Trans Rights Readathon Day 5 and Poetry Friday!
Hello friends! Happy Day 5 of the #TransRightsReadathon, and happy Poetry Friday! Today, Poetry Friday is hosted by Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities. Thanks Rose! In anticipation of Poetry Friday, yesterday I focused on reading poetry for the Readathon... and I read 3 books! But before we get to them...
Let's talk about the phrase "conspicuous reading," which Sim Kern used in this Publishers Weekly article about the readathon. What a phrase. What connotations and weight and beauty! It's a poem in itself, to me. (I'll probably write a poem about it later.) Conspicuous reading. How many generations of trans and queer readers have read our books tucked inside other books, under blankets with flashlights, in secret corners of libraries and bookstores-- startling and hiding the covers when anyone comes near? How many must still read in secret, for fear of their safety? Conspicuous reading-- what a beautiful way to resist. To create safe space. To let folks know that we see them, and their existence is worth learning about. I am so grateful it is safe for me to be a conspicuous reader. It may not be safe for all of you... and if you can't read outwardly, I hope you are able to find the secret spaces you need to revel in the stories of your heart. I hope one day, safety needn't factor into your reading choices. In the meantime, I -- and so many others -- will read conspicuously for you.
It's not too late to join the Trans Rights Readathon y'all! Join for the weekend! Read one story or several books, comment on posts, donate to other folks' fundraiser... do anything that works for you to bring trans books to the front of your mind and, if you are able to do so safely, to your community. If you want to support my personal readathon efforts, comment below! Anyone who comments is eligible to win one of the books I'm mentioning in my daily posts this week. If you can, please consider pledging (in the comments or via email) to donate to the Trans Health Legal Fund. I'm donating $10/book read, and so far 7 other people have pledged between $1 and $15/book. Donors get an extra entry in the giveaway! Will you join us?
Now, onto book talks! Yesterday, I read YA verse novel A Million Quiet Revolutions by Robin Gow, the story of two trans boys discovering themselves and choosing to believe trans history exists. And... friends... I devoured it. The writing is fabulous-- much of the book blends verse with letters and texts in a way that works completely with the narrative. What really stands out in this book is the way the characters so badly just want to be seen-- seen for who they are, seen as part of a long history of trans folks, seen as not rare exceptions but members of a large community. Robin Gow creates space for the reader to imagine the stories of the our trans, queer community that must have existed. A Million Quiet Revolutions empowers readers to remember that those stories can still be recovered, and believe that they will be.
There Are Trans People Here by H. Melt is a collection of poetry about trans joy and hope written with high school students in mind, and it includes an excellent discussion guide at the end. This collection also touches on the untold stories of trans history-- this time from a Jewish lens. For me, those poems had special resonance. I discovered There Are Trans People Here during the Readathon, so I read this as an ebook... and immediately went to buy a hard copy once I finished reading. I think I'll want to return to this book again and again, and if you're a teacher I strongly recommend it for your classroom library.
All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran is a Transgender Poetry finalist in the 2023 Lammy Awards! In Tran's debut poetry collection (marketed to adults), they braid together and expand on processing sexual assault, generational trauma, and the stories of their mother as a woman in Vietnam during war. This was another collection I discovered during the readathon, and because of that I was able to first experience this collection as an audiobook, read by the author. Friends-- any chance you have to hear a poet read their own work, take it!
Why I'm Excited About It: I always love a good mythic-feels story, and a middle grade graphic novel where a kid in the modern world makes a deal with a djinn is a perfect way to lighten my mood. Ramadan started this week, so I'm excited to read a book by a Muslim, queer and trans author that also discusses what it's like for a kid in school to be fasting. And, did I mention there's a djinn?
So far this week, I've read 6 books and we've raised $336 for the Trans Health Legal Fund. How far can we go?! And, if you know of any trans poet (especially poets writing for children!), please let me know in the comments! I'd love to read more!