Tag Archives: Sarah Prager

Exclusive Excerpt Reveal: Rainbow Revolutionaries by Sarah Prager

Sarah Prager is no stranger to LGBTQIAP+ history books; her first, Queer, There, and Everywhere, received numerous accolades and was named a New York Public Library Best Book of 2017. I’m thrilled to have her on the site today to reveal an exclusive excerpt from her upcoming middle grade follow-up, Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History, which is illustrated by Sarah Papworth and releasing from HarperCollins on May 26th! (And pssst: Sarah’s holding an online launch party the same day! See details here.) Here’s the blurb:

Cover art by Sarah Papworth, cover design by Alison Klapthor

Take a journey through the lives of fifty revolutionary queer figures who made history in this groundbreaking illustrated biography collection from the author of Queer, There, and Everywhere. Did you ever wonder who invented the computer? Or who advised Martin Luther King Jr. on his nonviolent activism? Author Sarah Prager and illustrator Sarah Papworth bring to life the vibrant histories of fifty pioneering LGBTQ+ people our history books forgot to mention. Delve into the lives of Wen of Han, a Chinese emperor who loved his boyfriend as much as his people; Martine Rothblatt, a trans woman who’s helping engineer the robots of tomorrow, and so many more! From athletes (Billie Jean King) to doctors (Magnus Hirschfeld) and activists (Marsha P. Johnson) to painters (Frida Kahlo), LGBTQ+ people have made their mark on every century of human existence. This book is a celebration of the many ways these hidden heroes have made a difference and will inspire young readers to make a difference, too.

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Bookshop | All She Wrote Books (signed)

And here’s the excerpt, with gorgeous illustrations from Sarah Papworth!

Frieda Belinfante

Copyright Sarah Papworth 2020

Frieda came from a musical family in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and started playing cello when she was ten. Her sister says that because Frieda had small hands, she had to wrestle to handle the large instrument. Frieda conquered the cello just like she took on other difficulties in life.

Frieda, who was a lesbian, got the chance to try her hand at something else musical besides the cello—conducting. There she found her true passion. She was so talented at conducting student musicians that she got the opportunity to conduct a professional orchestra. Her friends were skeptical that she could pull it off—no woman had ever conducted a professional orchestra before in Europe! In 1937 Frieda tried . . . and succeeded.

But Frieda had to disband her orchestra in 1940 because of World War II. Frieda put her steady hands to work by forging fake identity documents for Jews. At that time in the Netherlands, the Nazis were trying to find all the Jewish people. Everyone was required to carry identification, so Frieda made documents for Jewish people to carry that said they weren’t Jewish, so they could escape. It was dangerous work, but Frieda knew it was the right thing to do.

She even helped plan a bombing of Amsterdam’s city hall so that all the original IDs were destroyed and Jewish people would be protected. After the bombing, in 1943, Frieda had to go into hiding. The Nazis captured many of the activists she had worked with on the attack, but Frieda disguised herself as a man and was able to go undetected for weeks. Her male look was so convincing that her own mother didn’t recognize her when she passed her on the street. Then Frieda escaped to Switzerland, crossing snowy mountains and fording icy rivers (even though she couldn’t swim) to get to a place where she could survive.

After the war, Frieda wanted a new life, so she moved to Southern California— somewhere to warm her heart after all the horrors she had seen. Years after her orchestra had been ended by the war, she got the chance to be a conductor again, this time with the Orange County Philharmonic until 1962. She spent her life breaking barriers in music and heroically helping people in need.

Tshepo Ricki Kgositau 

Copyright Sarah Papworth 2020

Ricki didn’t just change her own life on December 12, 2017—she changed the lives of many more. On that day, a high court in her country of Botswana ruled in her favor in a historic case. But we’ll hear more about that later.

Before she was making history, Ricki was an energetic fashion-loving child playing house in rural southern Botswana, playing the part of the mommy (raising the curiosity of those around her because she had been assigned male at birth). She loved to steal her grandma’s food to pretend to cook, and play with makeup and high heels. When she moved to the capital, Gabarone, her kindergarten teachers called her parents in for a meeting to tell them there was something wrong with their “son,” who kept asking to be called a girl.

It took until middle school for Ricki’s transition to be respected. Her family got on board, and a supportive teacher encouraged her. In high school, Ricki still had to wear the boys’ uniform, but she dressed it up with bangles and wore makeup. It wasn’t until she saw Oprah’s special on Jazz Jennings on TV that she realized there was a word for who she was: trans.

One day in 2010, Ricki lost her Botswana national ID card. For someone else, getting it replaced would have been a routine inconvenience. However, when Ricki went to get it replaced, she was told that because the lost ID said she was male and she presented as female, they couldn’t give her a new one. This inconsistency around her sex on this little piece of laminated paper would turn into a years-long legal battle.

Ricki just wanted her new ID—she needed it for important things like getting a job. But to get it she needed to hire a lawyer and take on the entire government of Botswana! The case became about much more than Ricki’s ID—it would go on to affect trans rights in all of Africa. If Ricki won, it would mean no trans person in Botswana would have to go through this ordeal again. And in 2017, she won!

There was one thing left to do that her new female ID opened the door to—get married. Ricki happily wedded her love, Beltony Kanza, in 2018 in Botswana. (Always the fashionista, she designed her wedding dress herself.) This is just the beginning of her life story—and of the struggle for trans rights across her continent.

* * *
Sarah Prager is an advocate for queer history education particularly for youth. HarperCollins published her first book, Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World, on May 23, 2017. The book received three starred reviews, was named an official selection of the Junior Library Guild, received five award nominations, and was named a Best Book for Teens 2017 by New York Public Library and Chicago Public Library. Her second book, Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History, will be published by HarperCollins Children’s on May 26, 2020 and is currently available for pre-order. It has already been named a Junior Library Guild selection. Sarah’s writing has been published in The Atlantic, The Advocate, HuffPost, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Bustle, JSTOR Daily, them, Xtra, GO Magazine, Tagg Magazine, and various other outlets. Sarah has presented on LGBTQIA+ history to over 140 groups across five countries, including the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Harvard Business School, and Microsoft HQ in Times Square. She lives with her wife, two children, and three cats in central Massachusetts. www.sarahprager.com.

2017 Good News Roundup of LGBTQ Reads

Continuing in the tradition that’s been happening on this blog since…last year, I’m documenting some of the many literary accolades that’ve been heaped on incredible LGBTQIAP+ works this year, partly to help you find great books but mostly just so we can bask in the joyous glory. Without further ado, check out what’s been deemed this year’s best of the best!

Middle Grade

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke: Kirkus’s Best Middle-Grade School and Friendship Stories of 2017

Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker: NPR’s Best Books of 2017

Young Adult

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater: a New York Public Library Best Book of 2017, a B&N Best Book of 2017, School Library Journal‘s Best Nonfiction of 2017, a Kirkus Best Teen Nonfiction of 2017,

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller: NPR’s Best Books of 2017

At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson: Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library

Dreadnought by April Daniels: a New York Public Library Best Book of 2017, a Kirkus Best Teen Fantasy of 2017

Sovereign by April Daniels, a Kirkus Best Teen Fantasy of 2017

Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens: a Kirkus Best Contemporary Teen Reads of 2017

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway: National Book Award winner, New York Times bestseller, Publishers Weekly Best YA of 2017, one of Bustle‘s 17 Best YA Novels of 2017, a Kirkus Best Contemporary Teen Reads of 2017, Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library, a B&N Best Book of 2017B&N Teen Blog’s Best YA of 2017, NPR’s Best Books of 2017

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: New York Times bestseller, Publishers Weekly Best YA of 2017, Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth 2017, a Kirkus Best Teen Books of 2017 with a Touch of Humor, Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library, one of Bustle‘s 17 Best YA Novels of 2017, a New York Public Library Best Book of 2017, a B&N Best Book of 2017NPR’s Best Books of 2017, New York Magazine‘s 10 best YAs of 2017

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard: Lambda Literary Award for YA Fiction

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera: one of Time‘s best YAs of 2017

Ida by Alison Evans: shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2018

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin: Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo: Stonewall Award (YA)

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan: B&N Teen Blog’s Best YA of 2017

It’s Not Like it’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura: a Kirkus Best Teen Romances of 2017

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore: Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public LibrarySchool Library Journal Best YA of 2017, B&N Teen Blog’s Best YA of 2017

Like Water by Rebecca Podos: B&N Teen Blog’s Best YA of 2017

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo: Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library, a Kirkus Best Teen Mysteries and Thrillers of 2017, New York Magazine‘s 10 best YAs of 2017

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert: a Kirkus Best Teen Romance of 2017, one of Bustle‘s 17 Best YA Novels of 2017, New York Magazine‘s 10 best YAs of 2017, Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth 2017

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate: a New York Public Library Best Book of 2017

Now I Rise by Kiersten White: B&N Teen Blog’s Best YA of 2017

Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson: Stonewall Honor (YA)

Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager: a New York Public Library Best Book of 2017

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library, a Kirkus Best Teen Romance of 2017

Release by Patrick Ness: Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library, a Kirkus Best Teen Romance of 2017

Spinning by Tillie Walden: Publishers Weekly Best YA of 2017, a New York Public Library Best Book of 2017, Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth 2017, a B&N Best Book of 2017Top 10 Queer and Feminist Books of 2017 via Autostraddle,

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee: Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: New York Times bestseller, School Library Journal Best YA of 2017, Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth 2017, one of Bustle‘s 17 Best YA Novels of 2017, a Kirkus Best Teen Sci-Fi of 2017

This is Where it Ends by Marieke NijkampNew York Times bestseller

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham: Stonewall Honor (YA)

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour: Publishers Weekly Best YA of 2017, B&N Teen Blog’s Best YA of 2017, Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth 2017, one of Bustle‘s 17 Best YA Novels of 2017, a New York Public Library Best Book of 2017, a B&N Best Book of 2017: Teens

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: Stonewall Honor (YA)

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemoreSchool Library Journal Best YA of 2017, a Kirkus Best Teen Romance of 2017,  Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth 2017Best Teen Fiction of 2017 by Chicago Public Library

Manga/Graphic Novel

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi: a B&N Best Book of 2017NPR’s Best Books of 2017

Adult Fiction

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly: B&N Sci-Fi’s Best SFF Books of 2017

The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine: Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney: Elle‘s Best Books of 2017Slate‘s Best Books of 2017, one of Buzzfeed’s 24 Best Fiction Books of 2017

Cottonmouths by Kelly J. Ford: a Los Angeles Review‘s Best Book of the Year

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado: National Book Award finalist, a Los Angeles Review‘s Best Book of the Year, winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, Kirkus Prize finalist, #1 Indie Next Pick for October 2017, Top 10 Queer and Feminist Books of 2017 via Autostraddle, one of New York Times’ Critics’ Top Books of 2017, one of Washington Post‘s 50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2017, Los Angeles Times’ Best Books (Fiction) of 2017, Publishers Weekly Best Fiction of 2017, Chicago Tribune‘s Best Books of 2017, Kirkus’s Best Fiction of 2017, Boston Globe‘s Best Books of 2017, Elle‘s Best Books of 2017, NPR‘s Best Books of 2017, Slate‘s Best Books of 2017, Library Journal‘s Best Books (Short Stories) of 2017, Bustle‘s Best Fiction Books of 2017, Entropy Magazine‘s Best of 2017: Fiction Books, Huffington Post‘s The Best Fiction Books of 2017, one of Buzzfeed’s 24 Best Fiction Books of 2017, Commonweal‘s Top Books of 2017

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn: Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction

Into the Blue by Pene Hanson: Lambda Literary Award for Gay Romance

Marrow Island by Alexis M. Smith: Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction

Not One Day by Anne Garréta (trans. by Emma Ramadan): Entropy Magazine‘s Best of 2017: Fiction BooksAlbertine Prize 2018 nominee

Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg: Kirkus’s Best Fiction to Get Your Book Club Talking of 2017

Small Beauty by jia qing wilson-yang: Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction

Soul to Keep by Rebekah Weatherspoon: Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Erotica

The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley: B&N Sci-Fi’s Best SFF Books of 2017, Kirkus’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017

Wanted, a Gentleman by KJ Charles: a B&N Best Book of 2017

Poetry

Thief in the Interior by Philip B. Williams: Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry

play dead by francine j. harris: Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry (tie)

The Complete Works of Pat Parker edited by Julie R. Enszer: Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry (tie)

Reacquainted with LifeKOKUMO: Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen: Library Journal‘s Best Books of 2017 (Poetry)

Non-Fiction

How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, David France: Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Nonfiction

Black Dove: Mama, Mi’jo, and Me by Ana Castillo: Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction

Life Beyond My Body: A Transgender Journey to Manhood in China by Lei Ming and Lura Frazey: Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction

Mean by Myriam Gurba: Top 10 Queer and Feminist Books of 2017 via Autostraddle, Library Journal‘s Best Books of 2017 (Memoir)

To My Trans Sisters, ed. by Charlie Cregg: Top 10 Queer and Feminist Books of 2017 via Autostraddle

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life: Essays by Samantha Irby: Autostraddle’s Top 10 Queer and Feminist Books of 2017, one of New York Times’ Critics’ Top Books of 2017, Chicago Tribune’s Best Books of 2017, Elle‘s Best Books of 2017, NPR’s Best Books of 2017,