Hello out there to all my book seeking friends! Today we’re going to take a look at a few books from a genre that tends to get overlooked, or worse, totally rejected. That’s right, today we are going to bravely quest into the nonfiction section.
Now nonfiction gets a pretty bum rap. The topic is boring! The writers use too much jargon! It puts me to sleep!
If you find yourself thinking any of those things, hey, you might be right. Or maybe, just maybe, you may not have stumbled upon the kind of awesome nonfiction that’s been being published recently. All of those publishers heard the collective yawns of a million bored kids and finally figured out how to do something about it. The newest books on the nonfiction shelves are full of crazy stories about pretty much anything you can imagine. And the writers are doing more than just spouting off a bunch of dull facts. They’re telling some amazing stories. In fact, I’m going to talk about a few of them here today.
First, for the youngest among us, here’s a brilliant picture book .
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
So what’s it about? This book is the absolutely true story of two Central Park penguins who formed a lifetime bond and of the humans that help them go from a couple to a family.
What Makes It Queer? Well, the two bonded penguins happen to be male, which makes a darn good argument for nature over nurture.
How Awesome Is It? Two enthusiastic flippers up! Because you’d have to have a heart of ice not to love a story like this one.
Now for those of you stuck in that space between picture books and young adult books, don’t worry. I promise not to forget about you. For my tween crew, a compilation of stories from all kinds of different people.
It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living by Dan Savage and Terry Miller
So what’s it about? This book is a collection of stories from all kinds of people who managed to get through their teen years and want to share the message that you can too. This book came about after a video project by the author went super viral. Even now, videos are still being submitted regularly at http://www.itgetsbetter.org/. I highly recommend taking a look at some of the videos, especially if you are struggling with coming out or being bullied as an LGBTQ+ person. Being young can be really flipping tough and sometimes it helps to know that other people have made it through the same things and are rooting for you, too.
What Makes It Queer? This book is full of the stories of queer folks who have overcome some big life stuff and gone on to write about it. It is also full of encouragement from friends and allies who may not have experienced all that big stuff first hand, but who want you to know that there are always going to be people you can turn to when things might not be going so well.
How Awesome Is It? This book has the potential to save a life and that makes it exponentially more awesome than I could possibly ever describe.
And finally, for my young adults.
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
So what’s it about? This is a collection of stories shared by transgender teens. The individuals who share their stories talk about coming out and transitioning, about how their families and friends respond and about what it feels like to live in their skin. These teens are open and honest and are generous enough to share some deeply personal experiences. Some of the stories are happy, some not so much, but all give a voice to the transgender community that deserves to be heard.
What Makes It Queer? I think this one might be fairly self-explanatory.
How Awesome Is It? This book is as awesome as the teens in it are brave.Which is to say extremely awesome. If you fall somewhere on the gender spectrum outside of cisgender, read this book and see what resonates. If you identify as cisgender, read this book and see what resonates. There are some things that trans folks are going to relate to more and some broader themes about identity and belonging that come up that all of us can relate to.
So there you go. Some nonfiction choices to help you brave those neglected shelves again! Now go forth and read!
(Oh, and come back soon. We’ll be checking out dystopian fiction and poetry over the next couple weeks and it’s gonna be great!)