Pride month may be over but Phil Stamper's middle grade debut is a delight to be enjoyed year round! Jake is inspired by a game (similar to Stardew Valley) to throw his town's first pride festival. The only problem is that his small village in Ohio is run by a mayor who wants to "keep the peace" for the people who are in opposition to it. Jake must team up with his best friend and the mayor's son (who may or may not be his crush) to fight against the backlash and discover what it means to have pride in their village. "Small Town Pride" is a great and quick read for any age!— From Emma P's Picks
May/June 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“A young gay teenager meets small-town politics when trying to start the village’s first Pride festival. An important book about feeling comfortable in your hometown, and showing that there are queer kids everywhere!”
— Elizabeth Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA
From acclaimed author Phil Stamper (The Gravity of Us and As Far as You’ll Take Me) comes a poignant coming-of-age, contemporary middle grade debut novel about finding your place, using your voice, and the true meaning of pride. Perfect for fans of Rick by Alex Gino and The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy.
Jake is just starting to enjoy life as his school’s first openly gay kid. While his family and friends are accepting and supportive, the same can’t be said about everyone in their small town of Barton Springs, Ohio.
When Jake’s dad hangs a comically large pride flag in their front yard in an overblown show of love, the mayor begins to receive complaints. A few people are even concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade.
Except Jake doesn’t think that’s a ridiculous idea. Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake.
But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?
About the Author
Phil Stamper is the bestselling author of The Gravity of Us, As Far as You’ll Take Me, Golden Boys, and other queer books for kids and teens. He currently works in author development for a major book publisher in New York City, where he lives with his husband and their dog. Small Town Pride is his debut middle grade novel. Visit him at www.philstamper.com.
Stamper evidences his love for village life while acknowledging that life for gay kids can be difficult there. But where there’s strife, there’s hope, isn’t there? — Booklist
Full of warmth, hope, and joy, Phil Stamper's middle grade debut is an absolute celebration! — Julie Murphy, New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin'
Small Town Pride is a queer Footloose for the middle grade crowd, with heart, laughs, and a journey that will make readers stand up and cheer. An absolute triumph! — Claribel A. Ortega, award-winning author of Witchlings
With endearing characters and a timely message of love and acceptance, Small Town Pride is a charming story of friendship, family, and living your truth beyond your wildest dreams.
— Greg Howard, author of The Whispers and The Visitors
Tender and empowering all at once, Small Town Pride is a story of bravery, friendship, and not only finding one's voice, but using it to make a difference. This is a story I wish I had as a young reader. — Ashley Herring Blake, author of Stonewall Honor Book Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World
Small Town Pride captures the complexities of contemporary queer kids with incredible nuance and empathy. So many readers will feel seen in these pages. — Chad Lucas, author of Thanks A Lot, Universe and Let The Monster Out
In a heartfelt middle grade debut, Stamper (Golden Boys) traces a gay 13-year-old’s arc toward authenticity and queer community in Midwestern America. Drawing from his own childhood experiences and employing sympathetically rendered characters, Stamper keeps the accessible story hopeful with a clear-eyed message of acceptance, inclusion, and bighearted community — Publishers Weekly