A watershed picture book for a watershed moment—all in time for the Stonewall uprising’s 50th anniversary.
The historic Stonewall Inn, site of the eponymous uprising (and the book’s first-person-plural narrator), originated as two separate stable houses in 1840s Greenwich Village. By 1930, the buildings were joined to become Bonnie’s Stone Wall restaurant, “a place where being different was welcomed and accepted.” 1967 saw another change—to the Stonewall Inn (a tamely depicted bar and dance club). Subsequent years saw multiple police raids targeting the establishment’s LGBTQIAP patrons. On June 28, 1969, the people finally fought back, galvanizing the LGBTQIAP rights movement. As the text carries readers from past to present, its unusual narrative perspective gives a strong sense of place and community. Sanders attempts to balance the received historical narrative with inclusivity, but his retrospective tone bears slight hints of erasure when, for example, “gay men and women” is used as a catchall phrase. Moreover, though the backmatter makes mention of the key roles of trans women of color in the uprising, the visuals instead position a white-presenting woman as a key instigator. Christoph’s digitally rendered illustrations paint a vivid, diverse portrait of both setting and community. The book concludes with photographs and an interview with Martin Boyce, a participant in the uprising.
A beautiful—if a bit cis-centric—tribute. (glossary, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 5-9)