What You Don’t Know: A Story of Liberated Childhood

Dottir. Jan. 2020. 144p. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781948340298.
Gr 2-4–At 144 pages long but still very much a picture book by all definitions, this title introduces readers to Demetrius, “a child who never had to come out because he was never in,” as he struggles to navigate middle school. Along the way, he learns about unconditional love and being himself no matter what, with no room for hate. Text and speech bubbles are intertwined throughout the story, making it easy to follow. Readers meet important people in Demetrius’s life, including Addie the radical librarian. The art comes to life through Higginbotham’s colorful collages, which she made by hand from recycled materials. The characters pop from the pages and are full of expressions that complement the text. Most children, gay or not, in or out, are sure to find themselves within these pages.
VERDICT The message that “all you need is to be you” will stay with readers long after the last page, in a book for LGBTQIA+ collections and beyond.

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