It’s time for the 3rd annual roundup of star-studded LGBTQIA+ titles for kids and teens. While stars aren’t everything (especially not to youth), I think it’s interesting to see the types of books that receive praise. Once I have five years of information, I may even write something a bit more in depth. Until then, here is a list!
A quick comparison from last year’s list shows a decrease in the number of starred reviews: 105 titles received at least 1 star (89 in 2018, 152 in 2019) and 16 titles received 3+ stars (26 in 2018, 38 in 2019). Due to the pandemic, it could be that fewer titles were reviewed or that publication dates were pushed back. Or it could be that, after the boom of LGBTQIA+ publishing in recent years, journals are more reluctant to give stars. For more statistics fun beyond stars and LGBTQIA+ identities, check out the CCBC findings.
Since the ALA Youth Media Award announcement on Monday, January 25, I’ve seen Michaela Goade’s name and her beautiful, defiant cover art for We Are Water Protectors (written by Carole Lindstrom) everywhere. Each time, it fills me with joy. Goade—the first Indigenous (Tlingit) woman and BIPOC woman to win—deserves every bit of this moment. I’m proud to have been part of the 2021 Caldecott committee that chose her book. I also acknowledge there’s still work to be done, since it took a committee 84 years to award a BIPOC woman its highest honor.
I stepped away from Medal on My Mind last year and am continuing to do so again this year. But I had a draft of this list and wanted to get it out there, even though it’s old news. A quick comparison from last year’s list shows nearly double the number of starred reviews: 152 titles received at least 1 star (89 in 2018) and 38 titles received 3+ stars (26 in 2018). Also worth noting, one starred, #ownvoices book by an LGBTQIA+ author was withdrawn from publication—not for its LGBTQIA+ content, but for “problematic representation of the Kosovo War, genocide, and Muslim characters.”
It’s been a long time since I last posted something. I always mean to, and then I never get around to it. Before when I would blog, it was to place value on things I was doing in a job I didn’t love. Today, I’m compelled to capture the inspiration I feel from attending ALA Virtual 2020. Inspiration feels like something to hold onto, now that COVID-19 has changed our industry—possibly even forever, depending on who you ask.
I tried writing an in-depth post, but found the task of capturing everything impossible. Instead, I’m sharing the email I sent to my entire library today. I’ve redacted specific details related to my library, and in lieu of presentation slides I’m linking to the ALSC Blog recaps where appropriate.
Over at Medal on My Mind, we’ve been hard at work sifting through all the titles eligible for the Stonewall Book Award this year. I created a Goodreads list of 2018 LGBTQIA+ children’s and YA lit to track all the titles. Then I decided it would be fun to embark on a little research project and concurrently track the number of those books that receive starred reviews. I’m no statistician, but it’s been super interesting to see how our choices for Stonewall compare with what the journals rank highest. Not to mention the types of stories, the kinds of identities, and the authors who are prized most.