[LGBT Challenge 2014] July Link-Up

Hey peoples! July is here! Wow, it's hard to believe that we are now halfway through the year and the LGBT Challenge!! It looks like things have slowed down a bit, there are only a handful of reviews in last month's link collection, but I'm hopeful that the enthusiasm for LGBT books will spark up again and not fade out. Ever. Or at least not until the end of the year ;) *whispers* The more posts I see at the end of the month, the happier I will be, and the happier I am, the bigger that month's giveaway will be.

June was a pretty good month for me. I reviewed two LGBT books, Otherbound and Fan Art, which might not seem that much, but seeing how I closed May with zero LGBT reviews, I say, I deserve a round of back patting or cookies. Or both.

I also mentioned some LGBT books in one of my Mental Health Awareness Month posts (the one with that long list of recommendations) and even made a rainbow of YA QUILTBAG books ('cause Pride Month!). And yesterday's post - Chat with Anna Frost: Portrayals of LGBTQIA Characters in Japanese Media (Anime/Manga) - is jam-packed with LGBT deliciousness. Go me~

How was your June YA LGBT-wise?

This and that:
1. Sign-ups are open until Nov 30, 2014, feel free to join in any time throughout the year. Just sign up here, make a sign-up post (and link it below!) and you're good to go.
2. Please only link up YA (and shounen ai, shoujo ai) reviews. (YA Non Fiction is okay, too)
3. July is REWIND Month. You can discuss any topic that you missed or just want to do again (February: Things I want to see (or see more of) in YA LGBT fiction March: LGBT YA Covers June: Community & Support)
4. Last month's winner's - Angie's - surprise book was Silent by Sara Alva. And the winner of June is...
Congrats, Brin! I'll be emailing you with details.

Happy reading! I hope y'all continue to enjoy the challenge! 


[Blog Tour & Giveaway] Chat with Anna Frost: Portrayals of LGBTQIA Characters in Japanese Media (Anime/Manga)

To celebrate the release of The Fox's God (the last book in the Kitsune Trilogy) author Anna Frost is holding a blog tour (with a giveaway!), and this being the last stop, we prepped something special for y'all. Today I am thrilled to have Anna join me for a chat on the topic of portrayals of LGBTQIA characters in Anime and Manga a topic we both like to ramble on and on. Grab a beverage, this is going to be a long one~

Chat with Anna Frost: Portrayals of LGBTQIA Characters in Japanese Media (Anime/Manga)

Anna: Shall we proceed by category? G and L are up first! There's a lot of Japanese media in the yaoi (M/M) and yuri (F/F) genres but I find that those works are often plagued with questionable tropes and stereotypes. They too often try to force same-sex relationship into the hetero mold: one character must me the "man" and the other must be the "woman." 

I'm more interested in media that do no focus on same-sex pairings but happen to feature them in passing. This sort of casual inclusion is somewhat common and makes me happy. Some of my favourite examples would be Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune in Sailor Moon (F/F) and Nezumi and Shion in No. 6 (M/M). I'm also fond of Card Captor Sakura because it hints that Sakura's best friend Tomoyo has a crush on her and also shows a bit of romance between Sakura's brother and his best friend. D'aww.  
Cayce: I haven't noticed this practice in yuri, though I admittedly not well-versed in that genre, but it's definitely true that gay relationships are oftentimes portrayed in a very unrealistic way in yaoi. For example, like you said above; one of the guys is almost always more feminine (on the short/slim side with longer hair and bigger/cuter eyes), while the other's appearance is more "masculine". 

Furthermore, yaoi is full with gay-for-you (straight guys falling for each other) stories, which is a nice fantasy, but it's just that, fantasy. And you could say there's nothing wrong with some harmless fantasy, but that's not exactly the case. 'Cause the sad thing is that those who read only yaoi, might think this is how gay relationships work or should work. But, quoting it from more than one LGBT books, there is no "woman" in a gay relationship. (By the way, if one is looking for some more realistic yaoi, I'd recommend checking out Kano Miyamoto's work. )

I know what you mean! I'd love to see more characters - both main and secondary - that just happen to be LGBT, too. And some great examples there! Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune were my favorite "couple" in Sailor Moon and, while I wasn't sure whether they were girls or boys, I also loved the three Sailor Starlights. Okay, I'm still not sure about them, but it doesn't really matter, does it? Also, the scenes between Sakura's older brother and his best friend was one of my favorite parts of CCS. And Nezumi and Shion's relationship was just pure aww~

Let's see if I can come up with some of  my own examples as well... Well, for starters, one of my all-time favorite titles Loveless features both gay and lesbian "couples". (The manga is still on-going but the anime works great as a standalone, in my opinion.) I also have a soft spot for Antique Bakery, that serves some heavy gay undertones topped with lots of yummy cakes.

- don't they look great (both the couples and the cake!)?
Anna: It's not as bad with yuri, but it's still common for one of the girls to wear pants and assume the "manlier" role. Even Sailor Uranus got a bit of that going since she usually dress boyish when not in sailor mode. As you say, there's no woman in a gay relationship, and neither is there any man in a lesbian one. That's sort of the point of same-sex relationships! 

Do you have anything for B? The problem with bisexuality is that it's easily overlooked. Fictional characters tend to have a single love interest and they're categorized as gay or straight based on that single relationship. Most openly bisexual characters I can think of come from yaoi media like Gravitation. One exception: the characters in From the New World appear to be culturally bisexual. There's both same-sex and opposite-sex interest between the five central characters.
Cayce: This is getting increasingly harder. It depends on how you look at it, but I think it's possible that some of the characters in Revolutionary Girl Utena are bisexual. Also, if I remember correctly, Fruits Basket has characters that enjoy flirting with both sexes. But try as I might, other than Touma and Shuuichi (maybe Yuki, too?) from Gravitation, which is one of my all time favorite anime shows - just casually dropping that in here -, I can't seem to recall any anime or manga series with truly bisexual characters. I'm very sad to realise this, but the lack of openly bisexual characters is something that anime/manga apparently has in common with YA. 
- Utena and Touga, Utena & Anthy from UtenaHaru from Fruits Basket
Anna: We're really going to have to work on bisexuality representation. By "we" I guess I mean "me." I'll get right on it. :p 

That brings us to the T! My main beef with the portrayal of transexuals in anime/manga is that the writers don't seem to understand there's a difference between a gay man and a physically male-bodied person who is a woman inside (a trans woman). Being gay is about sexual attraction while being trans is about someone's personal gender identity and how they express it. If gets a bit complicated when you consider male crossdressers (drag queens) because they aren't necessarily gay or trans at all. Most media writers, Japanese or American or otherwise, seem to believe it's all the same.
I'm going to point the finger of shaaaaame at Tiger and Bunny. Most watchers, me included, figured Nathan must be a gay man, because his character shows every. single. stereotype. ever. Nathan is a tall, broad black man who covers himself in pink and glitter. He likes to sexually harass his male coworkers and he calls himself one of the girls. Oh, and his superpower is fire (yes, really). 

Then the show creators said that Nathan considers themselves genderqueer. Damnit, show writers! You don't write a genderqueer character by making them a giant flaming gay stereotype! It's not even clear what pronoun should be applied to Nathan. Is "he" okay? Is "she" better? Are both acceptable? Is "them" more appropriate? Only Nathan knows. 

You should all go watch the show anyway. Nathan is awesome. 
Cayce: Yes, and sometimes (oftentimes?) it seems like they only create those "trans" characters for comic relief. Same with crossdressing. I've seen a lot of male characters wearing female clothes -or vice versa - for solely "fan service" purposes and only a handful of stories where there were actual reasons behind the crossdressing. (And even if we eventually get an answer, most of the time the reason for crossdressing has nothing to do with gender or identity.)

Sure, there are some really good examples out there as well, but they can be quite hard to find. But if someone is looking for more realistic portrayals of trans people, my recommendation would be to start with Wandering Son, which features both transgender women and men characters. And whilst we're on the letter T, I also have to mention another favorite of mine Paradise Kiss, where one of the supporting characters, Isabella, is a male to female transgender. That woman rocks!
AnnaFor the genderqueer side, I propose Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club. While her crossdressing as a guy is largely used as a setup for humor, her attitude towards it makes me believe she really is comfortable in either role. When the club boys first realize the guy-in-shapeless-clothes isn't exactly that, they react with shock and she answers that she doesn't mind if they think of her as a boy. She keeps the same attitude throughout the series. On top of that, Haruhi's father works as a drag queen. He says that he's bisexual but gender-wise it isn't entirely clear where he stands on the spectrum.

Here's an example of a straight guy who crossdresses purely for fun: Kuranosuke in Princess Jellyfish. He likes to put on wigs and elaborate feminine outfits because he wants to be a fashion designer. He eventually admits to himself that he's developing feelings for the awkward, fashion disaster girl who is the main character.

Going beyond the LGBT letters, what have we got? I'd like to mention the fox spirit in Our Home's Fox Diety as a potential genderless person. Kugen shifts from human boy to human girl at will and while we most often see them as a girl, they also tend to use male pronouns. It's not clear whether these fox spirits have genders in their true form. 
Cayce: Oh, we have a lot more, under that rainbow! And it's a sad fact that there are many pockets of the QUILTBAG that are still hidden and underrepresented in both YA and manga/anime. Though some characters appear to be a bit gender blind when it comes to romantic feelings, I have yet to meet one that actually describes him or herself as pansexual. And what about those who are questioning, undecided and/or asexual? Where are those characters "hiding"? Nothing seems to be taboo anymore -which is both a good and bad thing-, so I think it's time for these characters to get their stories told as well.

And to end this on a brighter note, let's close with the letter I! I can't say that I have seen countless stories with intersex characters (quite the opposite!), but I do have two manga I'd like to highlight: IS: Otoko demo Onna demo nai Sei (Inter Sexuality: The Gender that is neither Male nor Female) and After School Nightmare. Both are wonderful stories, but while IS is very realistic and touching, After School Nightmare is more otherworldly and psychological. They are apparently quite lesser-known (IS especially), but I hope this will change and similar stories will emerge in the near future.
Anna: I hadn't heard of either IS or After School Nightmare. Shaaaaaame. But now I know to look! 

On that note, for those of you who might like to check out some of the anime we mentioned, look on Crunchyroll.com for No. 6, From the New World, and Our Home's Fox Diety, and look on Hulu.com for Sailor Moon, Fruit Basket, Tiger and Bunny, Ouran High School Host Club, and Princess Jellyfish. Netflix likely has a lot of these as well. I'm not aware of any similar services for manga, sadly. Check your local library's collection. 

How about you? What's your take on the topic? Have you read/seen any of the titles we mentioned? Or what other anime/manga have you seen/read that featured LGBT+ characters? How were they portrayed? Good? "Bad"? Realistic? Not so realistic? 

The Fox’s Mask by Anna Frost
Demon hunter Akakiba keeps many secrets from his human companion. The fact he’s a werefox isn’t the worst one. 

In feudal Japan, magic is dying. As a demon hunter, Akakiba finds this problematic. The evil he’s been trained to destroy is disappearing and, along with it, the shape-shifting abilities of the clan he left behind. With his only companion, a determined young human named Yuki, Akakiba traverses the country slaying demons and performing odd jobs. 

But when an army of demon possessed humans masses to exterminate his clan, Akakiba must put aside old feuds and protect his family–all while hiding an important secret from Yuki. Will they find a way to defeat the demon possessed before it’s too late? With magic dwindling, will it matter either way?
Amazon - B&N - Smashwords - Goodreads

Are you still here? Then to thank you for reading our rambling, here is a giveaway for you! Good luck~
a Rafflecopter giveaway

[RandomAsia] Future Obsessions

- where I fangirl over J-rock, J-pop, K-pop, Anime, Manga, Asian cinema and other Asian related stuffs

Future Obsessions
- looking forward to Summer Season 2014

Summer is the season of ice cream, beaches, watermelons, music and food festivals K-drama and anime. I've been following only two ongoing anime shows actively: Sidonia no Kishi (which ended this week) and Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, but I just watched the whole Hagane no Renkinjutsushi Brotherhood (so good!), and on the K-drama front, I'm kinda obsessed with School 5 (already finished it but am still looking at pics and GIFs on Tumblr) and King of High School Life Conduct (which has just started airing). And if that's not enough (no it's not!), the summer season will officially start next week and that means ANIME GALORE. Let's take a look at what's on offer! I'm only listing the ones I'm interested in (at least a little.)

Sword Art Online II - "1 year after the SAO incident, Kirito is approached by Seijiro Kikuoka from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Department “VR Division” with a rather peculiar request...." I really enjoyed season one so I'm definitely watching this. And wow, is that Kirito with long hair?! I think I like the new look avatar! And it looks like they are figthing with guns this time ... Me is excited. - [trailer]

Black Butler: Book of Circus - "It will adapt the Noah's Ark Circus Arc, picking the manga story back up from the point at which they diverged. This arc immediately follows the Curry Contest Arc in the manga, which ended at episode 15 in the first season of the anime." Ciel! Sebastian! Can't wait~ [trailer] And if your haven't watched the first two seasons, *hint* weekends are great for anime marathon watching! *hint*

Zankyou no Terror - "One summer day, a terrorist attack strikes Tokyo. The perpetrators are two boys who call themselves "Sphinx." The attack was just the beginning of the grandiose game they are playing that will envelop all of Japan." - [trailer] - Me: hook, line & sinker. Really, I love everything about this: the art, the plot, the characters (I love antiheroes and 'terrorists playing some mysterious game' fits that bill nicely), the fact that (the evil?) characters' names are numbers - everything!

Aldnoah.Zero - "In 1972, the Apollo 17 mission discovered a hypergate to Mars on the surface of the moon. Soon a war breaks out between Earth and Mars, and Martian soldiers begin to descend from the sky, riding steel giants, intent on exterminating humanity." - [trailer] I love me some good mecha (please, be good!) - There is Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen as well, but the trailer didn't exactly get my blood pumping.

Bakumatsu Rock - "Tokugawa shogunate uses the brainwashing Heaven's Songs by the top idols in Shinsengumi to subjugate the country and its people. In this Japan, writing or singing any songs besides the Heaven's Songs is a capital offence. Sakamoto Ryouma and the other rockers rise up and change the world with rock 'n' roll for freedom and justice." - I'm having a bit of a hard time imagining Sakamato Ryouma as a rockstar, but it does sound pretty hilarious so I'll probably check out an episode or two. - And omg, look at that gitar! *wants* [trailer]

Shounen Hollywood - "It takes place at a fictional theater called Hollywood Tokyo in Harajuku, where members of the idol group "Shonen Hollywood" develop their talents with diligent work and studying." - seems to be a sequel of a novel...  [PV] Again, doesn't sound like something I'd be too interested in, but I like the poster (it looks like my kind of slice of life ~.~) so I think I'll give it a chance.

Tokyou Ghoul - "Ken Kaneki is a bookworm college student who meets a girl names Rize at a cafe he frequents. They're the same age and have the same interests, so they quickly become close. Little does Kaneki know that Rize is a ghoul - a kind of monster that lives by hunting and devouring human flesh. When part of her special organ - "the red child" - is transplanted into Kaneki, he becomes a ghoul himself, trapped in a warped world where humans are not the top of the food chain." - a zombie ghoul romance? [trailer] Yum~ 

Tokyo ESP - "The science fantasy story Tokyo ESP begins with Rinka, an extremely poor high school girl who lives with just her father in modern Tokyo. One day, she is going home from school when she chases a "flying penguin" to the top of New Tokyo Tower—only to have "fish swimming in the air" suddenly appear before her. One of the fish goes through Rinka and gives her extraordinary powers beyond those of normal humans, particularly the ability to slip through solid objects." - I guess this will be about espers but who cares, a flying penguin! And a panda! And so many characters! They had me at the flying penguin though. ;) [CM]

DRAMAtical Murder - "Aoba lives on Hekishima, a small island to the southwest of the main islands of Japan. He lives with his grandmother Tae while working part time at a junk shop. The popular pastimes on the island are the ongoing turf war called "Libstease" and an online game set in the virtual world of "Rhyme." Aoba isn't involved in either, preferring to live peacefully, until one day he is forced into a Rhyme battle." - [trailer] - Hm, this is going to be really good (or really bad.)

Barakamon - "As a punishment for punching a famous Calligrapher, young handsome Calligrapher Handa Seishu is exiled on a small island. As someone who has never lived outside of a city, Handa has to adapt to his new wacky neighbors, like people traveling on a tractor, unwanted visitors who never use the front door, annoying kids using his home as a playground, etc." - [PV], [CM] - This just sounds hilarious.

Glasslip - "transfer student named Kakeru Okikura, who claims that a voice from the future talks to him"  - Slice of life sci-fi with a girl who wants to be a glass artisan and a mysterious boy? An unforgettable summer? [trailer] Sounds worth checking out.

Ao Haru Ride - "revolves around Futaba, a girl who was in love with a boy named Kō Tanaka in middle school. However, after a misunderstanding, their relationship as friends ends when he transfers schools over summer vacation. In high school, her world is turned around once again when she meets Kō again, this time under the name of Kō Mabuchi." - [trailer] I have a feeling this won't be my thing (slice of life high school drama/romance rarely works for me), and the characters don't sound as unique as in Glasslip, but a quick look won't hurt, right?

Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun - "Sakura Chiyo confesses her feelings to her schoolmate Nozaki. Due to a misunderstanding, Nozaki thinks Sakura is just a fan. She then discovers Nozaki's other identity; a shōjo manga artist. As she gets closer to Nozaki, she befriends Nozaki's quirky acquaintances who assist him and serve as inspirations for his manga." -  Harem anime is not something I usually watch (the idea is fun, but gets old fast, imo), but I kinda like the sound of this one...

Love Stage - "Izumi [...] loves the manga "Magical Girl Lala Lulu" and dreams of becoming a manga writer himself. One day he is roped into filming a commercial where he wears a dress. Another actor on the set, Ryoma Ichijo, mistakes him for a woman and falls in love at first sight." - I remember not being impressed with the manga, but, but cross-dressing and shounen-ai! [trailer] lalala~ We all need our guilty pleasures ;)

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal (TV 2014) - "New Sailor Moon anime commemorating the 20th anniversary of Sailor Moon." - nostalgic reasons. 'Nuff said. [trailer] Okay, honestly I don't actually plan to watch it, but it's still exciting news nonetheless.

What anime are you looking forward to? Or are you watching any good anime (K/J-drama) lately?


(I Wanted to Make Something Special for Pride Month) So I Made a Rainbow...

...out of YA QUILTBAG books:

~click for full size~

White(ish) - Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz (dark&cruel fairy tale), Scratches on the Surface by Aaron Smibert (self published, self harm!), Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews (non fiction), Annabel by Kathleen Winter (intersex, has an adult/literary fiction feel), Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (wunderful YA Lesbian), An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale (YA Lesbian, MC has synesthesia), Because of Her by K.E. Payne (YA Lesbian set in London), The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson (Nina's girl friends fall in love... with each other), Love Drugged by James Klise (MC tries a drug that "cures" gayness...)

Red-pink Seidman by James Erich (YA LGBT fantasy set in Viking Age Iceland), Proxy by Alex London (dystopian retelling of The Whipping Boy with a gay MC), Shadowplay by Laura Lam (sequel of Pantomime), Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (middle grade Nate runs away to try out for E.T.: The Musical - hilarious&sweet), For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu (a gender identity tale), Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan (Persian-American MC who likes girls), Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (non fiction), Falling From The Sky by Nikki Godwin (I love the new cover!), Dirty London by Kelley York (rumours and LGBT crushes)

Orange (there are a lot of orange LGBT+ covers, I wonder if there is a particular reason...) Pantomime by Laura Lam (okay, so this is more brown, but I think it looks better here; fantasy with intersex MC), Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie (contemporary; twins, horses and a cute romance), Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin (intersex, powerful&quite shocking), Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman (third intersex novel with an orange cover...interesting), Here's to You, Zeb Pike by Johanna Parkhurst (contemporary GLBT, family issues), Vivaldi in the Dark by Matthew J. Metzger (angst and fluff; depression!), The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen (gender identity issues), Turning 16 by Perie Wolford (its newer covers are more orange but I like this best; contemporary GLBT inspired by Sixteen Candles and other John Hughes movies), Ask the Passengers by A.S. King (Lesbian YA)

Yellow(ish, because omg it's so hard to find yellow LGBT+ books) - The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (futuristic Brazil, art, POC), The Center of the World by Andreas Steinhöfel (coming of age, set in Germany) Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (POC; white girlxblack girl, historical), Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (utopian contemporary), Imaginary by Jamie Sullivan (MC falls in love with an "imaginary" boy), One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva (cute&funny, Armenian-American MC, adventures in New York with a cute boy), Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky (I love it but it's not the final cover, gender identity issues), I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (it says Sun so I say yellow, twins!), Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson (hilarious "enemies" to lovers story set in an arts 'n crafts store)

Green What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson (coming of age GLBT, sports; running), When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon (Ireland, 90s, coming to terms GLBT), Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (lyrical & beautiful), Adaptation by Malinda Lo (sci-fi, girl falls in love with a boy... and a girl), The Culling by Steven dos Santos (dytopian with gay MC, survival game), Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (very surreal, very green), Meeting Chance by Jennifer Lavoie (scars and dogs), Outtakes of A Walking Mistake by Anthony Paull (laugh-out-loud funny contemporary GLBT, mommy family issues), Way to Go by Tom Ryan (summer job, friends, no romance)

BlueCoda by Emma Trevayne (dystopian, bisexual MC, music!), Hushed by Kelley York (YA GLBT Dexter), Made of Stars by Kelley York (a haunting tale of friends & secrets), Teenage Rewrite by Brandon Williams (realistic and cute romance, bisexual MC), Fan Art by Sarah Tregay (friends to lovers, art/poems), The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi (Lesbian YA set in a "degayfying" camp), The Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan (religion, conservative small town), Inheritance by Malinda Lo (sequel to Adaptation), a+e 4ever by Ilike Merey (genderqueer, graphic novel)

Purple Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis (fantasy; another world, disabled characters), Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis (YA Lesbian set in Tehran), Obscura Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen (GLBT, dark sci-fi), Tag Along by Tom Ryan (prom night shenanigans), Secret (Elemental #4) by Brigid Kemmerer (supernatural, Nick's story), Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (gender identity issues in verse form), Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, David Levithan (humorous contemporary), Huntress by Malinda Lo (YA Lesbian fantasy, prequel to Ash), No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace (twins, cheating?)

Black to Gray (I know, black is not in the Rainbow, but my rainbow - my colors ~.~) Suicide Watch by Kelley York (GLBT, depression, suicide, cancer, + a ray of hope & love), Ash by Malinda Lo (YA Lesbian fantasy, Cinderella retelling), Violence Begets... by P.T. Denys (devastating GLBT), The Book of David by Anonymous (fictional diary, contemporary GLBT), Far From You by Tess Sharpe (LGBT mystery/thriller, MC is a recovering addict), Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz (GLBT, POC, "messed up" but beautiful characters trying to make sense of a messed up world), If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan (YA Lesbian set in Iran), Gives Light series by Rose Cristo (captivating contemporary GLBT set in an Indian reservation, mute MC), Every Day by David Levithan (every day a different body, pansexual MC)

 And voila, a rainbow of -72- books! (And I've read 45 of them!!) - how many have you read?
Do any of these catch your eye?


[Homecoming] Carola from brilliant years

Happy Sunday, my peoples! I have some great news for you all: Homecoming is baa~ck!! And it has turned into a blogger/book spotlight kinda thingy, where you can share your old(ish), non-English books. I had great fun revisiting my old haunts books and now I can't wait to see yours.

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Carola from brilliant years as my first guest, who came over to showcase some of her favorite Dutch books. Without further ado - let's get to what we really want to see: the books!-, Carola, the blog is yours!

Annie M.G. Schmidt is a household name in the Netherlands. She was famous for her poems, songs, plays and musicals, but especially her children's books. They are wonderfully illustrated by Fiep Westendorp and just look at it! So cute. My parents read these to me as bedtime stories when I was little. 

Another few books I am very sentimental about. These were pretty much the epitome of childhood books for me. They were my bedtime stories when I was a little older and I read them countless times by myself. For some reason, I especially loved the Giant Peach.
A funny story: my parents held onto these books while I was studying. At some point I asked for them, and the next weekend I got home my mom happily showed me the books... Newly bought ones, haha (I noticed right away). She thought we lost the books when moving, but thankfully a little later we found my original childhood books in a box :)

Classic fairy tales: Little Thumb and Grimm's fairy tales (not the gruesome versions, clearly).

Finally, a children's/YA book that most Dutch kids have read: Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman. I borrowed this from the library once in a while, and when I found a nice copy last year I had to get it :) It's a wonderful story and since it has been translated to English, I can recommend it to everyone :) 

I have never heard about Annie M.G. Schmidt, but aren't that little dog is the cutest thing ever? We had a dog just like it when I was little, so I am sure I would have loved Jip en Janneke! (The black cat is adorable too!) I think I have seen a Matilda movie, but don't remember ever reading the original story... But haha, you have an awesome mom! :D
I love the covers of your fairy tales, the Sleeping Beauty(?) one especially. The kids on Crusade in Jeans remind me a bit of anime characters, and the story itself sounds pretty epic as well. Thanks so much for sharing these books and memories with us, Carola!

Do you have some non-English books you would like to reminisce about? Would you like to be featured in my Homecoming series? If you are interested, just head over HERE and fill in the form! Cheers~

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