LGBTQIAP+ themed graphic books I recommend

June is actually not that far away, and it’s time for the Queer Lit Readathon. I can’t believe it’s round 13! As usual, this is the readathon I’m most excited about through the year, and I hope I manage to cross off at least some of the squared of the bingo board.

Since I know people might be looking for some recommendations, I’m hoping to find the time to write some blog posts with mine. In this post, I’ll recommend some graphic LGBTQIAP+ graphic books. And to make it really simple, I’m going to use the publisher’s book description.

Us, by Sara Soler

Us is Sara and Diana’s love story, as well as the story of Diana’s gender transition. Full of humor, heartache, and the everyday triumphs and struggles of identity, this graphic memoir speaks to changing conceptions of the world as well as the self, at the same time revealing that some things don’t really have to change.

Written, drawn, and colored by Sara Soler, with English translation by Silvia Perea Labayen and letters by Joamette Gil.

Key words: Memoir, transgender, Spain

The Tea Dragon Society, by K. O’Neill

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes THE TEA DRAGON SOCIETY, the beloved and charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

Key words: Magic, MtM, disability

Coming Back, by Jessi Zabarsky

Preet is magic.

Valissa is not.

Everyone in their village has magic in their bones, and Preet is the strongest of them all. Without any power of her own, how can Valissa ever be worthy of Preet’s love? When their home is attacked, Valissa has a chance to prove herself, but that means leaving Preet behind. On her own for the first time, Preet breaks the village’s most sacred laws and is rejected from the only home she’s ever known and sent into a new world.

Divided by different paths, insecurities, and distance, will Valissa and Preet be able to find their way back to each other?

Key words: Magic, sapphic

Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman
Vol. 1 – 5

Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they’ve never met … until one day when they’re made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised.

Key words: MtM, The UK

Cheer Up!: Love and Pompoms, by Crystal Frasier
Illustrated by Val Wise / Letterer Oscar O. Jupiter

Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend Bebe is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.

Key words: Transgender, sapphic, USA

Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maia Kobabe

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.

Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

Key words: Non-binary, ace, memoir, the US

Paper Planes, by Jennie Wood
Illustrated by Dozerdraws

Former best friends Dylan Render and Leighton Worthington attempt to successfully navigate their way through a summer camp for troubled youth. They both need a good evaluation at the camp. Otherwise, they’ll be sent away, unable to attend high school with their friends. While participating in camp activities and chores, Dylan and Leighton rexamine the events that led up to the incident that sent them to camp, the incident that threatens their futures and their friendship with each other.

Key words: Ace, non-binary, the US

Bloom, by Kevin Panetta
Illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band—if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Key words: MtM, the US

Mooncakes, by Suzanne Walker
Illustrated by Wendy Xu

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft. Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any townhome. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

Key words: Non-binary, disability, magic, the US

A collage with a selection of photos of tablets with some of the book covers.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

I was gifted tomato plants

So a week ago, I was out weeding my flower beds in the front of the house, and as I went to get a bag for the weeds in the garage, I ran into one of our neighbours. She was kind enough to offer me a couple of tomato plants, and of course I accepted. It only took a couple of minutes to go inside and get two plants for me, ant they are currently growing in my windowsill, waiting to be big enough to be re-potted.

Two green tomato plants in front of a window.
21 April 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

The tomato plants are of the type Tiny Tim, a sort of cocktail tomatoes. The plants normally doesn’t get more than maybe half a meter high. I must admit I first thought about having them outside in the garden, but after reading about them, I think they’ll be better off on the balcony.

This year I’m very behind on growing anything, so I’m hoping maybe next year, I’ll be able to sow more stuff. I really need to read and learn more about it. This year I need to focus on what’s already there, though, as well as renovating the room I’m making into a library…

Spring flowers in my flower bed

The day before the first snow arrived in late October last year, I planted some bulbs that I had actually bought on sale. I didn’t really pay much attention to what types they were (it was a mix), and I didn’t really know how well it would work, knowing I had bought them on sale, and planing them so late. To my delight, in early March I could see the first flowers peek up.

A few green plants coming up from the dirt.
6 March 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

It was the tulips and crocus that first seemed to grow, and I can’t deny I was excited.

A few green plants in a flowerbed, bu no blooms.
13 March 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

Before long, I could see even more leaves growing in my flower bed, and I loved the purple crocuses!

Flowerbed with some crocuses, as well as the leaves of tulips and other plants.
29 March 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

Unfortunately, we had a new snowfall on 4 and 5 April, and that was something the crocuses didn’t quite like. They looked a bit sad when I got home after spending the following weekend in Oslo. Also, some deer had decided that my tulips were so delicious, so they had munched on them. To be fair, though, they don’t know any better, and I don’t mind it that much. Deer are cute, and now I know there’s not really any point in planting tulips.

A week after the snowfall other flowers decided to bloom, and there were some cute daffodils and some wood squills.

A flower bed with miscellaneous bulb flowers, some blooming.
12 April 2024
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2024

As we moved into this house in August 2023, I don’t really know what will pop up in my flowerbed. I am excited to see what I have, and to plant some new bulbs come autumn.

Reading Vlog for Mid Month Book Bash, January 2024

For the fist Mid Month Book Bash of 2024, I read the book Skogen : om trær folk og 25 000 andre arter, by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. The Mid Month Book Bash (MMBB for short) takes place Friday to Monday the second weekend of the month, and was started by Doris from all D books on YouTube. The purpose for MMBB is to get the reading going, end even though I don’t feel like I really need it, it’s fun to take part. Here’s my MMBB vlog for January 2024:

I’m going to India!

People who know me know that I have been dreaming of going to India for a very long time. For years, I’ve been saving money for a trip. Originally the plan was to arrange everything myself, and travel by myself, but as things are now, I don’t feel safe enough to do so. While I still will be travelling without anyone I know, I will be travelling with others – on an arrange trip by Vilja Reiser, a travel agency that do organised tours for women.

We’ll be leaving Norway 17 October 2024, and arrive in New Delhi the next day. The plan is to rest before lunch, and then head to see India Gate, the parliament building, and Rashtrapati Bhawan. On the 19th we head to Jaipur, and then on the 21st we are to visit the Ranthambore national park. We head to Agra on the 23rd, one of the most visited cities in India, and home to Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Taj Mahal is our stop the next morning, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it! On 25 October we will be in Varanasi, where we will attend a Ganga Aarti ceremony by the river Ganges at night. In the morning the next day there will be a boat trip on the river to watch the sunrise. Then on the 27th we head back to Norway.

I have taken three weeks off work for this trip, so that I have time to prepare, as well as get over the jet lag. Needless to say, I’m very excited to go!

Have you ever been to India? When did you go, and what did you see?

Photo of Taj Mahal, with a row of trees and a pool in front.

Taj Mahal
Image by يسرا توكل from Pixabay

Three LGBTQIAP+ middle grade books I love (November 2023)

First of all: Representation matters. I think it’s very important for kids to read books where they can see themselves, no matter what age. I’m really happy there are now more middle grade books with more diversity around, and I’ll hopefully get around to read more at some point. That being said, in this blog post I will recommend three English language middlegrade books with LGBTQIAP+ representation. (There definitivle exist some Norwegian ones, but there could have been more).

Too Bright to See, by Kyle Lukoff

This books tells the story of Bug, a kid who lives in a haunted house, and tries to understand a message a ghost is trying to send. Even though it may sound a bit scary, it wasn’t scary at all, but really cute. I don’t really want to give too much away, as it could spoil the reading experience.

Alice Austen Lived Here, by Alex Gino

We meet Sam, who is very in touch with their own queer identity. They’re nonbinary, and their best friend, TJ, is nonbinary too. Sam’s family accepts them for who they are, they still need to do chores, do their homework, and try not to antagonize their teachers too much. Showing the teacher respect can be hard, especially when it comes to their hostory teacher. Their teacher seems to believe that only Dead Straight Cis White Men are responsible for history. So when Sam’s home borough of Staten Island opens up a contest for a new statue, Sam finds the perfect non-DSCWM subject: photographer Alice Austen, whose house has been turned into a museum, and who lived with a female partner for decades. It doesn’t take long before the project becomes more than just winning the contest. Sam discovers a rich queer history, one that they’re a part of: A queer history that no longer needs to be quiet, as long as there are kids like Sam and TJ to stand up for it.

This is truly a feel good read, with lots of diversity.

The Witch Boy, by Molly Knox Ostertag

Aster is 13 years old, and in his family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. If you dare to cross that line, you will be exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted. To top that off, he’s really fascinated by witchery. When something is threatening Aster’s family, he knows he can help – by using witchcraft. By the help by a new, and very non-magical friend, he is encouraged to practise his skills, and must find the courage to save his family.

This is a a sweet graphic novel, and the first in a series. I still haven’t gotten around to read more that the first.

A layout with three pictures. The picture in the middle show some rainbow flags on a table, the photo to the left an e-reader, a lit candle, and a cup of coffee, and the picture to the right a book, and parts of a doughnut.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2023

Cook Book Review: Crock Pot Essentials 101 Recipes to Make with Your Slow Cooker, written by Anne Schaeffer

I had just bought a CrockPot Express second hand, and I was browsing through Netgalley’s offers on “read it now” cookbooks for slow cookers. It didn’t take long before I found the book Crock Pot Essentials 101 Recipes to Make with Your Slow Cooker, by Anne Schaeffer, and decided to give it a go. This is clearly not a vegan cookbook, but I thought that there might be recipes I could “veganise”. As I’ve mentioned before, I mainly use cookbooks for inspiration, and I thought that I could at least learn something about how to use my new device.

A tablet laying flat on top of a shawl, showing a tablet with the cover of the cookbook.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2023

The beginning of the book started with how to calculate measurements. Fair enough, but not something I care too much about on a day to day basis. There were also a couple of pages on food safety, but after skimming through, I quickly saw it mainly concerned meat (yet another reason for eating plants?).

The book is really quite organised. It has sections for different recipes. It even has one for “meals for two”, which I thought was quite neat. The first section of the book is the section for soups and stews, which I think is a good choice. The slow cooker is perfect for these kinds of recipes! Also, in-between the main recipes there are recipes called “Delicious Due”, that contains recipes with side dishes or similar that goes well with the main dish.

There are a few recipes that are marked “vegetarian”, but I found at least one recipe that was marked incorrectly: It was a chicken soup recipe. I think this must have been a glitch, though, and I hope that this is corrected in the final version of the book. There was also supposed to be an index at the end of the book, but that seems not to have been included in this ARC.

A picture illustrating a chicken soup recipe being labelled as "vegetarian".
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup being marked as “vegetarian”.

I found quite a few recipes I think can be easily veganised, or that inspire me to make something vegan that similar. This book worked well, even for me who have never used a slow cooker before in my life.