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THIS IS OUR RAINBOW

16 STORIES OF HER, HIM, THEM, AND US

Vital and liberating.

These 16 short stories by celebrated authors of literature for young people center the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in pivotal moments of childhood and adolescence.

As the title suggests, this collection delivers a spectrum of diversity in representation of both personal identities and genre. Whether the stories contain overt fantasy (like dragons, spells, the undead, and time loops), subtle glimmers of the supernatural (like ghosts and magical letters), or realistic grounding in the everyday (like a new kitten, sports, and school), they capture with honesty and vulnerability the feelings that accompany events like the grief of losing a friend or facing rejection from a crush, the nervous thrill of new feelings for someone special, and the freeing, but sometimes still scary, power of self-discovery. Although the majority of the selections are prose, the anthology includes two comics and one story in verse. Many of the protagonists feel a budding desire for close connection—a witch with a squish on her ordinary neighbor, an aspiring marine biologist with a changing friend group, a pirate who misses their sister—and they overcome self-doubt to reach for it. Not every crush works out, and sometimes feelings get hurt, but these outcomes lean toward recovery and personal growth while validating the sadness of loneliness. An essential read, this collection breaks free from the dichotomy of representing LGBTQ+ lives as total tragedy or one-true-love, happily-ever-after coming-out stories.

Vital and liberating. (Anthology. 8-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30394-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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HOLES

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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