Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community by Robin Stevenson is delving into an awesome new area—it’s a Middle Grade nonfiction book about the history of Pride and Stonewall! It’ll be coming out April 2016. Today, we’re THRILLED to reveal the awesome cover of this awesome book. We also got to talk to the fantastic author herself about why this book needs to exist, what exactly is in it, and why you should be super excited for its release in April 2016!
For LGBTQ people and their supporters, Pride events are an opportunity to honor the past, protest injustice and celebrate a diverse and vibrant community. The high point of Pride, the Pride Parade, is spectacular and colorful. But there is a whole lot more to Pride than rainbow flags and amazing outfits. How did Pride come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it?
Isn’t it fantastic?! I think it has the perfect feel for a Middle Grade book about Pride, and these pictures are just amazing.
Below is our interview with the author, Robin Stevenson!
Vee: There are a number of books out there about Pride and Stonewall, but none (that we know of) that are targeted towards Middle Grade readers. We think it’s SO COOL that you’ve dived into this! What made you want to write about this, and what are you hoping young readers will get out of this book?
Robin: As a queer parent of an eleven year old, I’ve been struck by how rarely my son sees families like his in the books he reads. And kids shouldn’t have to wait until they’re in their teens to see queer families and learn about the LGBTQ community. My son was a month old at his first Pride Day, and has been to Pride every year since. At Pride, kids get to see a wonderful diversity of people, families, gender identities, sexual orientations and forms of self-expression, and to see this diversity as beautiful—as something to celebrate. I think every kid deserves to experience that. I’d love to see this book in school libraries so that kids with queer families and kids who are themselves LGBTQ can see themselves reflected in these pages– and so that all kids can learn more about the history of Pride and the diverse community that celebrates it.
V: What was your research process like and how did you decide what to include? There’s a lot of info about Stonewall and Pride out there, some of it rather dark. How did you go about deciding what would go in a middle grade book about this?
R: Deciding what to include—and what to leave out– was definitely one of the hardest parts of the writing process. I felt like every small section I wrote really deserved a whole book to itself. I mean– Stonewall! Sylvia Rivera! ACT UP and Queer Nation! Coming out in high school! Gay-Straight Alliances! Intersex activism! Drag! Pride in Uganda!—and the list goes on… Luckily, my publisher is awesome and let the book grow considerably longer than the word count we had agreed on in my original proposal.
I tried to keep the language straightforward and accessible without over-simplifying some fairly complex issues—which was challenging– and I tried to reflect the ways in which Pride is both protest and celebration. And I included personal stories of individual LGBTQ kids, teens and families, which I think will speak very directly to young readers.
The book covers the history of Pride, explores and explains some of the diverse identities that make up the LGBTQ community, and looks at some of the ways Pride Day is celebrated in North America and around the world, as well as touching on the challenges (both internal and external) that the LGBTQ community continues to face.
V: Since this is a cover reveal, let’s talk about this awesome cover! How do you think it fits with the theme of the book? What do you hope it’ll get across to readers? And what was the design process like?
R: Pride is about equality, diversity and freedom- and it’s something everyone who shares those ideals can participate in. I wanted a cover that reflected that idea, and that would appeal to young readers. The cover photo is from a Pride parade on Canada’s west coast and I love the bright colors and energy and movement in this image– and the quirkiness of the unicycle. And I love the back cover too— it suggests the shape of a flag flying, and I think it captures something of the diversity and spirit of the community that celebrates Pride.
All my previous books are novels, so the design process was totally new and interesting one for me. I spent a great deal of time searching for photographs and was thrilled with people’s generosity in sharing their pictures. And I love the overall look and layout of the book— the designer—Orca Book Publishers’ Rachel Page— has a wonderful eye for color and she put a huge amount of time and energy into making this book look absolutely gorgeous.