Queer Allyship for Middle Grade Readers

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I started reading “Operatic” by Kyo Maclear because it had a pretty cover and a sewn-in purple cloth bookmark. My aesthetic interest quickly expanded, and I slowed down for the content in this middle grade graphic novel.

With each page, “Operatic” emerges as a sweet blend of educational, artistic, emotional and queer. Illustrations rooted in soothing hues are anchored with thick outlines, sharing the stories of middle school students and biographical information about opera singer Marie Callas (trust me, this will be harmonious when you read it!).

While the main character Charlie reads as straight, her unrequited crush on a queer character transforms into a supportive friendship. Oozing with empathy and the rewarding process of building community, “Operatic” serves as a story, biography and resource about embracing the truest parts of one’s self and others.

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About to graduate from middle school, Charlie is preoccupied with a crush, Emile, and the absence of Luka, a boy in her class who has not come to school in days. In music class, she hears the songs of opera singer Maria Callas and falls in love with opera, which helps Charlie navigate her own world. This title is also available as an eBook on OverDrive.