The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali

With his friends, Chloe and Ben, Amos uses the opportunity of a new exhibit at the living history museum and the racism of a denied apprenticeship to highlight unheard characters, perspectives, and voices from history.

And here’s the best part: Amos is a magical kid, despite being in a realistic novel. He leaps to life right off the page with a voice that charmed my socks off. He admits “we’re nerds, I love it,” but also confesses his fears, worries, and his crush on Ben in his sweet letters to Albert D.J. Cashier.

Things aren’t perfectly tidy, though. The book feels very real in part because while Amos is safe and out and proud, not all the LGBTQIA characters in (or mentioned in) the book have that privilege. Leali does an excellent job of explaining why–as well as a bit about his writing process–in a thorough author’s note at the end of the novel.

Kids who love history or fighting the powers and kids who are looking for LGBTQIA books will love this book. And grown-ups who remember even a tiny bit of what it felt like to find out something new and want to broadcast it to the world–because justice! because fairness!–will find their child selves in these pages, too. I know I did.

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