What I’m Up To:
On Saturday June 17, the town of Easton will host the second annual Delmarva Pride Festival, and I’m thrilled to announce that Shore Lit will be participating with a Pride Pop-Up Bookshop celebrating queer stories for everyone.
We’re partnering with our friends at The Ivy, the cherished Baltimore bookstore, whose brilliant booksellers have put together a stellar collection of titles with queer and trans themes for you to browse and shop. There is truly something for everyone: romance, sci-fi, memoir, children’s, YA, poetry, literary fiction… you name it.
We’re especially excited that award-winning author and illustrator Elizabeth Lilly will be joining us in the afternoon to chat and sign books! Elizabeth’s work for children deals with the difficulty of understanding and loving yourself: Geraldine is about a lonely giraffe navigating life in a human school, while Let Me Fix You a Plate is about the food and love in her dual Colombian and American cultures. Elizabeth finds pride and joy in her identity as a lesbian, bi-racial, Colombian Latina, and she’s put together a curated capsule featuring some of her own favorite inspiring YA and picture books. Stop by and say hi!
Book-ban attempts aimed at LGBTQ+ content are soaring: seven out of the American Library Association’s top thirteen most challenged books feature queer stories. Shore Lit stands in defense of literary freedom with PEN America and the ALA, who remind us that banning books is “an attack on every person’s constitutionally protected right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore.”
Free people read freely, y’all. So this month I’m making a point to read some of these frequently banned titles (descriptions pulled from the internet):
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe. ALA Alex Award winner and Stonewall-Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award Honor Book. “Started as a way to explain to the author’s family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.”
All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson. New York Times bestseller. “In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores their childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia.”
Flamer by Mike Curato. Lambda Literary Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. “It's the summer between middle school and high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at camp. Everyone's going through changes―but for Aiden, the stakes feel higher. Award-winning author and artist Mike Curato draws on his own experiences in his debut graphic novel.”
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. ALA Alex Award winner. “For Mike Muñoz, life has been a whole lot of waiting for something to happen. Not too many years out of high school and still doing menial work–and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew–he’s smart enough to know that he’s got to be the one to shake things up if he’s ever going to change his life.”
This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson. Guardian Best Book of the Year. Garden State Teen Book Award Winner. “There's a long-running joke that after ‘coming out’, a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. This book is that instruction manual. This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it's like to grow up LGBT also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums.”
The Walters Choir, Walters Church, Oxford, Maryland, part of the Maryland Spirituals Initiative. Image via the Water’s Edge Museum, Oxford.
What Else I’m Looking Forward To on the Shore This Month:
Film: Sky Hopinka @ Academy Art Museum, Easton
6:00 Tuesday, June 6
The Native filmmaker and MacArthur Genius will present several of his experimental shorts, followed by a Q&A with Salisbury University professor Dr. Ryan Conrath.
Theater: Alice in Wonderland @ Dorchester Center for the Arts, Cambridge
$15 adults; $10 students, Free for children under 5
Produced and performed entirely by local students, Groove Theater’s Student Lab production of Lewis Carrol’s classic is a family-friendly romp through Wonderland.
Lecture & Concert: Maryland Spirituals Initiative Gospel Concert @ The Avalon Theater, Easton
6:00 Saturday, June 17
This unique Juneteenth celebration will feature artist Ruth Starr Rose’s illustrated collection of African American spirituals, which was lost for nearly a century and just recently rediscovered, with lectures from the Water's Edge Museum scholars and a gospel choir performance.
Book Fair: Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival @ Talbot County Free Library, Easton
10:00-2:00 Saturday, June 24
More than 20 children’s book authors and illustrators will be at the library to kick off the 2023 Summer Reading Program. The best part: any kiddo who signs up gets a voucher good for one free book from the attending author of their choice.