Staff Picks: Rick

Reviewed by Ginny H., Community Engagement Librarian

Inclusiveness

Rick is nervous to start middle school with his best friend, Jeff, because there are so many unknowns! The weird scheduling of middle school, getting to know new people, the way Jeff is always talking about girls and being mean to other kids, and starting weekly bonding visits with his grandpa. While not all of it is bad, dealing with so many unknowns has Rick questioning his own identity. Rick meets some great potential friends in the LGBTQ+ alliance club and begins questioning if he's asexual, but when Jeff begins vandalizing their posters, everything begins to fall apart. 

The story of Rick tackles important themes such as bullying, relationships, kindness, and standing up for yourself, all while giving voice and representation to asexuality, a part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum which is generally still shrouded in misconceptions and bias. In addition to providing a great story, author Alex Gino provides great history on LGBTQ+ rights and opportunity for learning how language, such as pronouns, can have an important weight in identity and respect towards others. 

Fans of the author's debut book, George, will be delighted by Melissa's appearance and fall in love with all the additional characters who are brought to life on the page. This title is perfect for grades 4-6, but equally important for anyone wanting to learn more about asexuality or language as it relates to LGBTQ+ issues.

This is review is part of the Finding Value series, inspired by the eleven core values central to the Library's mission. Tune in as Library staff review books and movies that highlight the values accessibility, civil discourse, inclusiveness, integrity, intellectual freedom, lifelong learning, literacy, respect, safety, service, and stewardship.