Sometimes in publishing, there is bad news. When the world is in midst of a pandemic and publishing is struggling, that bad news is sometimes not as unexpected as it might otherwise be. So I was surprised and disappointed but not completely shocked when I got the call from CBAY that they would be unable to publish Detours after all. That means that for now, Shortcuts will not have a published sequel. Sorry, Parker and friends! And I'm sorry to those of who you enjoyed book 1 and were looking forward to book 2.
However, I'm hopeful that down the road, it'll be made available in one way or another. In the meantime, I'll be removing the book's page on my website (and hopefully Goodreads) until the day that it is again on the schedule to be published.
Sadness, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I will keep you posted!
1. The Stonewall Book Awards list is the American Library Association award for books that do an exemplary job representing LGTBQ+ experiences. It is a set of 3 awards given annually for literature, nonfiction, and children’s and young adult literature. You can find all winners and honorable mentions at the ALA page here. This page includes adult and children’s lists and is a little visually overwhelming. So if you are specifically seeking books for young readers, lists that include just the children and YA winners may be easier.
For example, Vanderbilt University has a really nice Library Research Guide on Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards that includes a page on the Children’s and YA Stonewall Book Award. This page clearly and simply displays the winner and honor book each year, with covers and blurbs. You do not need to be enrolled to access this Library Guide (sometimes called LibGuides), at least not at this time. Many colleges and universities will have LibGuides like these for their students majoring in Education.
2. The Rainbow Books List specifically looks at books for young readers and provides excellent titles in picture books, middle grade, and YA. Their yearly lists go back to 2008 and is selected by the Rainbow Book List Committee of the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association. From their website: “The List is a curated bibliography highlighting books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content, aimed at children and youth from birth to age 18. This List is intended to aid youth and those working with youth in selecting high-quality books.”
3. Many local libraries curate books and resources and often publish those lists for the public. So even if you don’t live near a certain library, you can still build your to-read list from their curated suggestions.
For example, the Hennepin County Library has a great list of middle grade LGTBQ+ inclusive books here.
Some libraries will also include spine stickers that will notate award winners.
4. The website Welcoming Schools has a wonderful list of LGBTQ inclusive material for young readers, including picture books and middle grade. Welcoming Schools is a national professional development program to help elementary school educators create an inclusive, safe classroom for LGTBQ+ students.
Last year, eight of the ten Most Challenged Books were books related to LGBTQ+ content and many of them are books geared for children. Having books available that show kids from diverse backgrounds, to include LGTBQ+, helps all students feel safe and valued as members of their local community.
5. The LGBTQ+ list at the Social Justice Books. This website has many excellent book lists and their LGBTQ+ list is one of them.
Books that have been reviewed by the website have an asterisk next to them.
If you saw my last post on social justice book lists, you will recognize this website--it's a wonderful resource.
Reading serves many purposes. It affirms our own experiences but also teach us about the lived experiences of others, building compassion, empathy, and understanding.
Diverse books are important to read all year long, but if some of these LGTBQ+ books aren’t on your to-read list, Pride Month is a great time to consider adding them!
Social Justice Booklists
I have seen a lot of parents and educators asking how they can best engage with their kids and students about the issue of social justice in America. Books are always a powerful tool. Reading together brings up conversation and other perspectives. Here are some resources that list some great books, both fiction and nonfiction.
3. Brain Lair Books has a great list on Bookshop.org, which a website to boost online sales for indie booksellers as an alternative to other online shopping giants.
This book list called "This List is Anti-Racist." It's full of excellent books--check it out!
4. School Library Journal has shared a number of good resources. Their latest post on social media included an educator's guide to the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi.
You can download the guide for free. To learn more about this book, read this interview with the authors.
5. The Brown Book Shelf is an organization that supports Black authors writing for young readers. Along with their website, you can find them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Give them a follow!
They are hosting a Kitlit Rally for Black Lives on June 4th led by award-winning authors Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson, and Jason Reynolds. It will be recording it for those unable to attend Live and ASL interpretation will be provided. I'm not sure how long the recording will be available, but I'm looking forward to listening and learning!
6. The book Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, published by Dottir Press, is being offered as a free PDF download through June 19, 2020.
Even once this free offer ends, this book will remain an excellent picture book to get and read. The image to the side is a screenshot of their website: https://www.dottirpress.com/
There are other social justice book lists aimed at adults--those are awesome, too, not to mention some amazing people to follow on social media who teach and share about these issues. But as someone who writes for young readers, I wanted to focus on published resources to support these important conversations with young people.
Thanks for your time. Love to all of you,
To young readers, I hope I can offer a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of school, friendships, and life.