Flashback Friday: Sylvia and Marsha Start A Revolution

No Women’s History Month should go by without commending the brave transgender women of color who started an LGBTQ+ revolution. So for today’s Flashback Friday, I am sharing Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution by Joy Michael Ellison and Teshika Silver, a picture book that does just that.

Title: Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution
Author: Joy Michael Ellison
Illustrator: Teshika Silver
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Published: November 19, 2020
Format: Picture Book

Though there are many versions of the story that kicks off the Stonewall Rebellion, Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution centers around the two transgender women of color who were at the the center of the revolution: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two activists who dedicated their lives to fighting for transgender rights. In this retelling, we follow along as Marsha stands up to a police officer at her birthday party on the night of June 28, 1969, inspiring others to do the same.

But the story doesn’t end there. Unlike most stories about Marsha and Sylvia, Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution highlights the fact that the pair founded a group called STAR to house transgender girls in need of housing, making this a great book to read to encourage children to make an impact in their communities.

The illustrations by Teshika Silver are bright and fun despite the heavy themes of transphobia and police brutality, reminding readers of the joy Sylvia and Marsha brought to the community despite the hate they faced.

You can purchase a copy of Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much the Jessica Kingsley Publishers for providing me with a review copy of Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution. I’m thrilled to be able to share Sylvia and Marsha’s story for Women’s History Month.

About The Author:

Joy Michael Ellison is a queer and non-binary trans writer, whose creative writing has appeared in publications including Columbus Alive, Lunch Ticket, the Baltimore Review, Story Club Magazine. They are a PhD candidate in Women’s and Gender Studies at Ohio State University, where they are researching transgender history.

About The Illustrator:

Teshika Silver is a queer, Black illustrator and designer. She is also teaching artist and facilitator and strives to create cultural work that uplifts, heals and promotes the resilience of marginalized people. She lives in Chicago with her dog, Penny.

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