It’s Spotlight Time!
All month long we’re going to be chatting with a few of the awesome authors
behind the middle grade anthology:
THIS IS OUR RAINBOW
A boyband fandom becomes a conduit to coming out. A former bully becomes a first-kiss prospect. One nonbinary kid searches for an inclusive athletic community after quitting gymnastics. Another nonbinary kid, who happens to be a pirate, makes a wish that comes true–but not how they thought it would. A tween girl navigates a crush on her friend’s mom. A young witch turns herself into a puppy to win over a new neighbor. A trans girl empowers her online bestie to come out.
From wind-breathing dragons to first crushes, This Is Our Rainbow features story after story of joyful, proud LGBTQIA+ representation. You will fall in love with this insightful, poignant anthology of queer fantasy, historical, and contemporary stories from authors including: Eric Bell, Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Ashley Herring Blake, Lisa Bunker, Alex Gino, Justina Ireland, Shing Yin Khor, Katherine Locke, Mariama J. Lockington, Nicole Melleby, Marieke Nijkamp, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro, Molly Knox Ostertag, Aisa Salazar, and AJ Sass.
Today we’re chatting with one of the contributing authors, Lisa Jenn Bigelow!
This is Lisa. Everyone say, “Hi, Lisa!”
Welcome to Kick-butt Kidlit, Lisa! Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and now live outside Chicago with my child and my dog. I got hooked on writing in second grade and have three published books, including two for middle grade readers: Drum Roll, Please, and Hazel’s Theory of Evolution. I’m also a children’s librarian, which is a great job if you love books, helping people, and hanging out with kids. I don’t have a ton of free time, but sometimes I’ll go on a guitar, piano, or crochet kick.
What was the inspiration behind your contribution to THIS IS OUR RAINBOW?
Katherine and Nicole asked us to imagine a story our middle grade self would have wanted to read. My mind went to Ruth Chew’s Matter-of-Fact Magic books—fantasy stories that take place in everyday settings. I also wanted to try writing an aromantic queer story about getting the girl in which friendship is the goal, not a consolation prize. The result is “Girl’s Best Friend,” about a tween witch experiencing such a strong platonic attraction to a non-magical girl that she’ll go to extremes to gain her attention and trust. Obviously, she’ll use magic to do it.
What’s your favourite line from your story in THIS IS OUR RAINBOW?
“She craned her neck toward the kitchen. She hoped nothing incriminating lay in plain sight—no jars of pickled frogs’ feet, or neon pink potions simmering on the stove. But there was only the aftermath of the tuna casserole.”
This paragraph is low fantasy in a nutshell for me: the juxtaposition of the strange and magical with the completely ordinary. And nothing is more ordinary than a tuna casserole.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading The Year I Flew Away, by Marie Arnold. The main character, Gabrielle, has just moved from Haiti to Brooklyn, and the other kids at school bully her. Gabrielle makes a deal with a witch to help her fit in, but of course, these deals always have catches. I’m enjoying the magic, humor, and voice, literally brought to life by the author, who does a wonderful job performing the audiobook.
What’s your best piece of kick-butt advice?
The biggest mistake I’ve ever made was thinking I was alone. That’s one of the lies fear tells, and it feeds on itself. We get really good at hiding our struggles, isolating ourselves further. The truth is, there are always other people who are going through the same thing we are, but you can only find them by being brave and vulnerable enough to speak your truth. This is true in the wild world of writing or the rest of life. You can’t wait for someone else to throw you a lifeline. Reach out. Speak up.
Thank you so much for joining us, Lisa!
Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out THIS IS OUR RAINBOW!
It’s on shelves now!
Click here to enter to win a copy of THIS IS OUR RAINBOW!
Contest ends Friday, October 29th at 11:59 pm EST
(There will be more opportunities to enter the giveaway with each spotlight post
so keep entering the draw!)
Thanks for reading!
The next KBKL Spotlight on This Is Our Rainbow post features: AJ Sass!
Don’t forget to check out our previous posts featuring: