This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby. Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. 9780593303948
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Short stories
What did you like about the book? What a fabulous short story collection! There’s tons of representation in this book and every reader will find at least one (but likely many) stories that they’ll love. The entries span all fiction genres (including realistic, fantasy, novel in verse, graphic, and even realistic with historical flashbacks) and include plenty of representation of trans, non-binary, gay, bisexual, and queer kids from different backgrounds (one story has a character who uses eir/e pronouns).
From a coming out do-over (and over and over thanks to a time glitch) to a transgender girl getting support from an online friend, to a fabulous graphic queer makeover at a thrift shop, characters are depicted bravely stepping into their queer identity and claiming space for themselves. I especially loved the way this book represents lots of different ways of being queer and experiencing queer identity – not all stories are about one aspect of queer identity like coming out and some stories don’t center on sexuality or queer identity at all. The list of participating authors is a who’s who of queer middle grade authors including Alex Gino (Melissa, and Rick), Molly Knox Ostertag (Witch Boy series), Ashley Herring Blake (Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World), A.J. Sass (Ana on the Edge) and Nicole Melleby (In the Role of Brie Hutchins). All participating authors identify as queer (Several hadn’t written books with queer characters prior to this collection so that’s cool!).
Overall, this is a refreshing, affirming collection of stories for the middle grade reader who is queer, questioning, or ally.
Anything you did not like about the book? A couple stories were slower paced or harder to get into than I would have liked, but overall, this is an awesome short story collection.
To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like queer fiction will LOVE this book!
Who should buy this book? All public, elementary, and middle school libraries. Perfect for ages 9+.
Where would you shelve it? Short stories or in the 800s of nonfiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date of review: January 21, 2022