2010 Lammy Award Finalists

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School Library Journal has the story that the 2010 Lammy Award Finalists have been announced.  The Lambda Literary Award is given to books that show excellence in the field of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender literature.  The nominees for children’s and teen literature are:

Ash by Malinda Lo

How Beautiful the Ordinary edited by Michael Cart

In Mike We Trust by P. E. Ryan

Sprout by Dale Peck

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

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In Our Mothers’ House

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

A joyous look at a family with two mothers and children of all different colors, this book is filled with laughter and love.  Children who live in all sorts of families will find themselves at home here as we learn about favorite sun-filled rooms, the surprise of puppies, building a treehouse, and a colorful blockparty.  The book basks in normalcy, family and everyday moments that mean so much to children.  There is a moment when a neighbor expresses her fear about their lifestyle, but that incident too is handled with a gentleness and grace that marks this entire picture book.  As the children grow into adulthood, we get to see the wonderful job of parenting come to fruition.  Most picture books would not need this button at the end, but in this case, it was important to underline this. 

Polacco has created a complete vision of a family here.  Readers get to see them be together for important events and everyday moments.  Her writing invites us into their lives, demonstrates their love for each other and their children, and leaves us hoping that we as parents can do this well.  Children of gay and lesbian parents will find this book a wonderful mirror of their lives, celebrating what two parents of any sex can create in a family.  Polacco’s art enhances the story, underlining the warmth and love that is inherent in the book.

An important book to have in public libraries, this is a real celebration of families and the many forms they come in.  Appropriate for ages 5-9.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Gay & Lesbian Graphic Novels

Library Journal has a great roundup of graphic novels where either the superhero is gay or the novels feature leading LGBT characters or themes.  Though I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, some of my favorites are on the list:

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (a great graphic novel from last year)

Pedro and Me by Judd Winick (one of the first graphic novels I ordered in my small library at the time!)

Any of your favorites on the list? 

The Vast Fields of Ordinary

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

Dade just graduated from high school and his entire life has reached a breaking point.  He has a horrible job at Food World, his parents should be divorced but are hanging on until he leaves for college, and his “boyfriend” Pablo is so far in the closet that he has a girlfriend and won’t acknowledge Dade in public.  Dade drifts through his summer in a haze of marijuana and booze, living in that strange world between high school and college.  On the way he finds both a first true friend, a real boyfriend, and his own voice. 

This book is about making connections and the amazing moments in life that come from making that first leap into fear.  Burd’s writing is a wonderful mix of straight-forward prose and then buttons on the ends of the chapters that rise to another level.  He writes emotional scenes without reveling in the drama but also without denying the emotions that young men feel. 

Dade is a great character who is confused, lost and entirely himself.  He is a person that straight and gay people will relate to easily.  Burd writes beautifully of first love and how tentative it is.  Readers will finally get to read a book where gay teen sexuality is embraced.  Beautifully written, the sexual passages read just like any straight sex scene in a teen novel.  Thank goodness!

Highly recommended, this book offers a gloriously normal but profound look at a gay teen.  Appropriate for ages 16-18.