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$4,778
pledged of $5,350pledged of $5,350 goal
112
backers
9days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, July 28 2019 9:46 PM UTC +00:00.

$4,778
pledged of $5,350pledged of $5,350 goal
112
backers
9days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, July 28 2019 9:46 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Illustration by Tesh Silver: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera stand next to each other surrounded by a soft pink heart
Illustration by Tesh Silver: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera stand next to each other surrounded by a soft pink heart

Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends - A Picture Book about the Trans Women of Color who Started Pride

Through lush illustrations and sizzling prose, Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends tells the story of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, two trans women of color who sparked the modern LGBTQIA2 movement. 

Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson meet in 1969 as homeless transgender girls of color.  Sylvia longs for change, saying, “Someday we’ll be able to wear whatever we want.  People will call us by our chosen names and we’ll never go hungry.”  Together, they make history during the Stonewall Rebellion, kick-starting the movement for acceptance of queer and trans youth.  Sylvia and Marsha help transgender girls by sharing what they have in abundance: friendship. Today, they are still remembered, showing that best friends can change the world. 

Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends  is a picture book perfect for children, their parents, and any trans person who didn’t get to see themselves reflected in children's literature. It's not too late to read the stories you deserve and share them with the kids you love. 

Illustration by Tesh Silver: Marsha and Sylvia walk arm and arm down Christopher Street
Illustration by Tesh Silver: Marsha and Sylvia walk arm and arm down Christopher Street

A picture book by trans and queer creators 

Joy Ellison is a queer and non-binary trans writer, whose creative writing has appeared in Lunch Ticket, the Baltimore Review, Story Club Magazine, and many other places. They are also a PhD candidate researching transgender history and the recipient of a Yuyi Morales Merit Scholarship from the Children's Picture Book Academy.  They are the creator of If We Knew Trans History, a public history blog through which they have been sharing information about Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson for years. Joy believes that telling the stories of our past is integral to  healing, transformation, resistance, and survival. 

Tesh Silver is an illustrator whose vivid, intricate art work lovingly depicts the lives of people of color and the work of revolutionary movements. Tesh uses both traditional media and digital  programs to create pieces that are both captivating and magical.  She is a teaching artist at the Hyde Park Art Center where she works closely with youth. She strives to  create work that uplifts, heals and promotes the resilience of  marginalized people. 

We care about representing our community with honesty, humor, respect and historical accuracy. Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends will help you have important conversations about gender, sexuality, and race with the children in your life. 

Sketches by Tesh Silver: Marsha hands Sylvia a dollar and Sylvia remembers her childhood
Sketches by Tesh Silver: Marsha hands Sylvia a dollar and Sylvia remembers her childhood

You can launch Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends to the stars

By purchasing your copy of Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends, you support local queer and trans creators and help us share this story with our community.  You can purchase an e-book, a paper back copy to be sent directly to your door, or join us at a kid-friendly launch party in Chicago, IL in February 2020. Come party with us and skip the shipping costs while you eat cake. 

You can also support this project by buying a copy of the book for yourself and a copy for a library and community group. Besides donating copies to public libraries, we will be giving Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends to organizations that work directly with queer and trans young people and their families.  Your generosity will get this story in the hands of the people who need to hear it the most. 

Risks and challenges

Sylvia and Marsha, Best Friends is almost ready to make its way to you. Joy has finished polishing the words and Tesh has completed initial sketches of the art work. Tesh will begin the finished product as soon as this project is fully funded.

We are working closely with a Chicago area printer who has printed other radical picture books for our comrades. We anticipate no challenges working with them, but delays are always possible, especially during the Chicago winter. We will keep our backers updated throughout the process and announce the date for our launch party at least 3 weeks in advance.

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