Helen

Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff

Our protagonist, Annabelle, attends a small art focused school in a small town. A new student named Bailey arrives. New students almost NEVER happen. Most of the kids in Annabelle’s class have known each other since kindergarten. Annabelle gets along well with Bailey right away. In the course of the first day, Baily mentions they prefer they/them pronouns and is nonbinary.

Bailey is the first 2SLGBTQI+ peer Annabelle has been aware of. She introduces Bailey to her parents and is shocked by her father’s strong, negative reaction. She always thought her parents were extremely inclusive and open minded.

After Bailey leaves, in the course of Annabelle talking to her parents about how disappointed she is by her father’s reaction, he eventually works up the courage to tell Annabelle that he is trans. In fact, he is her birth mother, and Annabelle’s mother isn’t actually related to her by blood. WOW!! Annabelle did not see that coming. To the credit of the author, neither did I.

Support vs. resistance to 2SLGBTQI+ programming at the school, becomes a major plot point. Partly to support Bailey, Annabelle’s father eventually comes out to the community. Actions of teachers and administrators are presented well, championing what open dialogue looks like. Although Bailey explaining things to Annabelle becomes a touch didactic at times, the content is probably informative to most 10- to 14-year-olds. (This 50 something reader certainly learned a lot).

This book supports 2SLGBTQI+ kids, but also shows other kids – and grown-ups - how to be helpful, empowering allies.

Juvenile Fiction pr6503591

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