This article originally appeared in SCBWI‘s July Insight.
Hi. I’m Mike Curato. I was asked to share what it’s like being an openly gay/queer children’s book author/illustrator. Here are a few snapshots:
My first book is coming out! It is called Little Elliot, Big City! I have to write a bio for the jacket flap. Do I say that I am married to a man? How would it affect sales? I decide not to mention it. But an Easter egg on one of the pages reveals his name.
I see Tomie dePaola speak for the first time at an SCBWI conference. He is sassing the whole audience in his floral silk scarf. That’s the man who wrote Oliver Button is a Sissy. He wrote it for a boy like me. I feel safe. Later we are introduced, and Tomie reads my F&G. He has kind words of encouragement. I see his long career spread across the smile on his face, and it gives me hope.
I am on my first book tour. I am at a Catholic elementary school. It’s very familiar to me. Same uniforms, same linoleum, same portrait of the Sacred Heart. Are the teachers the same as well? Should I be careful about what I share about who I am? Do I sound too gay right now?
I am still on my first book tour. I am in middle America, bound for a very small town Continue reading