Sarahbrannen's Blog

updates from Sarah S. Brannen, children's author/illustrator

Coming Out Day

It’s October 11, National (and international) Coming Out Day.

Because I wrote a picture book about a same-sex wedding, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, I’ve been asked a number of times, in interviews, whether I am a lesbian or in a same-sex relationship. I used to refuse to answer, out of solidarity with my gay friends. It seems so unfair that gay people get asked this question, and, whoever you are, it’s intrusive and nobody’s business!

However, my gay friends have asked me to start answering the question, so I’ve decided to come out as straight. There’s even a label I can put on: I’m an ally. We feel that it’s important to make it clear that there are straight people passionately committed to gay rights and marriage equality.

I’m not comfortable discussing my personal life in public and I don’t think anyone cares about it. However, I’ve taken a lot of heat for my book and read some very nasty things about it, and myself, in public forums. And I guess that really does make me an ally, because I’ve shared some of the unpleasant things that are a constant part of my gay friends’ lives.

I’ve shared wonderful things too, of course, and I’ve gotten wonderful letters from people, gay and straight, telling me how much my book means to them. It has most definitely been worth it.

And now I’ve shared another experience that I never expected to have, that of coming out in public!

So, happy October 11, everyone. I’m proud of all of you.

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wise Words from a Librarian

In honor of Banned Books Week, here’s the link to Douglas County head librarian Jamie Larue’s wonderful blog post in response to a library patron who wanted my book taken off the shelves.

I’ll be meeting with Jamie on Monday; watch for a video interview online soon!

October 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Read-Out

I had the honor to be included in the ALA’s Banned Books Week Read-Out on Saturday in Chicago. It was thrilling to meet some of the other authors on the 2008 most-challenged list: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Stephen Chbosky, Lauren Myracle, Chris Crutcher and Cecily von Ziegesar.

We met before noon in the Newberry Library, and then headed outside to Bughouse Square, where a nice crowd was waiting. Dubious weather meant we spoke under a tent, but the rain held off and the sun even came out eventually.

Chris Crutcher hosted the event and introduced each author. He spoke eloquently about his ultra-conservative father’s passionate defense of the first amendment and opposition to book-banning of any kind. Referring to the many challenges to books with homosexual characters, including my own, he said, “When we ban a book about a kid on the outside, we’re taking a step toward banning the kid.”

Stephen Chbosky read a letter from a teenager who said that reading his book had saved her from suicide.

Lauren Myracle shared a correspondence between herself and an angry parent, during which each came to a better understanding of the other, and moved from accusations to cordiality. She said that research shows that kids put books down of their own accord when they’re not ready for them.

Justin and Peter, authors of And Tango Makes Three, said that their response to challenges is that the constitution does not permit the suppression of ideas.

For more about challenges, see today’s Mombian: http://www.mombian.com/2009/09/29/authors-thoughts-on-attempts-to-ban-gay-guinea-pigs/

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Troy

I’m currently working on illustrations for Troy and the Trojan War (Charlesbridge, 2011). It’s wonderful to have a chance to re-acquaint myself with Greek vase painting; I had forgotten, a bit, what wonderful artists they were. However, it makes me feel a bit inadequate.

I also just re-read Mary Renault’s The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea to soak up a little inspiration. The Cretan section of The King Must Die is like a fabulous, rip-roaring YA novel. Fun stuff.

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cover design

I just found a blog all about cover design – what a great thing!

http://causticcovercritic.blogspot.com/

We went through about seven different designs for the cover of Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, and I even did finished art for one that we tossed a couple months later. I like the one we ended up with a lot. 🙂

July 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Work

There has been little news to share lately; I’ve been finishing up a new manuscript and dummy, and trying to get some illustration work. I’m also obsessed with feathers at the moment, picking them up wherever I see them and learning how to draw them. Check out a couple of new pieces on my illustration page. http://sarahbrannen.yellapalooza.com/illustration/index.html

I was just hired to illustrate a very interesting non-fiction children’s book, though, and I’ll be able to share news about it soon. I’m excited about it!

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Telling a story

“The only thing that matters is what actually ends up on the big screen, not how you got it there. You could make a cartoon in crayons about a red square that falls in unrequited love with a blue circle, and there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house if you know how to tell a story.”

-Don Hertzfeldt, in the New York Times, 11/30/08

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LGBT families

It’s Blogging for LGBT Families Day! Dana Rudolph of Mombian has put together the list of links here: http://www.mombian.com/2009/06/01/blogging-for-lgbt-families-day-2009-contributed-posts/

I think Dana organized this in the first place, too. 

Since Uncle Bobby’s Wedding was published, I’ve traveled from Boston to San Francisco to Provincetown to Colorado, and I’ve met so many delightful families everywhere I went. I hate to be sentimental about it, but every time someone attacks the book, or me, or same-sex marriage in general, I remember the faces of the children of these families. They were all so engaged, confident, bright, and put-together… obviously loved, but they also obviously had great parents. Every single one of them. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet all of them and their moms and moms and dads and dads. 

When I’m working on a new book, alone in my studio, it tends to be just about me and the book. I hope people will like it, but it’s amazing when the book is out there in the world and I get the chance to talk to people I would otherwise never have met. 

Thank you!

June 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Banned Books Week

I’ve been invited to participate in the 2009 Banned Books Week “Read-out,” sponsored by the American Library Association, in Chicago on September 26. 

http://ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm

Click on “Calendar of Events” for details, still to come at this point.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

letter from George Takei

George Takei (Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu) and his husband Brad Altman wrote me a lovely letter about Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. See what he had to say here:

http://sarahbrannen.yellapalooza.com/books/bobby/index.html

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment