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Rebecca Rabinowitz
A movie called Blackbird is out (in very limited release, as far I can tell) based on Larry Duplechan's novel Blackbird. I've read the book, but decades ago. I still have my copy and hope to read it again before seeing the movie.

Blackbird is about a black gay teen boy. I remember the moment of buying the book, because I remember not understanding why it was in the adult section of the bookstore rather than the YA section. In hindsight, it was published as adult, and I think the bookstore followed that in their shelving decision. Also in hindsight, I hadn't started children's lit grad school yet, and I bet I had no idea what constituted YA. Maybe it's not YA at all! Has anyone here read it?
Rebecca Rabinowitz
17 March 2015 @ 03:17 am
In Kirkus, my darling, my life and my bride, my friend Deborah explains some of the wonderful things she loves about our editor, Vicky Smith, and writing for the Kirkus children's section. Deborah, thank you for writing that. Cosign, cosign, cosign.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
04 March 2015 @ 03:57 pm
Even though you can't write a thin character without saying something about fatness, and even though, regarding fatness, you can't talk about only yourself, and this is true within in-book worlds as well, it's still of vital importance for more fat characters to be written than are written now. The whole children's lit range, from the youngest picturebooks up through YA, needs fat characters badly. If you are an author who is considering writing a fat character (or hopefully more than one in the same book, so the one doesn't default to a symbol or token), but you're worried that you'll mess it up in some way, I say: do it anyway. Read some fatpol, do some thinking, get some beta, and do it anyway. Please go for it. We need you.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
04 March 2015 @ 03:18 pm
Intersectionality is not a hard word and it's not a hard concept. It's not from academia in any kind of exclusive way. It's about activism. Most importantly, it's not abstract or obscure -- it's about real people and day-to-day life. Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
23 February 2015 @ 01:40 am
Something stunning happened recently in the world of CFIDS/CFS/ME. The NIH, the CDC, and the Dept of Health and Human Services (and more) had asked the Institute of Medicine to look into the evidence base of this illness. They have now come out with a smashing report. Please read this brief report on their findings and recommendations. Even shorter, a few key facts they want people to know. If you'd like to see more, like the public release video and/or links to other parts of the report, go here.

The IoM comes down for a narrower definition and a new name. As a person who's had this illness for 22 years, I can tell you that what they say is bang on. This is really, really important. This is the biggest and best thing I've seen happen around my illness, ever.

SEID: systemic exertion intolerance disease. Start saying it. If you have connections to anyone in -- or adjacent to -- the medical field, please send them the IoM links. This new report and illness name could actually lead to research funding. We need research funding, badly. Without research funding we will never find cause and treatment. Immediately, it can lead to better understanding and attitude by medical pratitioners, which leads to better patient care. It can help patients explain their illness to anyone in their lives. This new name and this report can help so much. Please help spread it.

I'm so excited. This is hope.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
18 February 2015 @ 03:55 pm
My friend Amanda MacGregor is talking to her 8 year old, Callum, about sex, on a podcast called The Longest Shortest Time. 22 minutes, worth every minute.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
Mental health medications are not your enemy by my friend Amanda MacGregor at SLJ's Teen Librarian Toolbox. This article is about The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand, but it's relevant to other books too, and to life overall. Please read it.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
15 January 2015 @ 08:01 pm
Jacqueline Woodson's memoir Brown Girl Dreaming is wonderful. Wonderful. Go read it.
Rebecca Rabinowitz
One step in integrating fat politics into your life is refraining from imposing fatphobia on others, which means (among other things) refraining from urging weight loss on anyone. Much urging of weight loss hides behind the guise of concern for health when really it’s an insidious mix of aesthetic, moral, and cultural discomfort at fat people existing—and especially at fat people existing without trying to lose weight. Refraining from saying or hinting that fat people in general or a certain fat person should strive to be less fat—that’s big. Once folks are on board with fatpol, they pick up this important step pretty quickly.

Something that’s harder for folks learning fatpol to absorb is that making a statement about oneself is actually making a statement about other people. When a person talks about their own weight-loss diet—or some exercise that they hope will lead to weight loss or prevent weight gain, or the notion of calories being burned, or a diet food they purchased or ate—that’s feeding into cultural fatphobia. There’s no way to say those things without reinscribing the status quo fatphobia. Simply saying that you are trying to lose weight—or wish you could lose weight, or bought a Lean Cuisine, or burned some calories doing whatever—taps into the current of fatphobia. Fatphobia is a fierce and unforgiving current that never stops flowing. There’s no still pool into which your simple comment can go. When you mention weight loss stuff—unless you’re questioning or undermining the assumption that weight loss is good—you are invoking cultural fatphobia. You’re giving fatphobic oppression a tiny boost.

If you say that kind of thing near a fat person—if you mention joy at weight loss, wish for weight loss, sadness about weight gain, purchase of a diet food, the burning of calories—you are talking about that fat person. Even if you mean to be talking only about yourself, you’re not. You can’t. You don’t have that power. It’s not your fault that you don’t, but you don’t. Cultural fatphobia is that strong.

I don’t mean that it’s anti-fatpol to mention activities that happen to burn calories. But it is anti-fatpol to mention the calories. If you mention calories, you’re referring to weight loss and weight control. There are plenty of ways to talk about the jumping, dancing, running, swimming, sex that you just did or are about to do without tying it to weight control. Don’t mention the calories.

Or, you know, do. It’s your right to mention whatever you want. Maybe you are trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain. Maybe your cousin is, and you just toss that fact into the conversation. You and your cousin have the right to do whatever you want with your own bodies. But know that when you talk about it—even the quickest mention of calories or Slimfast—you’re not talking only about yourself. You’re talking about the fat person near you and all the fat people who aren’t near you. You can’t help but. There is no neutral. Cultural fatphobia is just that big.

It’s like individual book characters. A fat bully character in a book implies that fatness is connected to bullying—because our culture already has that stereotype entrenched. A fat bully character in an individual book invokes the culture in which it exists, and brings all that to bear. Can’t help but.

You know how I said there’s no neutral? There’s a good side to that. If you seem to be actually achieving neutral, you’re probably actively helping. If you refer to yourself or a book character as “fat” and you say it neutrally, without denigration and without symbolism? That’s helping. That’s activism. If you write a fat character whose fatness isn’t symbolic of anything? That’s helping. If you go through the world—no matter what your body size—as if fatness is a neutral trait, that’s helping. That’s magnificent.