Here are a few books I checked out 10 months ago and have read over the past year! There are two books about Black teenagers, two graphic novels about Asian Americans, and one illustrated book called They Threw Us Away that I will be reading soon.
The Blue Flamingo by Dean Atta is a novel-in-verse about a a gay Jamaican-Greek teen growing up in London. It’s a story about coming out, and how it isn’t the moment you declare to the world that you are gay, but your entire life up until that point: The inquiry into your sexuality, what makes you feel like yourself, and what the people around you say about gender. I love when Michael joined the Drag Society and got to present himself. I found the part before he came out to be the most touching–all the moments when he wanted to play with femininity and the risks that incurred. Thank you, Dean Atta, for this amazing book! A straight-forward plot can still be a compelling book.
Displacement by Kiku Hughes is a flashback to WWII Japanese internment camps. The background is the anti-immigration rhetoric and xenophobia post-2016, and the flashbacks are Japanese American life in the camps when the narrator spends time with her grandmother. It’s not only about the loss of civil liberties, but also how people organized and resisted inside the camps. History might present great oppressions happening just as they are, but there is always resistance. People recognized that what was happening to them was wrong, and they fought it, just as people will continue to do.
Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte, illustrated by Ann Xu is about Cici! She moved with her family from Taiwan to Seattle, and she plans to earn her A-Ma’s ticket to the States by winning a kids’ cooking contest. It has all my favorite ingredients of middle grade: a quest, a protagonist with a lot of heart, things not going your way, and unlikely allies and friends.
Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles–I’m reading this now and will update when I’m done.