I’ve been working on a new project this month that I’m very excited about, but I’m determined not to use it as an excuse to neglect my other endeavors. Instead, I’ll just take you guys along for the ride!
I’m starting work on my first middle reader novel. It is also my first totally fictional effort. I’m not bad with the semi-autobiographical, but this is new territory for me so I’m pretty nervous about it.
I’m working on a story that features an LGBTQ protagonist. Shouldn’t actually be all that groundbreaking, but there is a huge dearth of LGBTQ friendly books for kids who have graduated from easy chapter books but aren’t necessarily ready for most of YA. And that’s sad. Because the need is there. Kids are coming out earlier and earlier and finding no literary representation. No one is telling their stories. These kids don’t need the sex and the intense, life changing relationships of YA, but they do need someone to tell them it is totally normal if you’re a boy who wants to hold the hand of another boy or a girl who is crushing harder on Taylor Swift than on Taylor Lautner. Even more than that, they need to see that these LGBTQ characters do the same things normal characters do. They go to the mall and tell jokes and play sports and drink Frappucinos. They get in trouble and win science fairs and dance awkwardly at school functions. And it’s not just LGBT kids that need these books. ALL kids need to see diversity in their literature.
I’m sending in a sample of this new project to apply for a diversity grant. The grant helps support diverse writers while they are creating diverse books, but more than that, for me I think it would be confirmation that I am on the right track with this.
All my fingers and toes are crossed for good news!
What about all of you awesome readers? What’s a book you would have liked to read in middle school that didn’t (and maybe still doesn’t) exist? Let’s discuss!
First off, congratulations and well wishes on your book!
YES YES YES we need more LGBTQIA representation in books, especially for those middle readers!!!! I so 100% agree that people need to see those every day moments. It’s hard when you have no words to describe the way you feel inside, and you believe you’re the only one out there. Raising awareness like this is important work.
I think the closest I ever got to a book like that would be stuff by Judy Blume, maybe, but those were intended for hetero females.
Good on you for getting the word out there!
Thank you! Can I just tell you, the memories I am dredging up from those “super fun” middle school years are still some of my most awkward. All signs point to “Duh, you totally have a crush on that girl!” but I lived in denial land for a long time. Fingers crossed I can find the words to help at least one awkward kid avoid a little of that confusion.
And I totally get Judy Blume- Have you read Summer Sisters? It’s one of her adult novels, but I got my hands on it as a teenager and read it over and over. That probably contributed a little bit to my figuring things out. 🙂
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I actually haven’t read Summer Sisters, but I’ll add that to my list!
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