by Tee Franklin; artwork by Jenn St-Onge
If you're looking for the perfect book to read in honor of St. Valentine's Day, check out the young adult graphic novel Bingo Love which is a joyful celebration of Black queer love and an inspiring reminder that it's never too late to find yourself and your true love. These two sweeties, Hazel and Mari, first met as teens in 1963 at a church bingo event but their forbidden love wasn't tolerated at the time and the two eventually went their separate ways. When they reconnect in their sixties and discover that their old feelings for each other are still alive and well, we get to see their beautiful romance finally fully blossom. YA stories are so often limited to portraits of the ups and downs of teenagers in love, it is a refreshing change of pace to have a romance between grandmas represented. I also appreciate how the illustrations use realistic portrayals of women and their real and "imperfect" bodies including curves, stretch marks, and messy hair.
Interesting tidbit: author Tee Franklin (who is Black, queer, and disabled) started this project through a Kickstarter fundraiser and was eventually published by Image Comics, selling out before it was even released.
See the Jones Library Antiracism Book List for recommended titles for all ages