cover image This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us

This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us

Edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby. Knopf, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-5933-0394-8

In this stellar middle grade anthology, editors and contributors Locke (What Are Your Words?) and Melleby (How to Become a Planet) assemble the works of 16 authors whose pieces present a wide range of LGBTQ experiences across genres and formats. In Justina Ireland’s “I Know the Way,” the story of a Black seventh grader’s contemporary queer crush intertwines with a narrative about two enslaved women seeking freedom in Civil War Maryland. Aida Salazar’s “Menudo Fan Club,” the volume’s sole poem, captures the melancholy of a speaker who is the only queer girl she knows. Some stories, such as “The Makeover,” a comic by Shing Yin Khor, center on self-discovery and community; others, including “Petra & Pearl,” Lisa Bunker’s tale of two online friends realizing that they’re trans, portray the pain of experiencing bigotry. In Katherine Locke’s “The Wish & the Wind Dragon,” the nonbinary pirate protagonist’s gender feels incidental to the narrative. Intersectionally inclusive casts include characters of various abilities and ethnicities as well as kids who both name their identities and seem content without labels. The result is a strong amalgam of confidently written portraits that consider the joys, pains, and complexities that can come with being young and queer. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Oct.)