Catherine Hernandez (she/her) is an award-winning author and screenwriter. She is a proud queer woman who is of Filipino, Spanish, Chinese and Indian descent and married into the Navajo Nation. Her first novel, Scarborough, won the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript; was a finalist for the Toronto Book Awards, the Evergreen Forest of Reading Award, the Edmund White Award, and the Trillium Book Award; and was longlisted for Canada Reads. She has written the critically acclaimed plays Singkil, The Femme Playlist and Eating with Lola and the children’s books M Is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book and I Promise. She recently wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Scarborough, which is currently in post-production by Compy Films with support from Telefilm Canada and Reel Asian Film Festival. She is the creator of Audible Original’s audio sketch comedy series Imminent Disaster. Her second novel, Crosshairs, published simultaneously in Canada and the US and the UK this spring, made the CBC's Best Canadian Fiction, NOW Magazine's 10 Best Books, Indigo Best Book, Audible Best Audiobooks and NBC 20 Best LGBTQ Books list of 2020. Her third children's book, Where Do Your Feelings Live? which is a guide for kids living through these scary times, has been commissioned by HarperCollins Canada and will be published in winter 2022.
So, this is an alphabet book based on the Toronto Pride parade...how could this be anything but awesome!
Some of my favourite letters: "Q is for Queerspawn, for kids as lucky as me to have parents who are lesbian or gay or bi or trans or queer or two-spirit"
"K is for Kissing. On Pride day it feels safe for all of us to kiss our sweethearts!"
R, of course, is for rainbow. Someone else mentioned that the S is for smudging, "we burn sage to remember that we're marching on Native land" is potentially problematic, since it sound like non-Indigenous people are burning sage--is that cultural appropriation? I'm not sure how Native folks feel about this!
Also there's a shout-out to Marsh P Johnson! Overall, this is super fun and cute and has well-chosen words to introduce letters.
I enjoyed this book a lot -- but I hesitate at the "S is for Smudging. We burn sage to remember that we're marching on Native land." Smudging is a Native American practice, so it feels culturally appropriative to me for non-Natives to do it :/
Absent that page, I would whole-heartedly recommend this book. The Filipina protagonist with her posse of aunties, including folks in dresses AND beards; shout-out to Marsha P. Johnson; "M is for Mustache, which mama draws on my face to go with my tutu;" "X is for all the eXtra supplies Tita Kim gives me to keep: extra glitter, extra whistles, extra makeup, and extra sunscreen in case I need them or see anyone who does." (The whole conceit is a Toronto Pride parade.)
The whole book feels like it has a narrative flow, while still also being an alphabet book, neither of which feels forced; the alphabet letters are educational but age-appropriate; the illustrations are colorful and just really enjoyable.
This is the best alphabet book anyone has ever written in the history of all alphabet books. Please, for the love of all that is good and fabulous in the world, teach your children the alphabet with this book.
As a Toronto Native I enjoyed seeing the nods to the city but I like how it’s still inclusive enough that people who are not from Toronto can enjoy it too. I also loved the cultural diversity represented within the book including the “H for hands which we use to sign our happiness when our Deaf friends March past🥰
This alphabet book is about getting ready for a Pride celebration. We start with A is for ally and progress to other letters that introduce concepts like chosen family, gender non-conformity, and queerspawn. There's even a mention of the legendary transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson. I loved how inclusive this picture book is in terms of race, ability ("H is for hands which we use to sign our happiness"), family formation, and more. As other reviewers have mentioned there is a concern that S is culturally appropriative, "S is for smudging . We burn sage to remember that we're marching on Native land," but I appreciate that it was introduced in order to draw attention to indigenous land rights. This is a great book if you're looking to bust outside of normative depictions of family.
WONDERFUL (and somewhat controversial according to mainstream reviews/publishing) ABC book about a family, chosen fam, trans and queer community celebrating PRIDE. Lots of attention is paid to showing gender variant and trans beauty, care, and actual protest-celebrations; nuances of safety and pride are explored too. Really lovely book. GET IT for your YUNG'INS!
I don't expect much from Alphabet books. X's and Z's are usually disappointing. The book moved me beyond reason. I was flushed with feelings, moved to tears by the tender words, and caring thoughts. All children should be able to see themselves in a book. Especially the two spirit ones.
Don't stop here, though. Read all eight books from this publisher.