An interesting fact about Be Amazing: A History of Pride is that it is not due until around July 21, 2020. One would have thought it would come out in June to make sure it could represent Pride Month. Yet, Desmond Napoles (aka Desmond is Amazing) has written a book that should not be limited to one month. Pride should not just be in June; pride should be year around.
I expected this book to be about Desmond (despite the word history), but it is an introduction to Pride via one person’s experiences. Desmond talks about the history of the GLBTQ community. He mentions names of people who shaped the country and its view of the community. Desmond packs the pages with all sorts of goodies but doesn’t even scratch the surface of it all. Dylan Glynn compliments the text with their outrageous, melting images. Fluid art with colors that are wildly bold, proud and way in your face. They are for sure not for everyone. And even though I did enjoy them, I must admit they could make me a little queasy at times. I went on a roller coaster ride for the eyes!
The one piece that might be a bit controversial is the fact RuPaul is mentioned (he has a few pages talking about him, his influence on the community and as an example of one type of drag. Plus, he is mentioned in Desmond’s thank you) as there are some issues surrounding him currently about his views on transgender rights and environmental issues he is involved with. But putting all that aside, it is a book that is not just “another pride book” by having a different voice and information as it is coming from a drag kid and not an adult. I am not sure of Desmond’s age, but you can tell they are young, but seem to have a pretty solid grasp of themselves. This is, in several ways, a journal entry to themselves as well as a letter to everyone saying here is my path and let’s take you on your own Amazing Path, too.
I almost wish this was not in the picture book format as it will limit the audience thinking they should read it. It is meant for the older kid (at least 5 or 6, but I am thinking older) and even the adult. A book that is experienced differently by all readers.