August 31, 2015

Support LGBTQ Media: FIERCE! The Movie and Rainbow Boxes

I've been contacted recently about two great projects that you can support.

First, on Kickstarter, is FIERCE! The Movie. FIERCE! is a documentary by Zoe Davis, chronicling the journey of a group of British drag queens to an inaugural drag festival in Austin, Texas in a landmark year for marriage equality.

The crew says the following about the movie and their need for donations to finish production:

Throughout history, drag artists have been at the forefront of the fight for equality, tirelessly campaigning for the rights of LGBT people and using performance and humour to break through prejudice. We want to make a beautiful film that honours the rich culture of drag and the work of these artists who have been so instrumental in influencing and inspiring change. We also want to document this break-through time for LGBT equality, and perhaps even help change a few perceptions along the way!

In our lifetimes, history is rarely made in such a genuine, awe-inspiring and moving way. As the fight for equality continues, we will continue to film that inspiration and promise to deliver it the world over. But we need your help to do it!

Second, on IndieGoGo, is Rainbow Boxes by authors Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Carpetta.  They've curated boxes of fifteen LGBTQ-interest young adult novels to send to community libraries, GSAs, and homeless shelters serving LGBTQ youth throughout the country.  They want to put books with messages of hope into the hands of the teens that need them most.  They'll also be buying the books from indie booksellers.

If you have a bit of spare change, both of these are wonderful projects that could use your support.

August 27, 2015

Review: Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger By Rebecca Stead
Available now from Wendy Lamb Books (Penguin Random House)
Review copy

Rebecca Stead won the Newbery Award for her second novel and became the first non-British author to win the Guardian Award for her third novel.  It's quite the pedigree, so expectations are understandably high for GOODBYE STRANGER, her fourth novel.

GOODBYE STRANGER mostly focuses on a group of thirteen-year old girls.  Like its protagonists straddle the world of children and teens, GOODBYE STRANGER straddles middle grade and YA.  It is a book that lives in liminal spaces.  Bridge, who narrates the most often, survived a horrific accident and has internalized that that means she's meant for more.  But more what? 

Her best friends Emily and Tabitha seem to be growing away from her, and all three struggle to navigate the changes in their friendship.  Emily has physically matured the fastest, and she's getting resulting attention from guys.  Tabitha, meanwhile, has fallen into the first blush of feminist fervor.  Sherm is a boy who tells most of his story through letters to his grandfather that he doesn't seem.  An unnamed narrator tells her story aside from the others, in a different time and an older place but still struggling with past friends and who she wants to be with or without them.

The threads of Bridge, Sherm, and You's stories come together in delightful ways.  Stead writes with a deft lightness that conceals just how much work she's doing to make all the pieces fit.  It also helps keep the book suitable for younger readers while appealing to older ones.  The darkest storyline in GOODBYE STRANGER involves scandalous photos texted between an underage girl and guy.  It's tackled perhaps with too much optimism, but I liked how the consequences and hurt were dealt with in a way that made it clear that made it clear that many dumb decisions were made but that it wasn't wrong for the girl to have sexual feelings.

GOODBYE STRANGER is another terrific novel from a celebrated author in children's fiction.  There's definitely a reason to get excited about a release from Stead.

August 26, 2015

Welcome Bodleian Children's Books!

Bodleian Library Publishing has launched the Bodleian Children's Books imprint, which will be distributed by University of Chicago Press in the US.

The press release says that this imprint will focus on forgotten gems and beautifully illustrated volumes.  I don't know about you, but I'm hoping for something that will rival The New York Review Children's Collection.  (Which, by the way, has several books on sale for the summer.)

The first two books published by Bodleian Children's Books will be Penguin’s Way and Whale’s Way by Johanna Johnston and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard. The 2016 list includes Veronica by Roger Duvoisin and The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff.

(via Shelf Awareness)

August 25, 2015

Review: Space Dumplins

Space Dumplins By Craig Thompson
Available now from Graphix (Scholastic)
Review copy

Craig Thompson is the author of numerous acclaimed graphic novels, including BLANKETS and HABIBI.  His first graphic novel for young readers is a heartwarming tale of family, both the kind you're born with and the kind you find, and whale diarrhea.   All in all, it's a space adventure that all ages can enjoy.

Violet, her mother, and father live happily in a space trailer park.  He salvages whale poop, which is used for energy.  Her mother works in fashion and just got a job on a satellite, a job that could move their family up in the world.  I think the class conflicts that run through SPACE DUMPLINS are well done.  There are arguments kids might've heard in their own homes, but translated into space (which makes everything more exciting).  The environmental themes are also presented well, just goofy enough not to be overly heavy handed.

My favorite thing about this graphic novel might be all the puns.  I think I'm going to have to read it again to make sure that I get all of them.  There's a lot of cleverness flying about in the text and the images.  Thompson's space is a busy place, full of activity and bright colors.  (The contrasting colors make it easier to see what's happening.)  There's all sorts of details to distract and catch your eye.  I think the hyperactive style suits the wackiness of the story as well as the age group.

I don't think SPACE DUMPLINS will be a graphic-novel classic like BLANKETS or HABIBI.  But it is fun, sweet, and silly.  That makes it a pretty appealing read.

August 19, 2015

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Legend of Lyon Redmond

Legend of Lyon Redmond "Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

I've been rereading the Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long, and I am now pumped for the release of THE LEGEND OF LYON REDMOND.  Long has been building up to this one throughout the series.

With ten books so far, the series has been up and down.  But when Long is on, there are few better.  I really hope this one is as winning as its cover.

Bound by centuries of bad blood, England's two most powerful families maintain a veneer of civility . . . until the heir to the staggering Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.

An Enduring Legend

Rumor has it she broke Lyon Redmond's heart. But while many a man has since wooed the dazzling Olivia Eversea, none has ever won her—which is why jaws drop when she suddenly accepts a viscount's proposal. Now London waits with bated breath for the wedding of a decade . . . and wagers on the return of an heir.

An Eternal Love

It was instant and irresistible, forbidden . . . and unforgettable. And Lyon—now a driven, dangerous, infinitely devastating man—decides it's time for a reckoning. As the day of her wedding races toward them, Lyon and Olivia will decide whether their love is a curse destined to tear their families apart . . . or the stuff of which legends are made


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