2023 FOLD Kids Challenge - June - The FOLD

2023 FOLD Kids Challenge — June

A book that celebrates queer joy by a BIPOC author

By Ardo Omer

This month, we’re highlighting books that celebrate queer joy by BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Colour) authors for picture book, middle grade, and young adult readers. From a perfect day that’s been interrupted to the magic of drag kings and queens, these stories will help young readers celebrate queer joy.
Cover art for NOODIN'S PERFECT DAY, a picture book by Ansley Simpson and illustrated by Rhael McGregor, showing a a young person being hugged by two younger kids
Noodin's Perfect Day, by Ansley Simpson, illustrated by Rhael McGregor (Picture Book)

When Noodin’s perfect day is interrupted, they decide to strike out for adventure instead – spending the day with their human, animal, and tree cousins in the city. But will Noodin ever get the pancakes they’re craving? Come along and find out!

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Cover art for ELLIE ENGLE SAVES HERSELF, a middle grade fiction by Leah Johnson, showing a black little girl surrounded by butterflies and new grass in bright lights
Ellie Engle Saves Herself, by Leah Johnson (Middle Grade Fiction)

From award-winning YA author Leah Johnson comes her magical middle grade debut: a laugh-until-you-cry, cry-until-you-laugh story about an ordinary girl whose life is turned upside down by some extraordinary powers.

Ellie Engle doesn’t stand out. Not at home, where she’s alone with her pet fish since her dad moved away and her mom has to work around the clock . Not at the bakery, where she helps out old Mr. Walker on the weekends. And definitely not at school, where her best friend Abby—the coolest, boldest, most talented girl in the world—drags Ellie along on her never-ending quest to “make her mark.” To someone else, a life in the shadows might seem boring, or lonely. But not to Ellie. As long as she has Abby by her side and a comic book in her hand, she’s quite content.

Too bad life didn’t bother checking in with Ellie. Because when a freak earthquake hits her small town, Ellie wakes up with fantastical powers that allow her to bring anything back to life with just her touch. And when a video of her using her powers suddenly goes viral, Ellie’s life goes somewhere she never imagined—or wanted: straight into the spotlight.

Surviving middle school is hard enough. Surviving middle school when paparazzi are camped out on your front lawn and an international pop singer wants you to use your powers on live tv and you might be in love with your best friend but she doesn’t know it? Absolutely impossible.

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Cover art for KING, QUEENS AND IN-BETWEENS, a young adult fiction by Tanya Boteju, showing a bunch of teens across the gender spectrum dancing in vibrant pink on a dark blue background
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, by Tanya Boteju (Young Adult Fiction)

Judy Blume meets RuPaul’s Drag Race in this funny, feel-good debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while discovering the magical world of drag.

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.

Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.

From debut author Tanya Boteju comes a poignant, laugh-out-loud tale of acceptance, self-expression, and the colorful worlds that await when we’re brave enough to look.

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