April brings Manhattan’s Little Apple Pride Festival

by Alyssa Yenzer

April brings Manhattan’s Little Apple Pride Festival

Audrey Swartz, Adult Services Librarian and Readers Advisory

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April showers bring May flowers, our community’s Little Apple Pride Festival and the Manhattan Public Library’s (MPL) April 20 ReadMHK focus on LGBTQIA2S+ Authors. This year Manhattan’s pride parade and festival are scheduled for April 22. The parade begins at 3 p.m. at City Park, 1101 Fremont Street. A festival follows the parade at the Band Shell and Wefald Pavilion with a vendor fair from 6-8 p.m. In honor of April’s events, I’ll focus on queer authors and their work.

Neil Patrick Harris, of Doogie Houser and How I met Your Mother fame, has been writing his “Magic Misfits” series since 2017. Lissy Marlin and Kyle Hilton illustrate the books. With four books currently in the series, the central story follows a street magician named Carter as he runs away and finds friends and magic. “Misfits” includes a greedy villain, magical adventures and illustrated magic tricks! While these young reader chapter books are sure to entertain, readers can also practice the magic tricks, code- and cipher-breaking tips, and make their own magic. The “Misfits” series is recommended for ages 8-12 and all are available for check out at the library.

In “King and the Dragonflies,” award-winning children’s fiction author, Kacen Callender, delivers a heart-breaking story of death and rebirth. Brothers Khalid and King share stories of their dreams of other worlds. They dream of places with trees that are as tall as mushrooms and Khalid dreams of having dragonfly wings. After Khalid’s death, he returns to King as a dragonfly. Dragonfly Khalid guides King to find his former best friend and save him from his abusive home. As reviewer Em Nording writes “This book will make your heart ache in the best possible way. It’s a riveting, emotionally real thing—as lived-in as a childhood bedroom, and incredibly kind and generous at its core.” “King and the Dragonflies” and others by Kacen Callender are recommended for children of middle school age and are available for check out at MPL.

Ryan La Sala’s, “Be Dazzled,” is described by the publisher as “Project Runway goes to Comic Con in an epic queer love story about creativity, passion and finding the courage to be your most authentic self.” “Be Dazzled” follows the crafting, be dazzling love story of two young men, competing against each other in the largest cosplay competition. While together, they tried to compete as a team, but insecurities and perfectionism were their downfall. Once again they are assigned to work together and will have to overcome their heartbreak and self-doubt. This book is recommended for ages 15-18 and is available at the library.

Juliet Takes a Breath” by Gabby Rivera features Juliet Palante, a young Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx. Juliet just came out to her mother and is pretty sure they will never speak again. She is headed to Portland to intern with her favorite author and knower of all “gay-sounding stuff.” While she is away, Juliet focuses on trying to figure out her life. The original book was published in 2017, reprinted in 2019, and turned into a graphic novel in 2020 and illustrated by Celia Moscote. This book and graphic novel are recommended for high school to adult age groups. It should be noted the graphic novel has received challenges for being sexually explicit.

Check out our April Beanstack and Library Catalog booklists for more reading recommendations.

Manhattan Public Library is a cornerstone of free and equal access to a world of ideas and information for the Manhattan, Kansas, community. Manhattan Public Library serves more than 75,000 people in the Riley County area through curated book and other media collections, knowledgeable staff, relevant programming for all ages and meeting space. Learn more at mhklibrary.org.