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This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us

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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 communi 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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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 communi 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.

30 review for This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us

  1. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    The Middle Grade Anthology of my dreams! The fact that I found this I just gif is just perfect timing... The Middle Grade Anthology of my dreams! The fact that I found this I just gif is just perfect timing...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Raven Lucero

    *squeals in gay*

  3. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[domestic & child abuse mentioned, death of a father mentioned, death of a pet cat recounted (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[domestic & child abuse mentioned, death of a father mentioned, death of a pet cat recounted (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  4. 4 out of 5

    A.J.

    Full disclosure: I contributed a story to this collection. I cannot stress enough how liberating it felt to read an entire anthology filled with queer voices and perspectives. I went through a spectrum of emotions while reading, starting with teary (Alex Gino's story was really the perfect way to open this anthology) to grinning and laughing and then back to teary (Ashley Herring Blake is the master of making my heart squeeze). This collection is perfect for the middle schooler (or kid at heart) Full disclosure: I contributed a story to this collection. I cannot stress enough how liberating it felt to read an entire anthology filled with queer voices and perspectives. I went through a spectrum of emotions while reading, starting with teary (Alex Gino's story was really the perfect way to open this anthology) to grinning and laughing and then back to teary (Ashley Herring Blake is the master of making my heart squeeze). This collection is perfect for the middle schooler (or kid at heart) in your life, but it'll also be meaningful to many adults who didn't get to see this kind of representation when they were in middle school themselves. This book deserves a spot on every bookshelf.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gabriella Crivilare

    Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers, the editors and authors, and NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will release October 19, 2021. Wow, I really blew right through this one! I'd been meaning to read this anthology for a couple weeks now and only just got around to it—but it was worth the three hour whirlwind. It's been a while since I read an anthology, and This Is Our Rainbow, the first LGBTQIA+ anthology for middle grade readers, was ex Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers, the editors and authors, and NetGalley for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This book will release October 19, 2021. Wow, I really blew right through this one! I'd been meaning to read this anthology for a couple weeks now and only just got around to it—but it was worth the three hour whirlwind. It's been a while since I read an anthology, and This Is Our Rainbow, the first LGBTQIA+ anthology for middle grade readers, was excellent. There are sixteen stories, some of them longer than others, so I've written just a few sentences on each of them instead on one big, in-depth review like I usually do. But before I get into that, I want to say that I truly liked all of these stories, loved that they had varying degrees to which coming out or the kid's identity was part of the plot, and enjoyed the fact that it was a mix of genres. Not all the stories end super happily, there's some melancholy, but it's a good balance, the characters are so brave, and there's always the sense that the characters are going to be okay. I feel like there's really something for everyone here. The Purr-cle of Life by Alex Gino This first story is very sweet, and revolves around the unnamed main character going to pick out a new cat at an animal rescue. This is very difficult for them, as Scout had been with them since birth, and they don't want to feel like they're replacing their old cat. There's a moment detailing the narrator having to deal with their grandma's misgendering and a couple similar (future) moments mentioned at the end, but the most important thing is that their new cats are there to comfort them. Girl's Best Friend by Lisa Jenn Bigelow Okay, this was adorable. Roxy is a witch and her family lives near a normal college town. Their new neighbor is a girl who moved away last year and is now back. Roxy experiences really strong feelings for Tess, but realizes they're platonic although they're as strong as a crush—she has a "squish." But Tess seems a little distant, so Roxy transforms into a dog so her new friend has someone to talk to. This has a very sweet ending and might be a contender for one of my favorite stories. The Makeover by Shing Yin Khor I was a little iffy about this comic story at first but by the end I was all in! Jes is the new kid, who meets a group called the Porcupines, who all introduce themselves with names and pronouns immediately. At lunch they talk about their "deals" (to me, it seemed like aesthetics) and Alex decides they all should take Jes to the thrift story to help them figure it out—which Jes does, settling on a skirt with pockets. It was nice to see Jes decide to wear what they wanted after initially stopping so people wouldn't think they were a girl. Plus, with Rosie and Alex around, I don't think anyone will dare to misgender Jes. (This is one of the funniest exchanges in the anthology.) Anyway, now I would like to be a knitwear punk. Paper Planes by Claribel A. Ortega This has a fascinating world and magic that's not really expanded on, but the author and narrator let you know just enough. Flor is responsible for talking to people in the outside world in English for her Spanish-speaking parents, and uses magical paper planes to do so. A new neighbor named Alexis shows up across the street, and Flor begins communicating with her. Alexis helps Flor be brave enough to send a paper plane to the girl she likes and brave enough to be herself. Petra & Pearl by Lisa Bunker Two trans girls who have Very Upsetting Fathers and live in different countries write fanfic for the same anime; Petra is the only person Pearl is out to. Petra's dad is friends with the shop teacher and doesn't given Petra a choice about taking the class, and unfortunately she's bullied there during school. Both Petra and Pearl take the chance to protest their treatment, and while they both get in trouble, Petra takes the opportunity to come out to her family, despite not knowing what will happen. I Know the Way by Justina Ireland A split timeline story; one is set in the past on a plantation and features two girls named Addie and Cora who decide to escape to freedom, the other is contemporary. The present day girls, Evelyn and Ashley, decide to break away from their field trip to go see a bridge where ghosts are rumored to be, a bridge that Addie and Cora had to pass by when running away. There's a poignant moment where their spirits can be heard encouraging bravery. Balancing Acts by A. J. Sass Kai is a former gymnast trying to figure out where e belongs and what e can do now that e's left the sport since gymnastic is very gendered. E attends a meet that eir former team is competing at but doesn't feel comfortable enough to celebrate with them afterwards. There's a real sense of sadness here that Kai had to give up something e loved because e thought changing pronouns wouldn't be enough to convince people e isn't a girl. Thankfully there's a kind adult who lets Kai practice on the equipment, which leads to em finding a new athletic outlet. Come Out, Come Out Whenever You Are by Eric Bell This is such a clever title for a story about a time loop that lets the main character navigate one very stressful morning and find the courage to stand up and come out to his bully simultaneously. Marcus is absolutely METAL. Devoyn's Pod by Mariama J. Lockington Dev's story is a classic one of having best friends who start dating and keep it secret from you, but it's also about recognizing how relationships grow and change. What might have started out as a very close friendship that meant you didn't seem to need any others can spread out to have room for more. Also, Nana rocks for taking Dev to "the people's beach." Guess What's Coming to Dinner by Mark Oshiro Aside from the fact that I spent almost the whole story wondering what was up with Sofia and her parents (spoiler! they're not human), I really liked this one particularly for its offhand inclusion of supernatural elements in a plot as simple as someone wanting their new friend to come over for dinner. I know that doesn't always come off well as a queer metaphor, but that's not exactly what it is here, although it almost had the same feeling to me. The Golem and the Mapmaker by Molly Knox Ostertag I really wish I knew if this comic was in color in the final book or not; I would love to see it! Despite having a longer page count, this one felt very short, and I wanted more story and depth. Still, the art was beautiful (I've liked the artist's work for a while) and the core narrative of not letting go of the thing you wanted as a child and getting to have your own desire for the first time is very strong. The Wish and the Wind Dragon by Katherine Locke A nonbinary pirate kid in a world with dragons? Count me in! Jupiter's main focus is getting to a particular cove for a celebration, and so they can see their sister again for the first time in a long time. But there's no wind, so how to solve that problem? Call a wind dragon! There's a real sense of kinship between the dragon and Jupiter, however brief, and I would read a full novel of this to see that further expanded. Splinter & Ash by Marieke Nijkamp I would also read a full novel expansion of this story. Splinter, whose uncle and guardian is exceedingly "traditional" only seems to care about appearances and power, wants to be a knight. So when the princess's birthday masked ball is announced, Splinter goes in borrows leather armor and meets a girl who introduces herself as Ash. I think you can see where this might be heading. Despite an altercation with a guard, this has a very cute ending. Menudo Fan Club by Aida Salazar I'm not much of a verse person, but this was beautifully done. The comparisons and language felt fresh, which was a perfect complement to a story about friends drifting apart. D very subtly makes a choice when Camila says all the members of the boy band fan club she started have to claim a boy, but Camila appears to ignore it. This is very much one of the sadder endings in the anthology. Stacy's Mom by Nicole Melleby This story's title is [chef's kiss] and you know it. Because sometimes that's how you realize you're different, you know? Of course, that leads to complications for Abigail in her friend group, which does in fact include Stacy, and makes her the Monday morning source of gossip. But not everyone is whispering to Abigail negatively. I really wish this story had been longer! Sylvie & Jenna by Ashley Herring Blake I just read my first Ashley Herring Blake book recently so I was really excited for the story. It is also definitely a contender for my favorite, because it's so well-written and the emotions are so real, and messy and imperfect. I love Sylvie and Jenna, as well as how they deal with the conflict in their past. Marnie is an instigator and I would like to give her an award. This was absolutely the perfect story to end the anthology with. I hope one of these summaries is enough to convince you to grab this anthology. This was such a great pool of authors, and I hope you'll give their vibrant spectrum of characters a chance!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Normally I don't rate books before I read them. But I know this one's going to be amazing. So. Normally I don't rate books before I read them. But I know this one's going to be amazing. So.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hiroko Z

    “This Is Our Rainbow” was such a fun read! I don’t usually read anthologies, but this was a great middle grade book and I was surprised by the variety and diversity of these stories with protagonists of all different identities and backgrounds. My favorite stories had to be “The Wish & The Wind Dragon” by Katherine Locke about a nonbinary pirate trying to get their ship and everyone to an island in time to see their sister and her wife for the solstice, needing to rely on a wish gone wrong, “Com “This Is Our Rainbow” was such a fun read! I don’t usually read anthologies, but this was a great middle grade book and I was surprised by the variety and diversity of these stories with protagonists of all different identities and backgrounds. My favorite stories had to be “The Wish & The Wind Dragon” by Katherine Locke about a nonbinary pirate trying to get their ship and everyone to an island in time to see their sister and her wife for the solstice, needing to rely on a wish gone wrong, “Come Out, Come Out Whenever You Are” by Eric Bell which is about a gay kid who’s stuck in a time loop, forcing himself to relive the exact moment he accidentally outs himself at school over and over again, “Guess What’s Coming to Dinner” by Mark Oshiro about a girl preparing to invite a girl from school over for dinner(probably the story in this anthology with the most fun ending), and “The Makeover” by Shing Yin Khor(it’s a comic!) which is about a nonbinary kid making a new group of friends who empower them by going thrift shopping for clothes and getting a complete makeover. To summarize, even if you don’t like all the stories or don’t read all of them, I think this book has at least a few stories that appeal for all readers

  8. 5 out of 5

    Star

    This was such a wonderful anthology! I love middle grade books and this one had so many great novellas in it! There was rep from almost every single queer identity in this book. I loved that there were some magical stories too. I wasn’t expecting that. Because I listened to it via audio, I can’t pinpoint what the stories were called but my fave was the one with the wind dragon. I recommend this for all ages. Content warning for: homophobia, bullying.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Livy

    Oh, this book was just absolutely incredible! I loved every second that I was reading this book and just didn't want to put it down because I wanted to read more and more of it. All of the main characters in this book were absolutely blooming brilliant and all so unique. I just adored reading all of their stories and seeing such a wide amount of representation for the LGBTQ+ spectrum aimed at children. I honestly don't think I could choose a favourite because they were all so good! On a more ser Oh, this book was just absolutely incredible! I loved every second that I was reading this book and just didn't want to put it down because I wanted to read more and more of it. All of the main characters in this book were absolutely blooming brilliant and all so unique. I just adored reading all of their stories and seeing such a wide amount of representation for the LGBTQ+ spectrum aimed at children. I honestly don't think I could choose a favourite because they were all so good! On a more serious note, it was just amazing to see the representation in these characters for children because for LGBTQ+ kids this book is going to be so important. Plus, it's all framed within some wonderful worlds and stories. The plots of all of the stories were just brilliant and heartwarming and I just finished each story with a warm fuzzy feeling in my chest because they were all so good and sweet and perfect. They were all so amazing and I liked how we got a mix of fantasy and contemporary and even a tad of historical fiction in there. It was just so great seeing all of the representation fitting so well into these stories because they were absolutely incredible and so well written. Speaking of the writing, all of the stories were so well written and I just think that all of the authors included in this book deserve as much praise as they are going to get for this brilliant anthology. I cannot wait for kids to read this book!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us is an anthology of sixteen entries co-edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby. These sixteen entries by celebrated authors of literature for young people center the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in pivotal moments of childhood and adolescence. For the most part, this collection of short stories was written and constructed extremely well – it is far from perfect, but comes rather close. Editors and contributors Locke and Melleby assemble This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us is an anthology of sixteen entries co-edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby. These sixteen entries by celebrated authors of literature for young people center the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in pivotal moments of childhood and adolescence. For the most part, this collection of short stories was written and constructed extremely well – it is far from perfect, but comes rather close. Editors and contributors Locke and Melleby assemble the works of sixteen authors and artists whose pieces present a wide range of LGBTQ experiences across genres and formats. Thirteen short stories, two comics, and one written in verse encompass this anthology of diversity. The result is a strong amalgam of confidently written portraits that consider the joys, pains, and complexities that can come with being young and queer. Like most anthologies there are weaker contributions, but This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us may be the rare exception. Many of the protagonists feel a budding desire for close connection and they overcome self-doubt to reach for it. Not every infatuation works out, and sometimes feelings get hurt, but these outcomes lean toward recovery and personal growth while validating the sadness of loneliness. This collection breaks free from the dichotomy of representing LGBTQ+ lives as total tragedy or one-true-love, happily-ever-after coming-out stories. All in all, This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us is a vital and liberating anthology perfect for middle graders.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sacha

    Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. Here is that review: 4 stars The world needs more middle grade (and YA!) short story collections, and this is an action-packed anthology filled with well known writers and important topics. As is made obvious by the title, cover, and content, the running motif is LGBTQIA+, and there is quite a variety when it comes to the presentation of these characters and the events they expe Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. Here is that review: 4 stars The world needs more middle grade (and YA!) short story collections, and this is an action-packed anthology filled with well known writers and important topics. As is made obvious by the title, cover, and content, the running motif is LGBTQIA+, and there is quite a variety when it comes to the presentation of these characters and the events they experience. Like the vast majority of anthologies, there are some stories that are standout stars and others that are good or really good. On the upside, for me, there aren't any obvious extras here, but I think everyone will have their favorites. Among mine are the installments from Ashley Herring Blake (a consistent five-star writer for me, so no surprise), Mark Oshiro (I loved this twist), Justina Ireland (I loved the structure of this piece), and A. J. Sass (who brings in one of the stronger character displays + context). I really enjoyed every piece in the collection, but these are the ones I think I'll remember the clearest (and will reference in my recommendations to students). I am loving the recent influx of story collections in middle grade and YA. There is a wide audience for this one, and folks looking to expand their young readers' (or their own) repertoire in genre and motif need look no further. Recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stéphanie Louis

    “This is our Rainbow” is an anthology and one of the firsts I’ve really enjoyed. It’s been refreshing to read all of these stories full of love, acceptance and friendships. There have been stories I absolutely loved and some I’ve liked a bit less, and that’s totally okay. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to discover a whole new range of authors that I’ve never gotten the chance to read before. My wallet will like it a bit less, but I have to admit that I’ve added all these authors with their wo “This is our Rainbow” is an anthology and one of the firsts I’ve really enjoyed. It’s been refreshing to read all of these stories full of love, acceptance and friendships. There have been stories I absolutely loved and some I’ve liked a bit less, and that’s totally okay. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to discover a whole new range of authors that I’ve never gotten the chance to read before. My wallet will like it a bit less, but I have to admit that I’ve added all these authors with their works onto my TBR. The stories all worked well with each other, and it wasn’t disturbing at all to have all these different writing styles in one book. There is also literally a short story for everyone, which makes this anthology even more perfect! It also put a smile all over my face every time I picked this book up on my phone. If you look for a book that makes you feel accepted and educates you at the same time, then these short stories will work for you. And for everyone else, I highly recommend this book because you didn’t know that you needed this anthology in your currently reading pile. Pick it up! Thank you very much.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Casey Jo

    ADORABLE! I love the range of stories in this anthology, as well as the range of genders and identities represented. Yeah, they have a token cis gay boy, but there's so much more. :) Lisa Jenn Bigelow's story about a dog witch is ESPECIALLY adorable. Plus, stories with dragons, requited love, unrequited love, and more. Special love for Nicole Melleby's piece, "Stacy's Mom." I mean, c'mon! And from Shin Yin Khor's graphic (as in picture-based, people!) story, the line Re: skirts, "being nonbinary ADORABLE! I love the range of stories in this anthology, as well as the range of genders and identities represented. Yeah, they have a token cis gay boy, but there's so much more. :) Lisa Jenn Bigelow's story about a dog witch is ESPECIALLY adorable. Plus, stories with dragons, requited love, unrequited love, and more. Special love for Nicole Melleby's piece, "Stacy's Mom." I mean, c'mon! And from Shin Yin Khor's graphic (as in picture-based, people!) story, the line Re: skirts, "being nonbinary does not mean you have to look like you eight-year-old brother. Unless you want that look."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    What an incredible era we're in for children's literature, to have an uplifting and informational anthology for LGBT kids of all kinds. This Is Our Rainbow brings so many influential and bestselling authors into one book, one of hope, camaraderie, and spirit. Friendships, family, identity, and first crushes are all focal points in this collection, just as they are in real life. A must-have for personal and professional libraries. What an incredible era we're in for children's literature, to have an uplifting and informational anthology for LGBT kids of all kinds. This Is Our Rainbow brings so many influential and bestselling authors into one book, one of hope, camaraderie, and spirit. Friendships, family, identity, and first crushes are all focal points in this collection, just as they are in real life. A must-have for personal and professional libraries.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Florence

    This book made my kid so happy, I just had to read it for myself. I loved the warmth and joy and the fact that each story treated its younger characters and all their different identities, crushes, and experiences with such care and respect. I asked my kid how many copies we should buy as gifts and they said, “ALL of them!”

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hailey

    Fabulous short stories about all kinds of kids/teens questioning their identities, trying out sexualities and pronouns and overall stories of queer joy!!!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    “The Purr-cle of Life,” by Alex Gino. The main character, who uses they/them pronouns, was devastated after their cat Scout—who had been with them their whole life—died. Will it ever be possible to have a life—and a new cat—after Scout? This wasn’t a story about gender, but about how kids can come to terms with pets not living as long as us, and finding a way to love a new pet. I liked that gender wasn’t a big deal in this one. “Girl’s Best Friend” by Lisa Bigelow. Roxy and her family are witches “The Purr-cle of Life,” by Alex Gino. The main character, who uses they/them pronouns, was devastated after their cat Scout—who had been with them their whole life—died. Will it ever be possible to have a life—and a new cat—after Scout? This wasn’t a story about gender, but about how kids can come to terms with pets not living as long as us, and finding a way to love a new pet. I liked that gender wasn’t a big deal in this one. “Girl’s Best Friend” by Lisa Bigelow. Roxy and her family are witches, but that has to be a secret. Roxy longs for one best friend she can trust with that secret, and hopes she’s found it when Tess, a well-dressed but enigmatic girl from school, moves in nearby. But all Tess is interested in is Roxy’s dog. So Roxy decides to become a dog (sometimes) to win Tess’ affection. Problem is, if you stay a dog too long, it could become permanent. And also, how will Tess feel when she learns that she was talking all the time to Roxy? This one had me biting my fingernails because there were so many ways it could have gone wrong! I’m not sure that I, in Tess’ place, would have forgiven Roxy. “The Makeover” by Shing Yin Khor. (Graphic novel format) Jes is new at school, and prefers to be invisible—that is, until the Porcupines (“The coolest girls and not-dudes in the school!”) adopt them and show them that “being nonbinary doesn’t mean you have to look like your eight year old brother” and give them a thrift store makeover. The audiobook version of this was a little confusing, understandably, so I’m glad I saw the print version. In addition to being nonbinary, Jes is fat, which isn’t part of the problem at all—nice to see that intersectionality. I wish every outsider could find their own group of Porcupines! “Paper Planes” by Claribel Ortega. Flor is the only one in her family whose English is good enough to deal with things like bill-collectors’ letters, and she does so by sending out magical paper planes with letters on them. One day, she sees a new, rainbow-colorful neighbor move in, and given the closeness of their houses, is able to see that “she” is a drag queen. And that gives Flor the courage to send them a letter asking if it’s ok for girls to like other girls. While the magic in this was a little confusing because it was never explained, I liked the relationship of the kid with the supportive, trusted adult. It was sweet. Also, Flor’s situation as her family’s translator, minus the magic, is common for children of recent immigrants, so it’s nice to see that in a story. “Petra and Pearl” by Lisa Bunker. Main character Petra met Pearl online, writing fanfic for the same anime, and their both writing about a trans character introduces the idea of transness to them both. It helps Pearl decide to become a full-time Pearl, rather than just online—though it won’t be easy. As for Petra, she’s struggling with a father who thinks he’s always right, and teachers at school who look the other way when boys rough up other boys they think are too girly. Sometimes all it takes is just one friend to make your world bearable. This was sad and too believable. I liked that it reflects the tech use of kids in our era, and shows one way it can be a boon—or a lifesaver. This would be a good story to read in class, if teachers are looking for something short about transness. “I Know the Way” by Justina Ireland. This story is told in two eras; two enslaved girls who decide to run away, and two modern girls, with their class, visiting the supposedly ghost-filled “historic” site where the enslaved girls worked. In both cases, the girls feel drawn to each other. I found this one confusing to listen to because it switched between the story lines without warning (on the page, it’s easier to follow). I was also confused as to why it was being told in two eras—the girls’ stories didn’t have much in common, so they didn’t echo each other beyond the attraction to other girls. This one didn’t really work for me. “Balancing Act” by A.J. Sass. Kai loved gymnastics, but wanting to present in a way more appropriate to eir nonbinary identity meant quitting the girls gymnastics team (leotards hide nothing). E still mourns the loss, but is there possibly another sport that can use some of eir ability? I liked this one a lot—it points out how difficult it is for some kids when sports are so highly gendered, down to the uniforms, and for no particular reason. It also shows that maybe there are other options, though; not a perfect solution, but at least a way forward. “Come Out, Come Out, Whenever You Are” by Eric Bell. Middle school is one long horror show for Marcus, surrounded by bullies and terrified that his sexual identity will come out. Which it does, one horrible morning, by accident, and the biggest bully in the school makes sure that everyone knows and makes the most of it. Then Marcus makes a wish…and the morning repeats, offering him a second chance to make sure that doesn’t happen again. And a third… I wasn’t sure how I felt about this one, and that it seemed to be telling kids the best choice is to come out loud and proud on your own terms. That’s the right choice for some, sure, but certainly not for all—and certainly not the safe choice for all, so I don’t like the idea of making them feel guilty for wanting to keep their secret. They shouldn’t be forced into coming out by bullies or stories. “Devoyn’s Pod” by Mariama Lockington. In the 1980s, Devoyn has always had two best friends, Ella and Marcel. But this summer, Ella and Marcel have betrayed Devoyn by getting together without telling her, and now they’re spending time together without her—and she has no other friends. Plus, if Devoyn were getting together with either of them, it would be Ella—but Ella clearly is not interested. How can Devoyn deal with all these changes in her life? I liked that this one didn’t make the friends evil for wanting to grow up and change their relationship, and didn’t make them want to give up Devoyn’s friendship. And what a kickass grandmother Devoyn has! “Guess What’s Coming to Dinner” by Mark Oshiro. Sofia is dying to have her new friend Angie over for dinner, but it’s an enormous, terrifying step for Sofia’s parents—they haven’t had someone like Angie in the house before. It’s only recently that the new Accords make it possible, but it’s still risky. Sofia is determined, though. This one was really well-written, unfolding little snips of the mystery (why is this dinner such a big deal?) at just the right times. I do think it could have gone into a little more detail when things became more clear, though, but that wasn’t the really important thing. I liked that Angie had two dads, too. “The Golem and the Mapmaker” by Molly Ostertag. The golem—who presents as female in the graphic novel format—has been tasked with bringing the princess to marry the emperor. The princess would rather travel the world. But the golem cannot escape her commands…can she? This was sweet, and if it was predictable, it’s the nice kind of predictable. “The Wish and the Wind Dragon” by Katherine Locke. Jupiter is the child of pirates, and has grown up on their ship. Now, though, they are becalmed and Jupiter is desperate to get back to their home islands and see their sister again. So Jupiter sends off a wish for a wind dragon, who could blow them back home. Will it work? I like the world building in this one, and would like to read more set in that world—to learn more about the dragons and why they respond to wishes. Good descriptions. “Splinter and Ash” by Marieke Nijkamp. After Splinter’s parents died and their uncle became their guardian, he hid Splinter’s wooden swords and forced Splinter back into hated dresses. When Splinter is forced to go to the ball for the crown princess to represent the family, their best friend Camille suggests wearing Splinter’s brother’s squire armor—which Splinter does, since it’s a masked ball. Escaping the crowds at the ball, Splinter meets a girl on crutches in the gardens; she’s also escaping the crowds, and they decide to spend the time together. This is another fairly predictable one, but it’s nice to have one in which what would usually be a bad ending—were this a more real-life situation—doesn’t have to be. Good descriptions and world building. “Menudo Fan Club” by Aida Salazar. In verse. What do you do when your best friend—who you wish would like you as more than a best friend—starts a boyband fanclub? Do you join and pretend you like the terrible lyrics and boys who do nothing for you in terms of attraction? This one was sad and believable—so many kids must hide what they feel, and when their hearts are broken. “Stacey’s Mom” by Nicole Melleby. Abigail fell in love with Stacey’s mom when she was five, and Stacey’s mom put a bandaid on her skinned knee. Now in middle school, she’s still in love with Stacey’s mom, but it’s a big secret. Abigail loves gossip, and has always been one of those eager to talk about the latest scandal at school, and whisper and laugh about whoever is the target of it, until it becomes her. This is a good lesson for kids about empathy, if a bit didactic. Abigail doesn’t exactly get off easy, but it could have been worse. The reference to the song did make me laugh! “Sylvie and Jenna” by Ashley Herring-Blake. In one fell swoop, a mean girl in 2nd grade trashed the rest of Sylvie’s elementary school years by giving her a mean nickname after an unfortunate incident in which the young Sylvie wet herself. The nickname—and the friendlessness—stuck around until Sylvie got a fresh start in middle school, and also came out (she has queer parents, so it was a happy event). Now there’s a new, super-cute girl in school, Jenna, but Sylvie can’t seem to get her attention. But will she really want to, after learning Jenna’s history? This captures so well the pain of elementary school meanness, and how it sticks with you for years, as well as the heady days of middle school when you have crush after crush. It does have some food for thought—would readers react the same way as Sylvie, on learning the truth about Jenna?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Casey Lyall

    Super excited for this!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eva B.

    This was so cute! An equal amount of hits and misses that I chronicled in the updates. My favorites were Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are, Sylvie & Jenna, Balancing Acts, Devoyn's Pod, and Stacy's Mom. This was so cute! An equal amount of hits and misses that I chronicled in the updates. My favorites were Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are, Sylvie & Jenna, Balancing Acts, Devoyn's Pod, and Stacy's Mom.

  20. 4 out of 5

    EpicReader8

    This review is on This Is Our Rainbow, edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby and containing stories by many fabulous authors. -The Purr-cle of Life by Alex Gino -Summary: After the death of their beloved cat Scout, a kid searches for a new kitten and learns that getting a new one does not mean replacing the old, with the help of their supportive parents. -Thoughts: This story was so sweet, and I love Alex Gino's writing style that is simple and realistic. -Girl's Best Friend by Lisa Jenn Bi This review is on This Is Our Rainbow, edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby and containing stories by many fabulous authors. -The Purr-cle of Life by Alex Gino -Summary: After the death of their beloved cat Scout, a kid searches for a new kitten and learns that getting a new one does not mean replacing the old, with the help of their supportive parents. -Thoughts: This story was so sweet, and I love Alex Gino's writing style that is simple and realistic. -Girl's Best Friend by Lisa Jenn Bigelow -Summary: Roxy Bellwether, a young witch in a town of opinionated non-magical people, realizes she has a squish on her nice but distant new neighbor Tess, so she turns herself into a puppy to get closer to her but soon realizes taking shortcuts can backfire when it comes to learning someone's secrets. -Thoughts: I adore the lovable characters and intriguing setting of this story, and it helped me understand squishes more. -The Makeover by Shing Yin Khor -Summary: Jes, the new kid, doesn't know where to sit at lunch until they meet the Porcupines, three super friendly queer kids, who, upon realizing Jes doesn't have "a deal", give them a makeover after school, where Jes finds a skirt they love but worries people will they're a girl when they're wearing it. - Thoughts: I love this comic about gender presentation, which resonated with me as a girlflux (and therefore nonbinary) person who presents femininely. The drawing style was super cute and the way the Porcupines were so welcoming to Jes made me smile. -Paper Planes by Claribel A. Ortega -Summary: Flor is the one person in her Spanish-speaking family that can communicate with the outside English-speaking world, and she does this with magical paper planes. When a perfectly pink aspiring actress moves in across the street from Flor, they begin to communicate with paper planes, and Flor asks the questions she has been too scared to voice within her family: is it ok for girls to like girls? Specifically, is it ok for Flor to like Kayla from school? -Thoughts: Flor’s experiences resonated with me a lot, although this story left me with a lot of questions. I love the world that this takes place in: it’s the real world, but there’s some whimsical magic as well. -Petra & Pearl by Lisa Bunker -Summary: Petra’s British online bestie Pearl, who she met through writing anime fanfiction, comes out to her family as transgender and does not get a great response at the same time that Petra realizes she is a girl and deals with obnoxious bullies at school, an apathetic teacher, and her controlling father. -Thoughts: I didn’t enjoy this as much as I loved the author’s other work about a trans girl, Zenobia July, but I still liked it a great deal. -I Know The Way by Justina Ireland -Summary: Two rule-following Black girls - Addie, a slave, and Evelyn, who lives in modern times - are pushed out of their comfort zone by girls they like. For Addie, this girl is Cora, a new friend who convinces her to runaway from the plantation that they live on, and for Evelyn, this girl is Ashley, who convinces her to separate from their class on a field trip to check out a bridge that is said to be haunted by the ghosts of slaves and Civil War soldiers. The bridge is an important part of both sets of girls’ stories as they figure out who they are and how sometimes rules are meant to be broken. -Thoughts: I love Justina Ireland’s detailed writing in this lovely story, and I also enjoyed the dual storylines. -Balancing Acts by A. J. Sass -Summary: After leaving eir girls gymnastics team and coming out as nonbinary, Kai returns to cheer on eir teammates at a meet and is introduced to the sport of parkour, something just as exhilarating as gymnastics, except it’s not gendered. -Thoughts: A. J. Sass is one of my favorite authors so naturally I loved this short story, and it was nice to see neopronouns represented. -Come Out, Come Out, Whenever You Are by Eric Bell -Summary: On the morning that someone collects sign ups for a GSA, Marcus accidentally outs himself to a bully that torments him constantly, and then he gets the chance to redo the morning over and over again by saying “I wish I could turn back time.” -Thoughts: The sense of humor in this story isn’t my favorite, but I did relate to having one toxic classmate be the reason the main character is not out, and I think this is an important one to include in the anthology. -Devoyn's Pod by Mariama J. Lockington -Summary: Dev, who knows everything there is to know about the ocean, has always been part of a pod with her two best friends, until the summer El and Marcel start dating and Dev confronts her feelings about El, with the guidance and love of her Nana Billie. -Thoughts: I heard the author read part of this story aloud at a launch event, and I’ve loved Dev and her story ever since. This is one of my favorites in the anthology. -Guess What's Coming to Dinner by Mark Oshiro -Summary: Sofia prepares for a special dinner with her new friend (and maybe more) from school - the first humans her family has ever hosted - and decides the night has to be perfect. -Thoughts: I love Sofia’s perfectionist character (we have a lot in common) and the twist at the end, as well as the super accepting and inclusive families. -The Golem and the Mapmaker by Molly Know Ostertag -Summary: A golem, made from clay to serve the emperor in any way he needs, is commanded to escort a bold, adventurous princess to the emperor for their wedding, but on the journey to the emperor’s palace, the golem and the princess become much closer than either one anticipated. -Thoughts: This beautiful comic was simply magical, especially after hearing the author speak about it at an event, and I enjoyed it immensely. -The Wish & the Wind Dragon by Katherine Locke -Summary: When Jupiter’s family’s pirate ship, the Lovely Belle, can’t get to the Pearl Islands and Jupiter’s sister and sister-in-law in time for summer solstice because there’s no wind, Jupiter wishes for a wind dragon to come blow the ship there, and when their wish comes true, they must have the courage to speak to the dragon, with the help of their friend Amra. -Thoughts: Like many stories in this anthology, I didn’t want this story to end. I love Jupiter’s sweet, anxious character and the way this story is written like poetry and how it takes place on a pirate ship. (view spoiler)[It was also really sweet to see the subtle hinted-at first crush here, which was something that couldn’t really happen in other stories in the anthology because the crushes of cis characters had to be stated outright or the stories wouldn’t be canonically queer, but here, since Jupiter is already queer by being nonbinary, the crush could be subtle and gentle. (hide spoiler)] -Splinter & Ash by Marieke Nijkamp -Summary: In the city of Haven, Splinter is expected to be the daughter of a noble family, but she is actually a daredevil and aspiring squire that is neither girl or boy, and since her mother’s death and her brother’s departure to fight in a war, she has been in the care of her uncle, where she is extremely unhappy, until the night of a masquerade party for the princess, where her best friend convinces her to dress as a squire and she meets Ash, a commanding girl with an unexpected true identity. Thoughts: This isn’t my favorite genre, but I love this story. I relate so much to Splinter’s sense of not being a boy or a girl, just being, and I love Ash’s character and her stately personality. -Menudo Fan Club by Aida Salazar -Summary: When asked to join a fan club for Menudo, a Puerto Rican boy band that she wants nothing to do with, a girl goes to the first meeting just to see her former friend Camila, and when she’s asked to pick a favorite boy, the only name she wants to say is Camila’s. -Thoughts: This story is so beautiful and sad and I love it with all my heart, especially one section of Aida Salazar’s gorgeous poetry about jacaranda flowers falling to the ground that took my breath away. I also like the setting of this story, maybe 70s or 80s? (view spoiler)[The way the story ends with “and another one begins” softens the sad ending for me a little bit, and for me it implies that maybe D will find love somewhere else, although it could also mean that she’s stuck in this fan club with this girl who doesn’t like her back forever. (hide spoiler)] -Stacy's Mom by Nicole Melleby -Summary: When word gets out that Abigail is in love with her friend Stacy’s mom at her small Catholic middle school, she is the student that is gossiped about in homeroom for the first time in her life. -Thoughts: This story was so cute, and I love the song reference in the title and how it was set in the Nicole Melleby universe - and there was a cameo made by Miss Santos of In the Role of Brie Hutchens!! -Sylvie & Jenna by Ashley Herring Blake -Summary: After an incident in second grade that gave Sylvie a nickname that stuck, she had no friends until middle school began, when Sylvie’s enemy, Jennifer, left and her new best friend, Marnie, arrived. Now, after coming out as gay and desperately wanting romance but not finding any, Sylvie meets Jenna, a cute quirky girl with a sadness about her that makes Sylvie almost not recognize her as Jennifer. And even though Sylvie wants to stay away, Marnie might not let her when they’re all at their small-town festival together. -Thoughts: Ashley Herring Blake is my all-time favorite author, and this story with its real, messy characters and charming setting was no disappointment. Overall opinions: This anthology was fabulous and included a variety of genres and formats that I think will appeal to lots of kids. I felt that there was a lot of sapphic representation and I only wish more letters in the acronym LGBTQIAP+ were represented, such as intersex and trans boys. Even so, I will be reading this anthology to my kids and treasuring it forever.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I'm so glad that This Is Our Rainbow exists for middle grade readers to see a variety . That alone deserves five stars. In terms of my own personal enjoyment, this was a solid 3 stars. Anthologies are always a mixed bag, and I trend toward the ambivalent side when it comes to short stories unless something really wows me. But at the same time, I really love picking up anthologies and I keep doing it even when I inevitably rate them 3 stars. Oh, well. Something I really appreciated about this ant I'm so glad that This Is Our Rainbow exists for middle grade readers to see a variety . That alone deserves five stars. In terms of my own personal enjoyment, this was a solid 3 stars. Anthologies are always a mixed bag, and I trend toward the ambivalent side when it comes to short stories unless something really wows me. But at the same time, I really love picking up anthologies and I keep doing it even when I inevitably rate them 3 stars. Oh, well. Something I really appreciated about this anthology was the even mix of contemporary stories for readers to relate to versus fantastical ones for readers to escape into. I would have appreciated seeing some specified ace and m-spec rep, and for all the sapphic rep I don't recall the word "lesbian" ever actually being used. Also I'm just realizing that there wasn't much mlm rep-- only one story has a boy main character. My favorite story of the bunch was Balancing Acts by A.J. Sass. -- 🏳️‍🌈 The Purr-cle of Life by Alex Gino ★★★☆☆ 🙌 Rep: nonbinary (they/them) 🙅‍♀️ TW: pet death A sad but uplifting story about how pets are a comfort during the difficult times of our lives. 🏳️‍🌈 Girl's Best Friend by Lisa Jenn Bigelow ★★☆☆☆ 🙌 Rep: queerplatonic crush (i.e. "squish") 🙅‍♀️ TW: mention of domestic abuse, deception and invasion of privacy I really liked the exploration of a squish (platonic crush), but the storyline involving the MC disguising herself in order to trick her squish into being vulnerable skeeved me out. The MC realizes she was wrong and apologizes in the end, but still not fun to read. 🏳️‍🌈 The Makeover by Shing Yin Khor ★★★☆☆ 🙌 Rep: nonbinary (they/them), transgender girl 🙅‍♀️ TW: mention of beating up bullies who misgender Super fun short comic about friendship and experimenting with your gender expression. Some stilted dialogue. 🏳️‍🌈 Paper Planes by Claribel Ortega ★★☆☆☆ (2.5) 🙌 Rep: wlw, gay, drag queen, discussion of nonbinary gender 🙅‍♀️ TW: mention of past toxic relationship, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment A pinch of magical realism accompanies this story of a twelve-year-old who's tired of being the English translator for her ESL family, and uses her gift of letter-sending through paper planes to become friends with the drag queen who just moved in across the street. I like the idea of this story but the writing didn't work for me. 🏳️‍🌈 Petra & Pearl by Lisa Bunker ★★★☆☆ 🙌 Rep: trans girls 🙅‍♀️ TW: bullying, coming out themes, threat of being kicked out Two trans girls connecting online find in each other the truth about themselves. This was sweet but over too quickly; I wanted to know more. 🏳️‍🌈 I Know the Way by Justina Ireland ★★☆☆☆ 🙌 Rep: Black, wlw 🙅‍♀️ TW: slavery, mention of lynching, mention of flogging Parallel stories about two young enslaved girls hatching a plan to run away from the plantation, and two modern-day girls visiting that plantation on a school field trip. Eh. The characters weren't well developed, and I didn't appreciate the ghost bait-and-switch. (view spoiler)[And if Addie and Cora didn't die escaping, then why would their ghosts be on the bridge? (hide spoiler)] 🏳️‍🌈 Balancing Acts by A. J. Sass ★★★★☆ 🙌 Rep: nonbinary (e/em/eir) 🙅‍♀️ TW: misgendering (corrected) A former gymnast reflects glumly on eir departure from a sport that is divided into boys' and girls' teams, but then discovers an intriguing gender-neutral alternative. I really liked this one! Kai's characterization felt very strong. 🏳️‍🌈 Come Out, Come Out Whenever You Are by Eric Bell ★☆☆☆☆ 🙌 Rep: gay, nonbinary (they/them) 🙅‍♀️ TW: homophobia, bullying A gay middle schooler who has been accidentally outed to his bully wishes he could turn back time, and becomes stuck in a time loop. Did not vibe at all with the writing in this one, and the story itself is very typical without bringing anything new or interesting to the table. 🏳️‍🌈 Devoyn's Pod by Mariama J. Lockington ★★★★☆ (3.5) 🙌 Rep: wlw, Black 🙅‍♀️ TW: mention of racism Devoyn, Ella, and Marcel have always been a trio, but when El and Marcel start dating, Dev must examine her complicated feelings and figure out how to adjust to a new status quo. This was very cute, but I wish I knew what happened next! Dev, El and Marcel's relationship feels prime for a poly triad. I love how all the marine biology facts related to the story. 🏳️‍🌈 Guess What's Coming to Dinner by Mark Oshiro ★★★☆☆ 🙌 Rep: Latinx, wlw, mlm 🙅‍♀️ TW: (view spoiler)[mention of eating brains (hide spoiler)] Sofia's new friend and crush is coming over for dinner, and she wants everything to be perfect... but cultural differences could be tricky to navigate. I was so confused for most of this haha, but it was pretty cute! 🏳️‍🌈 The Golem and the Mapmaker by Molly Knox Ostertag ★★★☆☆ 🙌 Rep: wlw? 🙅‍♀️ TW: arranged marriage, forced servitude A Golem is tasked with escorting a princess to her future husband's palace for their wedding, but the journey brings them closer to each other than expected. Molly Knox Ostertag's artwork is always adorable! 🏳️‍🌈 The Wish & the Wind Dragon by Katherine Locke ★★★☆☆ 🙌 Rep: nonbinary (they/them), wlw 🙅‍♀️ TW: When Jupiter's family's ship stalls in a windless ocean, threatening to make them miss their family reunion, they wish for a Wind Dragon to blow them on their way. This was a sweet, low-stakes fantasy. 🏳️‍🌈 Splinter & Ash by Marieke Nijkamp ★★★☆☆ 🙌 Rep: nonbinary, disability (crutches), trans boy 🙅‍♀️ TW: parent death, abuse, bullying, implied sexual assault A cute Cinderella retelling in which a nonbinary orphan named Splinter joins forces with the disabled princess to fight bullies. 🏳️‍🌈 Menudo Fan Club by Aida Salazar ★★☆☆☆ 🙌 Rep: wlw 🙅‍♀️ TW: D's best friend Camila starting drifting away when she changed schools and started liking boys, and if D has to fake an interest in the boy band Menudo to be friends again she will. I've said before that Aida Salazar's verse doesn't work for me, and that was the case here as well. 🏳️‍🌈 Stacy's Mom by Nicole Melleby ★★★☆☆ 🙌 Rep: wlw 🙅‍♀️ TW: homophobia, shunning Abigail becomes the target of gossip at her small Catholic middle school when her crush on Stacy's mom is revealed, but she might also have made a new friend. 🏳️‍🌈 Sylvie & Jenna by Ashley Herring Blake ★★☆☆☆ 🙌 Rep: wlw 🙅‍♀️ TW: bullying, parent death, peeing your pants in public The cute new girl at school turns out to be Sylvie's childhood bully. There was nothing wrong with this short story, so I honestly don't know why I found it so mind-numbingly boring. Average rating: 2.69 stars Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us Author: 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 Book Series: Standalone Diversity: Non binary MCs Ace MC Trans MC Latinx lesbian MCs Ga Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us Author: 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 Book Series: Standalone Diversity: Non binary MCs Ace MC Trans MC Latinx lesbian MCs Gay drag queen side character Trans side characters Black MC Black Lesbian MCs F/f romance Mixed relationship Neopronouns Gay celiac MC Black queer MC Latinx side characters MC with 2 moms Side character with 2 dads Bisexual side character Lesbian MC Rating: 5/5 Recommended For...: middle grade readers, contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, poetry, anthology Genre: Middle Grade anthology Publication Date: October 19, 2021 Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Pages: 288 Recommended Age: 10+ (Animal Death mentioned, Pronouns not respected, Grief, Domestic violence mentioned, Forced gendered notions, Homophobia, Slavery, Torture mentioned, Mentions of death by hanging, Bullying, Racism, Heartbreak, Religion mentioned, Parent death mentioned, Cancer mentioned) Explanation of CWs: Animal death is the focus of one story, as is grief. Heartbreak is in a couple of stories. Slavery is shown and torture is mentioned. Bullying is shown in a few stories. Racism is shown in a couple of stories. Religion is mentioned and one church service is shown. Synopsis: 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. Review: Overall I really enjoyed this anthology! It included a lot of cute short stories and I loved the different stories and genres that prominently featured queer characters. The character development was amazing across the stories. The world's were all well developed and immersive. The book was also a lot of fun to read! The only issue I had is that I wish some of the stories were grouped together in a cohesive manner and I wished there was more main characters that were gay or outright pansexual. I also think one or two main characters were ace but there was nothing concrete, which I think could have been better stated and written. Verdict: it was great!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate A

    Rating 4.5/5 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 Rating 4.5/5 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. Originally posted on everywhere and nowhere

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cece

    Exceptional. This Is Our Rainbow is not just a collection of short stories, it's a treasure trove of precious words bundled together in indelible ink that will have readers forever grateful this anthology is part of the human library of fiction. I will try my best to explain the importance and brilliance of this book. Every story in this anthology is a gift. Each one, a ball of light ready to burst free from its makings and radiate the warmth and vibrancy like a newborn star. These stories write a Exceptional. This Is Our Rainbow is not just a collection of short stories, it's a treasure trove of precious words bundled together in indelible ink that will have readers forever grateful this anthology is part of the human library of fiction. I will try my best to explain the importance and brilliance of this book. Every story in this anthology is a gift. Each one, a ball of light ready to burst free from its makings and radiate the warmth and vibrancy like a newborn star. These stories write a piece of humanity onto the page in such a thoughtful and meaningful way that children can relate to and enjoy. It’s a gathering of moments, where a collective voice can be heard. The sound like music, the notes playing a fervent masterpiece unfolding in three hundred and thirty six pages like pedals from a budding flower opening for the first time towards the sun. Having all the letters in the beautiful acronym that is LGBTQIA+ represented in a way where readers will find themselves holding this book close, knowing they are seen and loved. Read this book. Happy Reading ̴ Cece Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the advance readers copy for review. Find my full review:https://sheafandink.com/2021/10/21/th... Blog tour post (coming soon)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    Thank you so much, NetGalley, Random House Children's and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review. This is Our Rainbow is the LGBTQA+ anthology for middle-graders and I loved every single story! There are 16 stories, a beautiful and intense collection of queer fantasy, contemporary, historical stories. We meet people with magical powers and special letters, a nonbinary pirate who makes a wish to a wind-breathing dragon, a zombie gi Thank you so much, NetGalley, Random House Children's and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review. This is Our Rainbow is the LGBTQA+ anthology for middle-graders and I loved every single story! There are 16 stories, a beautiful and intense collection of queer fantasy, contemporary, historical stories. We meet people with magical powers and special letters, a nonbinary pirate who makes a wish to a wind-breathing dragon, a zombie girl with a lovely relationship with her girlfriend, a girl crushing on her friend's mum, a trans girl empowering her bestie to come out and be herself, a group of friends who are growing up and changing, realizing more and more things about themselves and what they love and like...there's everything and it's amazing. It's a collection about discovering, accepting and embracing yourself, your queerness, it's filled with joy and laughter, intense and funny moments, fear, but happy ending. I laughed, cried with happiness, cheering them on and it was so amazing. There are so many stories I loved, so many wonderful and brilliant characters, so skillfully written and I loved exploring with them their feelings, realizing their crushes and who they are. A wonderful collection, a definitely recommended read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Pineo

    I was really looking forward to this anthology when I read it was a bunch of LGBTQ stories for middle grade kids. What I didn't think about was that the stories wouldn't all be contemporary, realistic ones. I'm not really a fan of fantasy and quite a few of these short stories at least had fantasy parts to them. So with that bias in mind my favourite stories were by Ashley Herring Blake, A.J. Sass and Mariama J Lockington. I already knew I loved AHB's writing but now I can seek out books by the I was really looking forward to this anthology when I read it was a bunch of LGBTQ stories for middle grade kids. What I didn't think about was that the stories wouldn't all be contemporary, realistic ones. I'm not really a fan of fantasy and quite a few of these short stories at least had fantasy parts to them. So with that bias in mind my favourite stories were by Ashley Herring Blake, A.J. Sass and Mariama J Lockington. I already knew I loved AHB's writing but now I can seek out books by the other two authors and that's why I wanted to read this, to find new authors to read. So overall this book was a success.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hannah White

    My whole heart is just so, so full. This is a beautiful anthology of all sorts of stories. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fantasy was here! I don't have words quite yet to convey just how beautiful and special this collection is, but I'll come back when I do and try my best to write an actual review, haha. All I'll say for now is that I can't wait for queer kids to get their hands on this. It's going to mean so much, and help so many kids feel seen and beautiful and loved for who they are My whole heart is just so, so full. This is a beautiful anthology of all sorts of stories. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fantasy was here! I don't have words quite yet to convey just how beautiful and special this collection is, but I'll come back when I do and try my best to write an actual review, haha. All I'll say for now is that I can't wait for queer kids to get their hands on this. It's going to mean so much, and help so many kids feel seen and beautiful and loved for who they are in a world that is filled with people who refuse to understand them.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Camille

    *3.5 The Purr-cle of Life - ★★★ Girl's Best Friend - ★★★★ The Makeover - ★★★ Paper Planes - ★★★ Petra & Pearl - ★★★★ I Know the Way - ★★★★ Balancing Acts - ★★★ Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are - ★★★ Devoyn's Pod - ★★★ Guess What's Coming to Dinner - ★★★ The Golem and the Mapmaker - ★★★★ The Wish & the Wind Dragon - ★★★★ Splinter & Ash - ★★★★ Meundo Fan Club - ★★★ Stacey's Mom - ★★★ Sylvie & Jenna - ★★★★ *3.5 The Purr-cle of Life - ★★★ Girl's Best Friend - ★★★★ The Makeover - ★★★ Paper Planes - ★★★ Petra & Pearl - ★★★★ I Know the Way - ★★★★ Balancing Acts - ★★★ Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are - ★★★ Devoyn's Pod - ★★★ Guess What's Coming to Dinner - ★★★ The Golem and the Mapmaker - ★★★★ The Wish & the Wind Dragon - ★★★★ Splinter & Ash - ★★★★ Meundo Fan Club - ★★★ Stacey's Mom - ★★★ Sylvie & Jenna - ★★★★

  29. 5 out of 5

    Em Hoggatt

    A wonderful little collection! I can't even imagine how it would have felt to read this when I was a queer middle-grade reader over a decade ago. The diversity of identities represented, and literary genres included, is super impressive. I'm thrilled that this book exists for today's queer youth <3 A wonderful little collection! I can't even imagine how it would have felt to read this when I was a queer middle-grade reader over a decade ago. The diversity of identities represented, and literary genres included, is super impressive. I'm thrilled that this book exists for today's queer youth <3

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alexx Burris

    Highlights included: Balancing Acts by A.J. Sass (main character uses E/Eir pronouns!) Guess What's Coming to Dinner by Mark Oshiro (gay zombies!) The Golem and the Mapmaker by Molly Knox Ostertag (I love everything this person has ever created) Highlights included: Balancing Acts by A.J. Sass (main character uses E/Eir pronouns!) Guess What's Coming to Dinner by Mark Oshiro (gay zombies!) The Golem and the Mapmaker by Molly Knox Ostertag (I love everything this person has ever created)

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