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“When Amos and his friends discover that stories of BIPOC and queer people just weren’t being told, they set out to change the narrative of their local living history. Amos’ courage will inspire readers like him to be completely themselves.”
— Kelly Barth, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS
An ALA Rainbow Book List Top 10 Selection * Golden Kite Award Winner * New York Public Library Best Books for Kids * ALA Booklist Top 10 First Novels for Youth * Jane Addams Award finalist * Lambda Literary Award Finalist
A heartfelt debut novel about a boy’s attempt to find himself in the history he loves—perfect for fans of Dear Sweet Pea and From the Desk of Zoe Washington.
Amos Abernathy lives for history. Literally. He’s been a historical reenactor nearly all his life. But when a cute new volunteer arrives at his Living History Park, Amos finds himself wondering if there’s something missing from history: someone like the two of them.
Amos is sure there must have been LGBTQ+ people in nineteenth-century Illinois. His search turns up Albert D. J. Cashier, a Civil War soldier who might have identified as a trans man if he’d lived today. Soon Amos starts confiding in his newfound friend by writing letters in his journal—and hatches a plan to share Albert’s story with his divided twenty-first century town. It may be an uphill battle, but it’s one that Amos is ready to fight.
Told in an earnest, hilarious voice, this love letter to history, first crushes, and LGBTQ+ community will delight readers of Ashley Herring Blake, Alex Gino, or Maulik Pancholy.
Michael Leali is an award-winning writer and educator. He earned his MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of the Golden Kite Award–winning novel The Civil War of Amos Abernathy and Matteo. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, Michael currently lives in California.
“An irresistible debut filled with heart and humor. Here is a book that doesn’t rewrite history so much as broaden its scope, bringing into focus unsung heroes, in a coming of age story that celebrates inclusivity and bravery and pride and love. Sure to connect with young readers and broaden their imaginations about the past, the present, and the future that is theirs to fight for.” — Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of the School for Good and Evil series
“Heartfelt, humorous, and hopeful, The Civil War of Amos Abernathy affirms that some causes are worth fighting for--whether social justice or a first crush is on the line. Don't be surprised if irrepressible Amos inspires a new wave of changemakers.” — Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of Hazel’s Theory of Evolution and Drum Roll, Please
“In his first novel, Leali has done an excellent job of telling an exceedingly timely story. It’s a valuable addition to the still-slender body of middle-school literature with queer content.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Entertaining and engaging. A necessary addition to all collections seeking heartwarming tales of first crushes, and the importance of centering marginalized history.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“A testament to the power of friendship and conviction, Michael Leali's thoughtful, delightful debut is a gem for any reader beginning to ask 'Why is the world this way? And how can I make it better?'” — Adib Khorram, award-winning author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay
“A compelling debut, brimming with charming characters who take responsibility for making the world around them more honest and more inclusive.” — Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal, New York Times Bestselling Co-Authors of I'm Not Dying with You Tonight and Why We Fly