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Told through the eyes of Jack(ie)'s older sister Susan, Jack (Not Jackie) is a compassionate look at gender variance in young children. Susan is so excited to have a little sister but slowly it becomes clear that Jack(ie) isn't interested in the same things Susan is. After many instances of Susan trying to correct her younger sibling's gendered preferences (with gentle reminders from her parents that it's "Not wrong, just different" and "We wear what feels right"), Jackie finally makes it clear he is a boy and wishes to be called Jack. Although initially upset, Susan realizes her younger brother Jack is still the same sweet and giggly kid he always was. Complete with resources in the back so parents can continue these conversations with each other and their kids, Jack (Not Jackie) is an important addition to the growing genre of pictures books tackling the issue of trans and gender variant children with insight and compassion.
The Land of This and That doesn't have room for Neither, the not-quite blue bunny, not-quite yellow bird born from a green egg. Neither by Airlie Anderson follows Neither as it tries and fails to fit in with the blue bunnies and yellow birds of the Land of This and That. Eventually, Neither leaves and finds the Land of All, where everyone belongs and no one is too different or weird to fit in. Using colorful illustrations and sparse language, Neither invites us all to consider the complexities of our differences and find acceptance not despite, but because of them.
From the very first page of Adjei-Brenyah's debut collection of short stories you are drawn into his surreal yet all-too-real world. By creating an exaggerated and expansive world, Adjei-Brenyah first sends you off on a fictional journey until he suddenly rips you back to reality by pulling apart the visceral experiences of racism, poverty, loss, capitalism, and violence. The conclusion of the very first story will leave you haunted yet ready to see what else he has to say. Friday Black is a stunning debut from a young writer whose unique voice is an important addition to literature.
Flocks is a graphic memoir about faith, sexuality, gender, love, and what it means to belong. Nichols grew up in Louisiana in a conservative Baptist church and community. Struggling from an early age with feelings of queerness, Nichols eventually manages to escape Louisiana to go to college, but still struggles with identity. Flocks holds close all of Nichols' formative experiences and the confusion and deep emotional pain they caused, while respecting their significance and the ways in which they formed and continue to influence Nichols' worldview. A deeply affecting work that doesn't shy away from the complexities of systems of belief and the power they hold over us all.
During a dreary summer trip to the Swiss Alps with Lord Byron and Mary Shelley's husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Frankenstein was conceived as part of a little contest the three writers devised to occupy their time. Allegedly appearing to Shelley in a dream, Frankenstein originated the sci-fi genre by successfully pulling from then-current scientific thought to present a new type of horror never seen before. This deftly conceived epistolary novel follows Dr. Frankenstein as he conceives of and then creates The Monster. Once brought to life however, the Doctor flees in disgust at his own creation. Having been immediately rejected by his creator, The Monster begins a quest to hunt down the Doctor just as Frankenstein determines to do the same. Encompassing questions of monstrosity, creation, self-awareness, and the limits of science vs. nature, it is no wonder that Frankenstein has become a literary and pop culture classic.
Cookbooks are generally useful and can be informative if cooking is something you’re interested in, but for most people it’s probably not the type of book you actually want to sit down and read like any other book. Not so with this one. What Samin Nosrat manages to do in Salt Fat Acid Heat is to actually teach you what makes good food good and how you can accomplish that yourself. And she does so with the ease of not only a seasoned chef, but a knowledgeable teacher and writer as well. With the illustrations of Wendy MacNaughton to lend a visual aid to her recipes and teachings, Nosrat breaks down all good cooking into the four basic titular elements of salt, fat, acid, and heat alongside her own personal love affair with food. This truly may be one of the most important cookbooks to add to your collection and one you’ll return to again and again, not just for the great recipes, but for the wealth of knowledge held within its pages. And now you can also watch it as a show on Netflix! (But do buy the book and read it as well.)
Neighbor cat friends Niblet and Ralph bear a striking resemblance to each other so when simultaneously decide to try and visit each other, they accidentally switch places and end up stuck in each other's apartments. Only their child companions realize they're not the same cats. Ralph loves listening to music on headphones and Niblet loves eating chips, so when the cats suddenly don’t love their favorite things, the kids go out looking for their lost cats and bang! They run into each other. They realize they’re neighbors and that their cats have been best friends this whole time! The sweetest tale of two quirky cats and their initially failed but ultimately successful attempt to just hang out with each other and how they bring their two families together. And the illustration of Niblet (mistaken for Ralph) wearing headphones is only one of the cutest images in this adorably heartwarming book.
A stunning graphic memoir tracing Bechdel's coming of age in her family's Funeral ("Fun") Home, Fun Home brings the reader into the family dynamics and secrets surrounding her late father. Grappling with her childhood and sexuality alongside her father's secret affairs with men, Bechdel utilizes literary allusions and self-reflection to link her personal history to a larger conversation regarding familial secrets and dysfunction. Not just for fans of the graphic novel format, Fun Home expands the concepts of what both graphica and memoir can be.
Kate Tempest’s newest collection of poetry chronicles the dissolution of her marriage from end to beginning. Her approachable style pulls you into the midst of her relationship, shown in flickering memories as well as observations of the seemingly mundane. Just as you come to grips with the end, she brings you slowly back to the beginning, and then you truly feel her sense of loss. This reverse structure illuminates the patterns we repeat in our lives and relationships; the experience of plodding over ground you’ve seen before, heavy with a feeling of never changing and escaping out of these cycles. Right at the last moment, she leaves you with the title poem (pulled from James Joyce in Dubliners), replacing this inertia with a note of hope, of change. This quick but powerful read will leave you going back again and again to find more hidden within these short poems and is for anyone who has loved and lost only to love again.
Multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya dives deep into her experiences with gendered violence, both before and after coming out as a trans woman. She explores not only the violence she has been subjected to but also her complicity in upholding patriarchy and how sexism is taught and internalized by people of all genders. By exploring her experiences on both sides of this equation as well as how gender is racialized, Shraya complicates what gendered violence means and where it comes from. Hailed as 'essential reading' by musicians Tegan and Sara, Vivek Shraya's short but powerful new book is a meditation on not only what it is to be a trans woman of color today, but also what it is to have gender at all and how we are all complicit in and harmed by our current social and cultural conceptions of gender.
This translated collection of interwoven short stories follows Maud, a highly independent elderly lady with a large inherited apartment. Comfortable in her simple, isolated life of routine and world travel, she is thrown for a loop when a new, famous woman moves into her building and begins attempting to become Maud's friend. Realizing this woman is in fact trying to scam Maud out of her much larger apartment, Maud takes drastic action in order to save her home. Out of chronological order, the other stories in this collection chart Maud's ability to play into everyone's expectations that she is an infirm, hard of hearing old spinster who couldn't possibly have a malicious bone in her body. She manages to escape unscathed each time until a body is discovered in her own apartment. Will she manage to escape suspicion once again or will the detectives realize she might just know more than she lets on? Full of fun (and a little bit of gore), this small book will leave you laughing while you’re also biting your nails with worry about what’s going to happen to little old Maud.
When Fiona and Finn’s father suddenly dies in a car crash, their lives are turned upside down. Searching for ways to deal with their loss, their friend Luke recommends spending time at a local animal shelter. There they find the comfort of two dogs, Emma and Jenny, who need Fiona and Finn just as much as they need them. While on their journey through their grief they find out new ways their father, a psychologist, had touched different peoples’ lives and with those other peoples’ memories, they learn new facets of what made their father the wonderful person he was. Filled with the complicated nature of sudden loss as well as truly important lessons about dealing with emotions and life in general, this new book from acclaimed author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, will leave you with a gentle sense of just how much we all (both humans and dogs) can affect and change one another for the better. And, if you’ve ever dealt with grief, it will perhaps leave you feeling just a little bit less alone. For ages 8-12.
Wondering what all this pronoun business is about? Want some concrete ways to talk to people about your own pronouns? Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson have created this handy, fun,and quick guide to help you understand gender neutral pronouns (specifically they/them) and how to talk to people about them if those are the pronouns you use. With humor and understanding, Bongiovanni and Jimerson explore how to use they/them pronouns and why it's important to use them, not just for people who specifically use those pronouns, but also in such circumstances as ridding yourself of gendered language while working in the service industry. Coming from two different places in relation to they/them pronouns - Bongiovanni is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns and Jimerson is cisgender and does not - they explain why misgendering people is not okay and hurtful as well as how to be a good cisgender ally to nonbinary people. A fun and fast read, this guide is indispensable for both cisgender and nonbinary folks alike.
The first graphic novel to be longlisted for the Booker Prize, Sabrina charts reactions following the disappearance and murder of the titular character. Seen mostly through the eyes of her boyfriend and his childhood friend, we see the media reaction when a video of her death is publicly released. From horror to skepticism, the reactions frame the rest of the narrative. Drnaso manages to create a prescient depiction of our current moment showing the 24/7 news cycle inundated with constant tragedy-cum-mundanity and how that affects those personally involved in such a public tragedy. Sure enough, as soon as there is a new violent horror to be reported, most people move on, forgetting Sabrina and leaving her loved ones and those invested in her story to figure out how to carry on.
This debut memoir from activist, writer, and producer Jacob Tobia is a vivid and brilliant portrayal of being a non-binary trans feminine person. With incredible grace and humor, Tobia charts their life thus far from early childhood and relative gender freedom through adolescence and the pressure to enact masculinity and maleness and finally, the process of returning to their femininity and coming into their true gender and self. Throughout this memoir they speak candidly and intelligently about the erasure of gender nonconforming people, the oppressive nature of the gender binary, and the constant battle to be seen that comes with inhabiting a non-binary gender alongside the triumphs of being a young and successful gender nonconforming person. Tobia's clear, smart, and humorous writing will draw any reader in and open you up to their world and experiences. If you don't feel seen and need to feel understood, read this book. If you're having trouble wrapping your head around non-binary gender identities and/or want to know more, read this book. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be inspired to go out and be your true self to the fullest extent.