The morning began with Michael Cart giving an overview of some of the important social and political events related to LGBTQ issues. Next, Cart and Christine Jenkins presenting a list of all of the books with LGBTQ content from 1969 to 2010. They booktalked many of these, highlighting some trends (resolution by automobile crash, melodrama, impossibly good looking gay men and the women who love them), the breakthrough books, and the real dingers. It was like being back in library school, taking a class on LGBTQ YA Lit, but it was compressed. If you want to spend more time with these books and these issues, check out Cart and Jenkins’ book from Scarecrow Press, The Heart Has It’s Reasons.
If you get your hands on their bibliography and were not in attendance, please note that this is not a list of recommended books. Some are good and some are not so good. During introductions, we each chose books from the list to highlight. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and Levithan got the most nods, along with the graphic novel Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. Please add your own recommendations in the comments.
After lunch of sandwiches and delicious chocolate cupcakes, there was an author panel consisting of: Lauren Bjorkman, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Malinda Lo, and Megan Frazer (hey, that’s me!). We talked about what brought us to write our books, the challenges we faced, and what we hope to see in the future. We compiled a list of links that are on Malinda’s site.
After the author panel, I had to dash to the Body Positivity and Fat Acceptance in Contemporary YA Fiction pre-conference (which I hope someone else blogs about, because when I came in they were sharing some awesome ideas and resources), so I cannot give a first-person account of the breakouts that occurred — if anyone else would like to chime in, please do.
If you are in Albuquerque but missed the pre-conference, you can still hear about LGBTQ issues today at 1:30 at the breakout session: The New Gay Teen: Moving Beyond the Issue Novel.