Kidlit County

FLAMER

I’m gay. It took me a very long and sometime perilous journey to be able to say that out loud and with pride. It’s taken me a long time to say I love myself. I like who I am. These are things I couldn’t say when I was 14.

I am trying to remember the first time someone called me a faggot. It’s happened so many times that I can’t pinpoint when it started. It still hurts. The best revenge I’ve come up with is to make a book about being a faggot, and how it’s nothing to be ashamed about. How being a faggot is a beautiful thing. How being gay and colored and fat isn’t ugly. I want all the little faggots out there to know they are loved and to wear their faggotry like a crown. We are kweens after all. We are not dirty. And we are not sinners for being gay. We sin when we believe the lies that are perpetuated against us. We sin when we apologize for being here. I sinned when I didn’t want to give myself a chance because I didn’t think I was worth anything. This story is my penance and my redemption.

Today my book, FLAMER, is in the world for you. It is gay. And I am proud of it.

If I were in a more sales & marketing sort of mood, I would give you a synopsis right now and talk about the process of making this book. But there are already plenty of great interviews that can fill you in. My elevator pitch and art nerd street cred feel inconsequential in comparison to what I want to share with you here.

Children are killing themselves. Because they think they are unlovable. Because they think this world is not for them. Because they are afraid that if they don’t kill themselves, someone else will. I was a child like that. But I chose to stay. And I would like to ask my sweet, beautiful, worthy fellow flamers to stay. Stay here with me. We can see what happens. It won’t all be good. But there is more good in the world than you know. Sometimes life pulls a reveal. What gay person doesn’t love a plot twist?

FLAMER is a lot of things. Flamer is me going in deep. Deep into the pain. Snapping old broken bones into place and learning to stand up on them. I feel strong now. I want to give that strength to others.

FLAMER is fiction. But it’s also real. This is real life. This is what some people go through. Real life is violent and crass and funny and treacherous and shockingly hopeful. Flamer is me living. Flamer is me encouraging people to find a way to live. Your life doesn’t have to be lived on anyone else’s terms but your own.

You’re enough, kid. You are enough.

Love,
Mike

Join me tonight at 7:30PM EST for a launch event with Jarrett J Krosoczka (Hey, Kiddo). You will received a signed book and an art print via Brookline Booksmith

 

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FLAMER Book Launch with Jarrett J. Krosoczka 9/1

IT’s ALMOST HERE!!! My debut YA graphic novel, Flamer, releases on Tuesday, September 1st! It’s the summer between middle school and high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at camp. Everyone’s going through changes―but for Aiden, the stakes feel higher. As he navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias (a boy he can’t stop thinking about), he finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance.

To celebrate, I’ll be having a socially distanced campfire chat with Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Hey Kiddo), live from his back yard at 7:30PM ET. With your ticket purchase from Brookline Booksmith, you’ll receive a signed & personalized book and this Flamer art print!

Get your hands on this free Flamer print and signed book with your purchase of event ticket, only through Brookline Booksmith

Jarrett and I will talk about the book, discuss writing and illustrating comics for teens, and read a passage from Flamer together. I’ll do a live drawing demo, and then a live question & answer. It’ll be fun! So REGISTER NOW, get your s’mores ready, and I’ll see ya Tuesday! 

Click here for more information and reviews of Flamer. Recommended reading age 14+.

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Kidlit County

Worm Loves Worm

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the book release of Worm Loves Worm! To read a full synopsis and starred reviews, visit this page.

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I had the great honor of illustrating this important story written by debut author, J.J. Austrian. This was much more than just another project for me. It came at a poignant time in my life, and in our nation’s history.

We are all a little different. This has been a fact that I’ve been reminded of daily. For most of my life, I doubted that I could ever be married. This wasn’t because I thought that I was incapable of finding true love; it was because the law would have prevented me from Continue reading

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Illustration Station, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

Original Art Show now in Memphis, TN

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If you happen to be in Memphis between now and March 16, you can see original art from Little Elliot, Big City (and many other children’s books) on display at Memphis College of Art as part of the Original Art Show. The exhibit began at the Society Of Illustrators in New York City and is now traveling the country. Little Elliot, Big City received the Founder’s Award at the show last October. The opening reception at MCA is this Friday, February 20, 6 to 8PM. Click here for more information.

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Kidlit County, Little Elliot's Neighborhood

BEA 2014: A TOTElly Amazing Experience

Last week I attended my first Book Expo America, and it was the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a long while. The main purpose was to meet booksellers, librarians, and reviewers to promote Little Elliot, BIG CITY at any chance I could get. Buckle up, this is a long ride…

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BEA 2014, The Jacob Javitz Center, NYC

It all started Wednesday with a studio tour put together by the American Booksellers Association. Two groups of booksellers came to our humble abode to meet me and see how I work. I was flattered that they braved traffic and came all the way to Brooklyn! I showed them some original drawings, and they got a special sneak peek at the second book in my series, Little Elliot, BIG FAMILY (Fall 2015). It was a great way to get to know each other! I got to meet representatives from Secret Garden Books (Seattle, WA), Anderson’s Bookshops (Naperville, IL), Oblong Books and Music (Millerton & Rhinebeck, NY), Octavia Books (New Orleans, LA), Redbery Books (Cable, WI), and Bethany Beach Books (Bethany Beach, DE). Yay new friends!

left to right: Suzanne Perry, Secret Garden Books; me; Katie Anderson, Anderson's Bookshops, Dick Hermans Oblong Books and Music

left to right: Suzanne Perry, Secret Garden Books; me; Katie Anderson, Anderson’s Bookshops; Dick Hermans, Oblong Books and Music

Naturally, a Little Elliot party wouldn't be complete without a beautiful arrangement of cupcakes,

Naturally, a Little Elliot party wouldn’t be complete without a beautiful arrangement of cupcakes.

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