Book Review | This Is Our Rainbow @TBRBeyondTours

Switching up my recent reading with a middle grade anthology.

This Is Our Rainbow
Katherine Locke & Nicole Melleby

The first LGBTQIA+ anthology for middle-graders featuring stories for every letter of the acronym, including realistic, fantasy, and sci-fi stories by authors like Justina Ireland, Marieke Nijkamp, Alex Gino, and more!

A boyband fandom becomes a conduit to coming out. A former bully becomes a first-kiss prospect. One nonbinary kid searches for an inclusive athletic community after quitting gymnastics. Another nonbinary kid, who happens to be a pirate, makes a wish that comes true–but not how they thought it would. A tween girl navigates a crush on her friend’s mom. A young witch turns herself into a puppy to win over a new neighbor. A trans girl empowers her online bestie to come out.

From wind-breathing dragons to first crushes, This Is Our Rainbow features story after story of joyful, proud LGBTQIA+ representation. You will fall in love with this insightful, poignant anthology of queer fantasy, historical, and contemporary stories from authors including: Eric Bell, Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Ashley Herring Blake, Lisa Bunker, Alex Gino, Justina Ireland, Shing Yin Khor, Katherine Locke, Mariama J. Lockington, Nicole Melleby, Marieke Nijkamp, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro, Molly Knox Ostertag, Aisa Salazar, and AJ Sass.

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This has been such a refreshing read for me, I forget how much I enjoy a collection of short stories until I’m reading one again and this is a particularly special one because it is full of love, hope and acceptance. Whilst I am (obviously) not the target audience for this book I have to say I really enjoyed it and everything it represents, this is the kind of book that would have been amazing to read when I was younger with such a variety of experiences and relationships all within some pretty fantastic stories.

I liked that there were a mix of genres in this anthology, it definitely kept things interesting and really set apart each story from the next, there were also some comic strips as well which I wasn’t expecting but were a marvellous addition. Each story was really well written, the language was clear and they all just worked so well together, sometimes in a collection of stories there will maybe be one or two that I don’t enjoy but I felt really immersed in all of them, I will admit that the ones with fantasy elements shone a little brighter but that’s just because I’m more drawn to that genre.

I think what I really appreciated was how discussing gender or sexuality was part of the story but not always the sole focus, because sometimes it’s lovely to have a story that reflects someone accepting who they are and going through that journey but sometimes it’s nice just to see someone having an adventure or making a friend or having a crush. I think the main thing is though that in every story you come away with a sense of hope, even in some of the more sombre stories, and there are some brave, quirky and wonderful characters that are a delight to read about.

A brilliant read for younger readers and older readers alike, hopefully, we will see more anthologies like this in the future.

Katherine Locke lives and writes in a small town outside Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction Katherine Locke lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with their feline overlords and their addiction to chai lattes. They are the author of The Girl with the Red Balloon, a 2018 Sydney Taylor Honor Book and 2018 Carolyn W. Field Honor Book, as well as The Spy with the Red Balloon. They are the co-editor and contributor to It’s A Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes and Other Jewish Stories, and a contributor to Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens and the forthcoming Out Now: Queer We Go Again. They are also the author of Bedtime for Superheroes and What are Your Words?. They not-so-secretly believe most stories are fairytales in disguise.

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Nicole Melleby, a born-and-bread Jersey native, is an award-winning children’s author. Her middle grade books have been Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selections, and have earned the Skipping Stones Honor Award, as well as being a 2020 Kirkus Reviews best book of the year. Her debut novel, Hurricane Season, was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. She currently teaches college literature and creative writing, and spends most of her free time roller skating. She lives with her wife and their cat, whose need for attention oddly aligns with Nicole’s writing schedule.

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