Queer and Fearless: Poems Celebrating the Lives of LGBTQ+ Heroes

Penguin Workshop. Apr. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593523698.
Gr 3 Up–An anthology of poems celebrating 17 LGBTQIA+ heroes, past and present. Insightful biographies of each hero, paired with an accompanying poem and colorful illustrations, will appeal to young readers. In “Gilbert Designed a Flag,” colors of the Rainbow Flag float across the pages, as the poem describes how gay rights activist Gilbert Baker was inspired to sew a flag that represented the gay community and all its members. “As a community they came together/ They marched, they cheered/ A waving rainbow the way/ Gilbert’s flag was for them all.” In “Marsha P. Started an Uprising,” each line of the acrostic poem starts with a letter from the alphabet to describe Johnson’s actions to liberate and advocate for transgender rights. The poem packs inspiration into each line. Sanders features diverse cultural representations of the LGBTQIA+ community, including African American, Latinx, and Asian American members. LGBTQIA+ topics and history are described in an age-appropriate way in a glossary. Other back matter includes an author’s note, additional reading, “A Word About Pronouns,” and a list of the poems with their forms, such as quatrain, senryu, limerick, free verse, and others. Due to the font size, long biographical texts, and subtitles in a font that may be difficult to read, this book is best suited for older elementary students.
VERDICT A validation of self through historical heroes to engage readers in the classroom and at home. This book allows young readers to see that real-life heroes find the ability to make a difference by speaking their minds and letting their truths be known.

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