Pride and Persistence: Stories of Queer Activism (Do You Know My Name?) by Mary Fairhurst Breen is a clever nonfiction book about everyday people who have made a name for themselves by just being themselves. We might not know them by that name (some people “only” fought the inclusion of a Chick-fil a on their college campus that resulted in Senator Graham making a fool of himself) but they made sure that others can have the freedom of being themselves, being represented, and finding ways to make it safer for themselves.
They are lawyers, teachers, technicians, former politicians, actors, and dancers and even an ally or two. Some served their country and some still do in various ways. We learn of how people express themselves in binary and nonbinary manners; some are queer, some identify as bi, some are lesbians, and there are trans females plus more. The rainbow is represented! While mostly set in Canada, the concepts are universal.
Each story only has a handful of pages, but they will either highlight one moment in the person’s life, or is an overall view of what they have accomplished in their lives. But regardless, they are all packed full. Each biography is started with an illustration of the person, followed by a quote, then their stories.
There are the usual technical goodies as well (introductions, afterwards and glossary). Things are factually presented, but since it is for at least ages 10 and up (though 12 and up would probably have the patience for it more), it reads almost as a novel, and is easy to “get into.” It would be a good book to have in the classroom, but since it does not cover the “big people” (Marsha P. Johnson, RuPaul, Elliot Page, Audre Lorde, or you know “the famous people”) it won’t be one people will ask for. It is going to be a “handsell” for librarians, parents, caregivers, even mental health providers.