Friday, June 26, 2015

New LGBT Kids' Book Talks about 'Large Fears'

Not everyone decides to revisit and rewrite his or her own childhood then retell it as an adventure filled with a trip to Mars. But 24-year-old author, Myles Johnson and 27-year-old illustrator, Kendrick Daye have done just that.
Large FearsTheir new children's book, "Large Fears," is inspired by their own experience of feeling invisible due to their sexuality and gender identity. The pair decided to create a storybook featuring a "queer" boy of color named Jeremiah Nebula as the protagonist. In the book Jeremiah must learn to conquer self-doubt in order to find the courage to believe in himself.
Johnson and Daye want to share that message with the world in a Kickstarter campaign aimed at increasing the diversity within children's literature.

A recent study by the Cooperative Children's Book Center found that of the 3,200 children's books published in 2013 only 253 (about 8 percent) were about children of color. This percentage represents a decrease since 2002 when 415 (about 13 percent) of the 3,150 books published were about children of color. The numbers become even smaller when you consider how many of those picture books with children of color are LGBT-inclusive.
Large FearsJohnson and Daye took time to speak with NBCBLK contributor, Souleo about their own coming out journey, why they believe censorship of LGBT friendly children's books is unacceptable, their decision to self-publish, and the lack of diversity in the publishing industry.
Myles Johnson: 

The fact that Jeremiah is scared connects to me when I was younger because I was scared too. I didn't have that bravery that kids normally have because of my gender identity and sexuality. I wanted to create a character that learned the lessons it took me over 20 years to learn about not being a slave to fears at an early age.

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