Just 5 Things with e.E. Charlton-Trujillo: Author of Fat Angie, When We Was Fierce, and more

Friday, June 24th! 5:45 to 6:30! At the PopTop Stage! Meet us for “It’s Not Just a G Thing: Exploring the LBTQ (and Beyond) in Middle Grade and Young Adult Literature.” In the hopes of getting you super-pumped for this panel, I’ve mini-interviewed the authors you’ll be hearing: Alex Gino, E.M. Kokie, and Robin Stevenson.Today, I’ll be taking to author, filmmaker, really-strong bear-hugger, and juggler of about a million other projjects, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo.

I had read Fat Angie while I was serving on the Rainbow List, and then, not long after, was lucky enough to hear e.E.’s acceptance speech at the Stonewall Book Awards Brunch. I think we were all blown away by her. She had the ability to totally captivate the room and connect with all of us so quickly. Really, I recommend listening to the whole thing. She’s just so warm, and funny, and completely inspiring. I think it was there, at the brunch, that e.E. kindly offered to show her new movie, At-Risk Summer, at my library in Brooklyn, for free.

To ensure a large enough audience, we contacted two schools to view the movie. Due to the large population we served, I had never seen any of the tweens and teens before, nor do I think I ever saw them again. Yet, in the short time it took to show the movie and have a Q+A with e.E., the students were talking about their concerns and fears about their lives in the most frank and honest manner. This is the effect e.E. has on people: You feel like you can tell her anything and your secrets will be safe, free from judgement, with her.

In addition, e.E. has two websites: Never Counted Out: A Creative Revolution to Empower At-Risk Youth, and Big Dreams Write, because apparently she never sleeps.

Here you go, everyone, the last of the mini-interviews:

Ingrid Abrams: When it comes to public speaking, you are a total powerhouse. Your speech at the 2014 Stonewall Brunch made everyone feel motivated, validated, and just totally inspired. Then, when you talked to the kids at my last library, after a showing of your movie At-Risk Summer, you had them opening up and participating in very honest and open conversations. What’s your secret to connecting so well with your audiences?

e.E. Charlton-Trujillo: I think the secret is seeing the value in every person I connect with, with a sincere desire to hear and understand each person’s story. It’s incredibly important not to be dismissive of someone else’s journey, and that requires actively listening. And of course, I have no shortage of enthusiasm. If I’m excited about what I do, audiences will be excited too.

IA: YA literature is becoming more inclusive with every new book, but, when it comes to protagonists, there’s a patent lack of body diversity. Fat/plus-sized characters are few and far between. Why was writing about a girl named Fat Angie important to you?

e.E.: It’s important in the way that any incarnation of a character who is struggling to be seen in the world and struggling with self-acceptance is important. And because there is no one like Fat Angie in teen lit, and young people needed someone like her. And because we all have things we struggle with, that we hurt from, that we have to fight to overcome. That’s what’s important – those are the universal truths that any reader can relate to. Angie’s story transcends race, gender, even sexual orientation.

IA:  Like the title of your movie suggests, you are juggling what seems like a thousand projects devoted to at-risk youth. What do you think is the biggest misconception about this group of kids and teens?

e.E.: The theory seems to be that these kids are uneducated, that they’re problem children, or criminals, or that they’re worthless, that they have no voice and what they have to say doesn’t matter. We lose sight of the fact that these are kids. Kids who face a behemoth of challenges, when what they really need is someone to say “I believe in you” – and mean it. They need to see their value mirrored back to them. So many of these kids have the richest, most exciting ideas. We just have to meet them where they are so they can access it.

IA: What do you do to relax? Do you relax?

e.E.: This is a tough one because I am always thinking about story or empowerment and the brains stays busy. I do meditate and often. It really clears out the noise. Anyone following my Instagram knows I document the world around me. Um, what else? Oh, I’m a music fiend … the full spectrum. And I film this little web-show on occasion called The Taste Buds with author CG Watson. We do it for fun, just because it’s goofy and people seem to enjoy some of our antics.

IA: If you could pick one fictional world to magically insert yourself into, what would it be?

e.E.: You know, if I were going to pick a fictional world it would be for my teen self. It would probably The Outsiders or The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Both are stories about stepping into your own voice and accepting and/or finding your tribe.

Just for funsies, I’m including two affectionately glitter-bombed pictures of e.E., just because I can:


e.E. reminded me of this picture from my This is What a Librarian Looks Like days, and, if you’ve seen her aforementioned Instagram, you know this is her patented default face:


Oh, hey, e.E.’s upcoming book is called When We Was Fierce. It’s gotten crazy good reviews and you can look for it in August of this year.

Lastly, once again I kindly ask you to donate to the following:

e.E. also mentioned that she has been involved with an LGBTQ Book Donation Drive. Click through to donate books to the Orlando Youth Alliance.

I hope to see you all in Orlando. If you come to the panel, please come say hi.

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

♥ Facebook ♥ Twitter ♥ Support ♥ Contact ♥

My glitter-heavy displays for GLBT Book Month, complete with images for you to steal

Did you know that June is GLBT Book Month? It’s true! And while I try and knock out LGBTQ displays all the time, I’m extra excited about the GLBTRT’s first GLBT Book Month. Everybody freak out!

While I do adore the official poster for GLBT Book Month (featuring the artwork from one of my favorite picture books, This Day in June, which I talk about in length here), I made my own ’cause mama’s on a budget. I used this for both the children’s and YA displays I made:

GLBT book monthWe have limited display space in the children’s room, so I made an ever-so-tiny display behind our reference desk:

Some of the books have left the display to go circulate, so I’m a happy camper.

My larger display ended up in the YA section, where I just have much more room to set stuff up. Here’s a simple book display:

Over by the YA ref desk, I had even more room to work with, so I created my own images to display on a corkboard. I also laminated the individual images and stuck them up in each YA computer terminal (I can’t promise that every teen will see the corkboard, but most of them use the computers at some point). I used images and quotes of famous LGBTQ folks and allies. I’m still new at creating images. I should have, perhaps, rethought my font choice (some of the commas look like periods. Ugh.). Some of the transparent edits on the images are my own, and that’s why they SUCK. Also, if the person in the picture is wearing a flower crown, it means I accidentally cut the top of their head off. Not cool.

If you want to use any/all these images in your displays, please do. If they go up on your blog, please credit me, your main girl Ingrid.

harvey milk lavernecox jazzjennings

Continue reading “My glitter-heavy displays for GLBT Book Month, complete with images for you to steal”

An Interview with Ken Setterington: Author of Branded by the Pink Triangle

I’m half-Jewish, and ever since I found out what the Holocaust was, I started having very vivid nightmares about it. I know this to be true for two of my family members, as well. For this reason, I try and steer clear of Holocaust-related books and movies. I have always figured that a) it was best to not traumatize myself and b) I knew enough about the Holocaust to feel confident about not doing further research on the subject.

This year, though, I’m on the Rainbow List, which means I have to read some books that I might otherwise avoid. One such book was Ken Setterington‘s Branded by the Pink Triangle, a Young Adult non-fiction title about the treatment of male homosexuals during Nazi rule and the Holocaust. Though tentative about starting a title such as this, I was immediately struck by the book’s readability (Some teen non-fiction can be very dry. This read seamlessly). Despite the fact that I felt that I didn’t have much more to learn about the Holocaust, I quickly realized that I was wrong about this assumption. Though I knew that gays were persecuted by the Nazis, I was unaware of the reasoning for this (It wasn’t for as simple a reason as you’d think; While gay men were aggressively targeted, Nazis largely left the lesbian population alone). I was appalled at the treatment of persecuted gays during the war and afterwards as well. While the suffering of Jewish people was recognized and given a voice, that of gays was often ignored.

As I read Branded by the Pink Triangle, I couldn’t help but think how well researched and organized the book was. I got to the last page of the book to realize, of course! The author is a librarian. It all made perfect sense.

I am honored that Ken Setterington allowed me to interview him for this blog. I am in awe of his abilities as a writer, a librarian, and a voice for a community that we all need to do a better job of remembering and honoring.

Continue reading “An Interview with Ken Setterington: Author of Branded by the Pink Triangle”

The Lambda Literary Awards 2013: Everything cool that has ever happened to me happened

I presented at the Lambda Literary Awards, so I'm not sweating it either.
My seat for the evening, making me feel like kiiiiiiiind of a big deal.

Justin Vivian Bond! John Irving! Janis Ian! Nick Burd! Augusten Burroughs! Jacqueline Woodson! And some librarian you’ve never freaking heard of: ME! Yes, I was lucky enough to be a presenter at the Lambda Literary Awards. I spent the entire night whispering ERMAHGERD over and over again under my breath. There were just too many amazing people in the same room with me and I was fangirling like a maniac. First, I knew I’d be presenting the award for LGBT books for Children/Young Adults, which is obviously a category of literature I’m extremely passionate about. Second, my co-presenter was Nick Burd, author of The Vast Fields of Ordinary, a beautiful and sometimes creepy book that I truly adore. In case you were wondering, Nick is handsome and charming in addition to talented, which is totally unfair. Third, the very one and only lovely and glamorous Justin Vivian Bond was there! And v talked to me! And was wonderful and gorgeous and everything I knew v would be. Whoever sat Justin in front of me, thank you. I was on the verge of happy “I’m so excited”-tears all night. Here are some out-of-focus pictures from the evening.

I cannot believe my picture is above Justin's. CANNOT. And how handsome is Nick Burd?
I cannot believe my picture is above Justin’s. CANNOT. And how handsome is Nick Burd?

Continue reading “The Lambda Literary Awards 2013: Everything cool that has ever happened to me happened”