. . . Q-R-S . . . Q is for QUEER THERE AND EVERYWHERE author Sarah Prager!

I met Sarah Prager this past summer at OutWrite!, an LGBTQ+ literary festival sponsored by the DC Center for the LGBT Community.  Sarah is the author of Queer There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World. You DEFINITELY need to check this one out!

 

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Sarah and I did a panel presentation at OutWrite! called “Hidden Histories,” where we talked about how we share our collective queer histories through our writing. I talked about the research I did to gather information for my picture book biography of Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, When You Look Out the Window.

Here’s a photo of us, proudly showing off our books.

 

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Those big smiles on our faces? Part of that is the afterglow of just having seen – and touched – a necklace and a shawl owned by José Sarria. Sarah and I fangirled HARD over this. It was a bonding moment, let me tell you.

 

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I asked Sarah, “What does feminism mean to you?” This is what she said:

Equity! We should all have equal opportunities and rights regardless of gender. I say equity instead of equality because different genders sometimes have different needs so getting equal opportunities and rights may not look exactly the same for everyone. For example, a person who can get pregnant needs certain benefits and protections that a person who can’t get pregnant doesn’t need. These aren’t “special rights” – they are what are needed for equity. If you are of a privileged gender (male, cisgender), please speak up for those less privileged. Feminism needs everyone!

Yes, feminism needs everyone! Thank you, Sarah!

 

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Sarah Prager is the author of Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World, a young adult book published by HarperCollins in May 2017 that tells the true stories of queer people from history from the 200s to the 2000s. The book has received three starred reviews (including the Kirkus Star), a nomination for a New England Book Award, and is an official selection of the Junior Library Guild. Sarah is also the creator of the Quist mobile app which shows its thousands of users what happened on this day in LGBTQ+ history. An activist and writer who has spoken on queer history across four countries, Sarah lives in Connecticut with her wife and daughter. More information at www.sarahprager.com.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!

 

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. . . L-M-N-O-P . . . O is for OUCH! MOMENTS author Michael Genhart!

Michael Genhart is another Magination Press author whose books frequently address social justice issues. OUCH! MOMENTS , for example, educates children and adults about the harmful effects of microaggressions (subtle insults, hostilities, and negatives, both intentional and unintentional, against members of a marginalized group). His upcoming book, I SEE YOU, is a wordless picture book that depicts the all-too-frequent invisibility of  people who are experiencing homelessness.

 

Given that sexism intersects with so many other forms of marginalization, I wondered what Michael might have to say on the subject of feminism. When I asked him, “What does feminism mean to you?” here’s what he said:

Many -ism words are those you’d not want associated with who you are (e.g., racism, sexism, classism). Feminism is also a word that for some people you might get a strong reaction upon hearing, “I believe in feminism.” It can conjure up ideas of radical politics and divisiveness held by left-leaning women and their supporters.

To me, at the core of feminism, when you remove any negative associations to the word, is a belief that women and men should share equality across all areas of life – socially, economically, politically, etc. And anyone can be a feminist: men and women alike can hold such beliefs. Because it’s a about fighting for equal rights for all people – where no one is a second-class citizen.

So many people associate the word “feminism” with something bad or negative – even though feminism is really about equity, fairness, and humanity. This is a point I expand on in the chapter titled “R is for RADICAL.” But Michael’s right – feminism is all about enjoying social, economic, and political power. All of us should have access to that!

Thanks, Michael, for your response!

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Michael Genhart, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco and Mill Valley, California. He lives with his family in Marin County.
He received his BA in psychology from the University of California, San Diego and his PhD in clinical and community psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of several picture books including: Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways (2016), Peanut Butter & Jellyous (2017), Mac & Geeeez! (2017), Cake & I Scream! (2017), So Many Smarts! (2017), and I See You (2017), all from Magination Press, as well as Love Is Love (Little Pickle Press/Sourcebooks, 2018). You can read more about these books at: http://www.michaelgenhart.com.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is available for pre-order now!

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. . . L-M-N-O-P . . . M is for A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS author Jessica Taylor!

I met Jessica Taylor a few years ago at a local SCBWI event, where she was a workshop presenter. I’m sure her presentation was chock-full of good information. But I took away only one thing from her workshop – the fact that she completed a law degree, then walked away from a potential law career to write full time.

WOW.

A MAP FOR WRECKED GIRLS is Jessica’s second novel. See what happens when you follow your dreams?

 

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Here’s how Jessica responded to the question, “What does feminism mean to you?”

As a twelve-year-old girl, after a boy was sexually aggressive toward me, I first became aware of the concept that men would feel they had a right to my body—that my body wasn’t my own—simply because I was female. More than anything in the world, I wanted this not to be so, even if I couldn’t find a word to describe that feeling. Later in life, the word feminism became a word to hang my hope upon.

The more distance I got from my oppressive and conservative hometown—both emotionally and physically—I could more clearly see the ways different kinds of discrimination overlap and combine. It was at that point that my feminism became what I considered to be intersectional, a diverse group coming together to strive for equality. That ideal may feel farther out of reach than ever, but feminism is once again a word brimming with what we all need most in these dark times—hope.

Thank you, Jessica!

 

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Jessica Taylor adores atmospheric settings, dangerous girls, and characters whosneak out late at night. She started her first novel-length writing attempt in the middle of finals during her second year of law school, and over those three weeks managed to finish it. That first embarrassing effort is now locked away, just like her grades from that semester. Throughout college, she worked as a cosmetic artist and through law school as a certified legal intern for the Sacramento District Attorney’s office. Desperately she tried to tuck away her creative side and embrace something more sensible, but even when she wasn’t committing words to paper, she still found herself writing—in the car, the shower, and even the courtroom. After stumbling upon a few real-life tales of people becoming castaways not too far from civilization, her latest novel, A Map for Wrecked Girls, came to life. Jessica now lives in Northern California, not far from San Francisco, withalawdegreeshe isn’t using, one dog, and many teetering towers of books.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!

 

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. . . L-M-N-O-P . . . M is for MORRIS MICKLEWHITE AND THE TANGERINE DRESS author Christine Baldacchino!

I met Christine Baldacchino at the 2015 American Library Association Stonewall Award ceremony in San Francisco. Her picture book, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, was honored the same year This Day in June won the Stonewall award. When she got up to accept her award, the first thing she said was, “I’m so nervous I could pee my pants!” And I thought, This woman is my soul sister. We’ve been friends ever since.

 

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Here’s what Christine had to say in response to the question, “What does feminism mean to me?”

For me, feminism means working towards a place where I don’t have to wonder whether things would be different if I wasn’t the person I am. It’s about honoring those who worked to get us, as a larger group, just a little closer to that place, and educating ourselves so that we have the tools to pick up where our predecessors left off. It’s about celebrating achievements along the way, but never resting on our laurels. It’s about not slowing our forward momentum until all of us arrive at that place – each and every one of us.

Thanks so much, Christine! And I promise, one day I’ll come visit you in Canada.

 

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Christine Baldacchino is a former early childhood educator, and the author of the widely-acclaimed Stonewall Honour book Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. As a champion of both self-expression and anti-bullying, Christine believes that kids should be given the leeway and encouragement to discover who they are, whether it be in denim overalls or a taffeta dress. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and three cats, and likes popsicles, Prince, and writing her author bios in the third person.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!

 

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. . . H-I-J-K . . . K is for KEITH HARING: THE BOY WHO JUST KEPT DRAWING author Kay Haring!

As a teenager growing up in suburban New Jersey, I hung out in Manhattan as often as I could – right in the thick of the New York City art scene. Galleries were dominated by the works of people like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I remember seeing Keith Haring’s work in city subways – and I’ve been drawn to his artwork ever since.

 

 

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Keith died of AIDS in 1990. His sister, Kay, recently published a children’s book honoring him. It features Keith’s original artwork, as well as photos of Keith and Kay together. I can’t think of a better way to honor his art, his activism, and his spirit.

 

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I asked Kay, “What does feminism mean to you?” Here’s what she said:

Feminism, to me, is assembling a coalition of like-minded women to act as a support group.  When we lean on other women it helps us to sustain a strong presence in our work and social environments. And can serve to remind us when our passion causes us to sway off course.

Some of the best advice I ever received was from female role models who spoke from life experience, lessons learned from their own challenges. We should listen to the women who have paved the way to where we are now, in order to better understand the way forward.

Feminism is inclusive and draws people together. It is about standing together to expect equal treatment and acceptance as the norm. It is about sharing and supporting and making each other the best we can be.

Thank you, Kay!

 

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Coming from an artistic family, Kay Haring did her share of sketching and drawing while growing up, but found expressing herself with words was more to her liking. For her professional career, Kay spent many years in the nonprofit field, both in management and fundraising capacities. Kay is interested in writing nonfiction stories for children that are inspirational and thought provoking.

FEMINISM FROM A to Z is now available for pre-order!

 

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