on LGBTQ+ content. I’m finishing my book project about LGBTQ+ children’s picture books this spring and it will come out spring 2021! The project is under contract with the University Press of Mississippi.
I’ve made so many great author/publisher connections this past year and am continuing to learn about more great books. As a result, I plan on expanding my reviews to include English-language children’s picture books that focus on global cultures, including religion, food, geography, and day-to-day life. Although I’ve posted some reviews of books that fall into this category I will be making it a focus in the coming year!
Thanks so much for following my blog! I appreciate your support.
Jennifer Miller, PhD
Jason Tharp’s It’s Okay to be a Unicorn is a delightful picture book about a creative and kind unicorn, Cornelius J. Sparklesteed, hiding his identity in a town of horses with irrational beliefs about unicorns. The town, Hoofington, bans unicorns, but is otherwise warm and welcoming. Cornelius makes fabulous hats for the town’s citizens and, as a result, is asked by the mayor to perform in the town’s holiday festival Hoofapalooza. The catch: the mayor requests Cornelius make “the most UN-UNICORNY hat” he can. Along with preparing for his own act, Cornelius inspires many of his friends to create even more fantastic art, songs, and even baked goods. Continue reading
47,000 Beads (2017), written by Koja Adeyoha and Angel Adeyoha and illustrated by Holly McGillis, is a Flamingo Rampant publication about a child named Peyton who does not want to participate in her community pow wows because she isn’t comfortable wearing a dress. Her Auntie Eyota acknowledges Peyton’s feelings and works with family and community to help Peyton connect with her cultural traditions while creating an identity she is comfortable claiming. Continue reading
The Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans (1991), written by Johnny Valentine and illustrated by Lynette Schmidt, is an early Alyson Wonderland publication full of whimsy and charm.
The first story, “The Frog Prince,” is about a boy, Nicholas, who discovers a talking frog. The frog informs Nicholas he is really a prince and needs to be kissed to be transformed back into his true form. Nicholas begrudgingly plants a kiss on the frog and it does, in fact, transform into a prince. The prince explains that his parents could be cruel and as punishment for a minor offense had permitted a wizard to experiment on him. Continue reading
And Tango Makes Three (2005), written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole, is a Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers publication. The book is based on an event that took place at Central Park Zoo. Two male penguins, Roy and Silo, raised a chick together. It made the American Library Association’s most banned book list eight times between 2006 and 20017, in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017. Censors, most often moralistic parents, were and continue to be concerned that the book is homosexual propaganda.
Pija Lindenbaum’s Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle (2007) was originally published in Stockholm but was readily available in the US at the time of its release thanks to distributors like Amazon.com. Like quite a few LGBTQ children’s picture books, this one is told in the first person from the point-of-view of a young girl, Mini Mia, as she gushes about her amazing relationship with her gay uncle. Continue reading