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This Children's Book Aims To Give Black Queer Boys A Voice

"Seeing yourself creates possibilities for yourself in your head, and not seeing yourself creates a question of worthiness."

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Myles E. Johnson, a 24-year-old Atlanta resident, is aiming to change the way black queer boys are represented in literature with his new children's book, Large Fears.

Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye

The book is about a young boy named Jeremiah Nebula who loves pink and wants to go to Mars. The author told BuzzFeed he wrote Jeremiah's character because he wanted to create something he didn't see see when he was growing up.

Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye

"I wanted to see a character that was me. I wanted to create a character that didn’t perform gender in the way black boys are traditionally seen doing on television. A male character that could grow up to love men," Johnson said.

"I wanted to create a world where femininity isn’t synonymous with being docile or fragile, and where masculinity isn’t synonymous with adventure and bravery. I wanted to blur the societal ideas of gender norms and expressions, so I created it," he continued.
Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye

"I wanted to create a world where femininity isn’t synonymous with being docile or fragile, and where masculinity isn’t synonymous with adventure and bravery. I wanted to blur the societal ideas of gender norms and expressions, so I created it," he continued.

It was important to the author to "introduce the idea of intersectional identities to children."

Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye
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"I was always cautious about expressing who I was because at a very early age, I was aware that my identity and my desires were dangerous. This is a fear I transcended in adulthood, but it was not easy," he explained.

"I wanted to make a love letter to queer children of color that helped them see their flaws or insecurities as superpowers because I think if I had that in my childhood, I would been in a happier place at a faster rate in adulthood."
Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye

"I wanted to make a love letter to queer children of color that helped them see their flaws or insecurities as superpowers because I think if I had that in my childhood, I would been in a happier place at a faster rate in adulthood."

Johnson's ultimate goal is to make sure there's more queer black representation everywhere, not just in literature.

Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye

"Seeing yourself creates possibilities for yourself in your head, and not seeing yourself creates a question of worthiness," he said. "I don’t believe anyone should have that question in their head, especially children."

Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye

The author hopes readers leave the book "feeling like their dreams aren’t illusions of the mind, but their birthright."

"Fear is just a sensation that lets you know something divine and worthwhile is around the corner," Johnson said. "The larger the fear, the better the reward."
Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye

"Fear is just a sensation that lets you know something divine and worthwhile is around the corner," Johnson said. "The larger the fear, the better the reward."

Large Fears is on sale now — you can buy your own copy here.

Photo courtesy of Kendrick Daye