Author Highlight: Alex Gino 


June is Pride Month, which celebrates everyone that is part of the queer community! This Pride Month, I’d like to take the time to acknowledge one of my favorite LGBTQIA+ authors who writes middle grade stories about young people who are a part of the LGBT community, Alex Gino! 

About the Author: “Alex Gino writes queer and progressive middle grade novels, including the Stonewall and Lambda Award-winning Melissa. They love glitter, ice cream, gardening, wordplay, and stories that reflect the complexity of being alive, and they would take a quiet coffee date with a friend over a loud and crowded party any day. Alex grew up on Staten Island, NY, where they started telling stories before they could hold a pencil. After thirteen years in Oakland, California, they now live in Western Massachusetts with Thunder the Wonder Cat. They are excited to continue to write stories for and about young LGBTQIA+ people. At least, that’s the plan. Writing is hard” (Bio from Alex Gino’s website).

Find Alex Gino on the following platforms:

I first discovered Alex Gino’s book Melissa during lockdown in 2020 and was ecstatic to see trans and non-binary representation in a middle grade novel. What especially stood out to me were the open and honest conversations that didn’t diminish what the characters were feeling about their gender identities. I liked that there were discussions regarding transitioning and what it meant to be trans without shaming the characters for their lack of education. Alex’s books are wonderfully inclusive and filled with raw conversations about incredibly important topics that are handled in an easily digestible format! 

Almost immediately after reading Melissa, I picked up another one of Gino’s books, titled Rick. This book in particular was especially good at tackling subjects such as asexuality and people’s preferred pronouns. I also really enjoyed the non-binary representation, as that is a group of people that I find I don’t read about as much as I’d like to since it is so difficult to find books written about non-binary characters. It was super heartwarming to read about Rick and his relationship with his grandfather! 

Overall, I think that Alex Gino does a really good job at handling the complexity of gender identity and sexuality in a way that is not harmful to young readers. Oftentimes, authors who try to convey these intricate relationships or try to demonstrate the very real conflict of coming out to their friends and family dismiss the concerns of young queer children. Alex Gino’s stories work to undo this damaging exclusion that some other books create, and I hope their books will be ones that more queer children and parents read to see themselves represented!

Vanshikha Vij, Pine Reads Review Writer