KBKL Spotlight On This Is Our Rainbow: Nicole Melleby

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:


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 AND one of the editors of THIS IS OUR RAINBOW, Nicole Melleby!

This is Nicole. Everyone say, “Hi, Nicole!”

Photo Credit: Liz Welch

Welcome to Kick-butt Kidlit, Nicole! Tell us about yourself!

Hi! My name is Nicole Melleby, and I’m a born-and-bred Jersey girl who writes queer middle grade novels set around my hometown. My books have been Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selections, recipient of the Skipping Stones Honor Award, and a 2020 Kirkus Reviews best book of the year. My debut novel, Hurricane Season, was a Lambda Literary finalist. I live with my wife and our cat, whose need for attention oddly aligns with my writing schedule.

What was the inspiration behind your contribution to THIS IS OUR RAINBOW?

I wanted to write a queer middle grade version of the song Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne. Once I knew that, I thought about all of the crushes on older women I had growing up—on teachers and other adult women who gave me attention, even if I didn’t know at the time that they were crushes—and I wanted to channel those feelings into a more self-aware queer character, and what that journey might look like for her.

What’s your favourite line from your story in THIS IS OUR RAINBOW?

Gonna cheat with a few lines:

The fall happened right in front of Stacy Mackenzie’s house. This is important to know, because Stacy’s mom worked at home, and she saw the entire incident from her living room window. She was outside the front door before Stacy even dismounted her own bike, and as she crowded around Abigail, Abigail’s mind took the time to think, Stacy’s mom has the softest hair, regardless of the pain. 

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading a lot of middle grade novels in verse, since I’m starting to work on one of my own, and the next one up on my to-read is The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan.

What’s your best piece of kick-butt advice?

I tell everyone about my way of handling rejection, because I swear it helps: If you’re facing a rejection, I find it best to sing this ridiculous song, because it’s so ridiculous it makes me feel better every single time I have sung it to myself (which has been often, because rejection is part of being a writer!): Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I should just go eat worms. Worms! Worms! Worms!

That is amazing and I definitely hope everyone tries it!

Thank you so much for joining us, Nicole!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out THIS IS OUR RAINBOW!
It hits shelves on October 19th!

Cover Art by JesnCin
Cover Design by Sylvia Bi

Add THIS IS OUR RAINBOW on Goodreads!

Connect with Nicole on Twitter or through her website!

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: Eric Bell!