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Our "Don't Miss"Books of 2018 PART 3 with Alex Gino and Dr. Laura Jimenez (The Children's Book Podcast #480)

December 28, 2018

LGBTQ+ INDIVIDUALS AND ALLIES RECOMMEND...   

 

Alex Gino (@lxgino) and Dr. Laura Jimenez (@booktoss) join to share books centering on LGBTQ experiences, issues, and identities. Alex Gino is the author of GEORGE and, most recently, YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING, JILLY P! They are joined by Dr. Laura Jimenez, author of the BookToss blog, a site “where the serious business of reading in schools meets the absurd notion that research-based literacy practices don’t have to suck the life out of literature.” I asked Alex and Laura if they’d like to join me to share those “don’t miss” titles they’ve been recommending to friends, colleagues, and readers of all ages. Little did I realize we’d all get on so well and burst into frequent bouts of giggles and bookjoy!

 

  

ABOUT THE GUESTS:

Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. They would take a quiet coffee date with a friend over a loud and crowded party any day. A former LSAT tutor who never touched law school, Alex can still talk your ear off about sufficient and necessary conditions.

 

Born and raised on Staten Island, NY, Alex has lived in Philadelphia, PA; Brooklyn, NY; Astoria (Queens), NY; Northampton, MA; and Oakland, CA. In April 2016, they put their books and furniture in storage for what became an 18-month road trip through 44 states. They are now happily settled back in Oakland.

 

Alex has been an activist and advocate for LGBTQ+ communities since 1997, when they became co-chair of what was then called the LGBA at the University of Pennsylvania. It was renamed the QSA the year after they left. Coincidence? Unlikely.

 

They are proud to have served on the board of NOLOSE, a fat-positive, queer, feminist organization dedicated to supporting radical fat acceptance and culture. Alex would like to thank the Black women and other amazing BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) folk of NOLOSE who raised their consciousness about race and how racism permeates our culture.

 

Alex is now a proud member of We Need Diverse Books, PEN America, and SCBWI.

 

Learn more about Alex Gino at www.alexgino.com

 

And purchase any one of Alex's books for you, your readers, a friend, or a library HERE.

 

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

 

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.

 

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

 

Jilly thinks she's figured out how life works. But when her sister, Emma, is born deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn. The world is going to treat Jilly, who is white and hearing, differently from Emma,
just as it will treat them both differently from their Black cousins.

A big fantasy reader, Jilly makes a connection online with
another fantasy fan, Derek, who is a Deaf, Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for help with Emma but doesn't always know the best way or time to ask for it.

As she and Derek meet in person, have some really fun conversations, and become friends, Jilly makes some mistakes . . . but comes to understand that it's up to her, not Derek to figure out how to do better next time--especially when she wants to be there for Derek the most. 

Within a world where kids like Derek and Emma aren't assured the same freedom or safety as kids like Jilly, Jilly is starting to learn all the things she doesn't know--and by doing that, she's also working to discover how to support her family and her friends. 

With You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P!, award-winning author Alex Gino uses their trademark humor, heart, and humanity to show readers how being open to
difference can make you a better person, and how being open to change can make you change in the best possible ways.

Dr. Laura Jimenez is currently a lecturer in Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. She teaches children’s literature courses that focus on both the reader and the text by using an explicit social justice lens. Her research focuses in two areas, the influence of motivation and aesthetics on reading comprehension; and the representation of mis-and under-representation in children’s and young adult literature with a special interest in graphic novels. Her scholarship appears in The Reading Teacher, Journal of Lesbian Studies, Teaching and Teacher Education, and the Journal of Literacy Research.

 

About Laura's BOOKTOSS blog:

"Welcome to Booktoss a blog where the serious business of reading in schools meets the absurd notion that research based literacy practices don’t have to suck the life out of literature.

 

Booktoss means we, the Literary Gatekeepers, need to be willing to see the problems with books and simply toss them aside. Yes. I said it. Toss the book aside. No burning or censoring (understand the difference between censoring and boycotting, please!). Just get rid of the racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist book and move on. Go and grab another book that doesn’t tear a hole in your heart. More and more these great books exist in libraries, online and bookstores. Books that show authentic characters being more than props for over-represented characters.

 

Then there are the books I want to keep, and hold, and pass on to kids and teachers. Books that provide authentic views of lives and people and events. Books that are complex, complicated, heartfelt and heartening. Because there are great authors that don’t need to tear down, dehumanize and objectify one community in order to make a point."

 

Learn more about Dr. Laura Jimenez at booktoss.blog

The idea for this episode came, in part, from a conversation with Lee Wind, author of the blog I'M HERE. I'M QUEER. WHAT THE HELL DO I READ?. Lee's debut YA novel is QUEER AS A FIVE-DOLLAR BILL.

Inspired by real historical evidence that Abraham Lincoln was in love—romantic love—with another man, this debut YA novel was too controversial for traditional publishing. Crowdfunded in six days with a successful Kickstarter campaign that ultimately 182 backers supported, QUEER AS A FIVE-DOLLAR BILL asks LGBTQ teens (and everyone else), What if you knew a secret from history that could change the world? Wyatt is fifteen, and nobody in his homophobic small town of Lincolnville, Oregon, knows that he's Gay. Not even his best friend (and accidental girlfriend) Mackenzie. Then he discovers a secret from actual history: Abraham Lincoln was in love with another guy! Since everyone loves Lincoln, Wyatt's sure that if the world knew about it, they would treat Gay people differently and it would solve everything about his life. So Wyatt outs Lincoln online, triggering a media firestorm that threatens to destroy everything he cares about—and he has to pretend more than ever that he's straight... Only then he meets Martin, who is openly Gay and who just might be the guy Wyatt's been hoping to find.

 

Listen to Lee Wind on The Children's Book Podcast (Episode #423)

 

 

SHOW NOTES:

 

 

ALEX AND LAURA'S "DON'T MISS" BOOKS: 

Bingo Love Volume 1 by Tee Franklin, Jenn St Onge, and Joy San 

Image Comics

 

When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-'60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.

 

From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER's "THE OUTFIT," Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem & the Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.

 

 

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Dial Books

 

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s a Fractional Persian—half, his mom’s side—and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life.

 

Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes. Soon, they’re spending their days together, playing soccer, eating faludeh, and talking for hours on a secret rooftop overlooking the city’s skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush—the original Persian version of his name—and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab.

 

Adib Khorram’s brilliant debut is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough—then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay.

 

 

When We Love Someone We Sing to Them: Cuando Amamos Cantamos by Ernesto Javier Martinez, Maya Christina Gonzalez, and Jorge Gabriel Martinez Feliciano (Translator)

Reflection Press

 

A reclamation of the Mexican serenata tradition, follow the story of a young boy who asks his father if there is a song for a boy who loves a boy. A bilingual story with illustrations (English/Spanish)

 

 

Neither by Airlie Anderson

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

 

In the Land of This and That, there are only two kinds: blue bunnies and yellow birds. But one day a funny green egg hatches, and a little creature that's not quite a bird and not quite a bunny pops out. It's neither!

 

Neither tries hard to fit in, but its bird legs aren't good for jumping like the other bunnies, and its fluffy tail isn't good for flapping like the other birds. It sets out to find a new home and discovers a very different place, one with endless colors and shapes and creatures of all kinds. But when a blue bunny and a yellow bird with some hidden differences of their own arrive, it's up to Neither to decide if they are welcome in the Land of All.

 

This colorful, simple, and touching story promotes diversity and offers a valuable lesson to the youngest of audiences: it is our differences that unite us.

 

 

 Jerome by Heart by Thomas Scotto, Olivier Tallec, and Claudia Bedrick (Translator)

Enchanted Lion Books

 

"Raphael loves Jerome. I say it. It's easy."

 

This story follows a little boy named Raphael, whose daily rhythm is steeped in his immense affection for his friend Jerome. The two boys share jokes and snacks and plan future adventures to the Himalayas. Even when Raphael's constant talk of Jerome is driving his parents crazy, he remains steadfast: "Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It's easy." And the truth is, when he's with Jerome, Raphael feels happy, liked, and understood-- even special. Thomas Scotto's simple, strong, and insightful prose and Olivier Tallec's delightful, expressive illustrations give much emotion and immediacy to the story.

 

 

Dear Rachel Maddow: A Novel by Adrienne Kisner

Feiwel & Friends

 

Brynn Haper's life has one steadying force--Rachel Maddow.

 

She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project--and actually getting a response--Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick's death, about her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she's stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out.

 

Then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. One student representative will be allowed to have a voice among the administration in the selection of a new school superintendent. Brynn's archnemesis, Adam, and ex-girlfriend, Sarah, believe only Honors students are worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position, the knives are out. So she begins to ask herself: What Would Rachel Maddow Do?

 

 

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Scholastic Press

 

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.

 

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and -- worst of all -- Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back.

 

But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend -- and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.

 

Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother -- before Caroline loses her forever.

 

 

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Arthur A. Levine Books

 

When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.

 

So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?

 

 

Black Wings Beating (The Skybound Saga #1) by Alex London

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 

The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

 

Brysen strives to be a great falconer—while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

 

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he's long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother's future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

 

In this first young-adult fantasy novel in a trilogy, Alex London launches a soaring saga about the memories that haunt us, the histories that hunt us, and the bonds of blood between us.

 

*This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links will support the costs of maintaining the podcast, webcomic, and other materials associated with this site. 

 

 

SHOUT OUT TO OUR PATRONS!

 

Thank you, JENNY SUE, AMY, SARA, KATE, LISA, DARSHANA, MARIANNE, JARRETT, ANITRA, MIKE, LYNN, LINK, CORRINA, CYNTHIA, ELAINE, DOUG, JUDI, AMANDA, RUTH, LARA, TERESA, and others who are coming with me on this journey. You’re welcome to join us. Just visit Patreon.com/matthewcwinner and pick the support tier that’s right for you. All the hugs and high fives for all of the many, many ways all of out there listening support this show.

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