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

Knopf. Oct. 2021. 336p. ed. by Locke, Katherine & Nicole Melleby, eds. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593303948.
Gr 3-8–In this collection of prose, poetry, and comics from 16 notable middle grade creators, technique and tone run the gamut, from playful explorations of the mundane to thrilling sci-fi adventures to heartwrenching coming-of-age tales. A character with they/them pronouns grapples with the loss of a pet and learns that new beginnings don’t devalue old furry friends in Alex Gino’s “Purr-cle of Life,” while seventh-grader Marcus turns back time to avoid his disastrous accidental coming out, eventually stepping into the inevitable conclusion on his own terms in Eric Bell’s vivid “Come Out, Come Out, Whenever You Are.” Other highlights include Mariama J. Lockington’s “Devoyn’s Pod,” the poignant tale of Brooklyn-born Dev who finds her longest friendships shifting along with her understanding of herself and her neighborhood, and Molly Knox Ostertag’s comic, “The Golem and the Mapmaker,” in which a golem bound to the Emperor’s will falls for his stubborn bride-to-be, leading both to a life of reclaimed freedom. Stories vary in length and content (some skew older, such as Marieke Nijkamp’s “Splinter & Ash,” which features two masked characters befriending each other through an act of heroism that involves an assault); readers of all ages and interests will find something to love among them.
VERDICT This outstanding collection of LGBTQIA+ fiction is a worthy purchase for all collections serving tweens and teens.

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