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New fantasy children’s book features a gay love story on the high seas

Written by gaytourism

Ru and Freya in Maiden Voyage | Photo: Provided

A brand new children’s book puts a gay love story front and center, amongst pirates, evil Queens, and more.

GSN has the first exclusive look at Maiden Voyage, written by Jaimee Poipoi, Adam Reynolds, and Chaz Harris, with illustrations by Christine Luiten and Bo Moore.

They are the same team behind the acclaimed book Promised Land, telling the love story between a young farmer and a prince.

Maiden Voyage follows a fisherman’s daughter, Ru, who inherits a map and joins a sea-faring crew led by Freya, a courageous female captain. The two fall in love, all while being pursued by pirates, bewitched by an evil Queen.

The team first launched a Kickstarter for the project last year and now it’s come to fruition.

Traversing over Mt. McKellen and across River Rippons

GSN has an exclusive early look at the inherited map. It features several nods to LGBTQ figures that are a delight to discover.

Map in Maiden Voyage

Map in Maiden Voyage | Photo: Provided

Here are just some of the fun locations:

  • Tomlin Trench (Lily Tomlin)
  • Isle of Lana, Isle of Lilly (the Wachowskis)
  • DiMarco Island (Nyle DiMarco)
  • Mt. McKellen (Ian McKellen)
  • River Rippon (Adam Rippon)
  • Berlanti’s Ridge and Rogers Bay (Greg Berlanti and Robbie Rogers)
  • Bechdel Sea (Alison Bechdel)

Those aren’t the only references. The book also contains a dedication to the late Gilber Baker, the designer behind the Pride flag. One of the characters, as well, is a cat named Bowie.

‘Everyone deserves to live happily ever after’

‘It’s important for young people to feel included and that they have a place in the world,’ said Poipoi, who identifies as Takatāpui (a Māori term for those devoted to the same gender).

Harris commented that stories like these are ‘necessary reminders about the importance of telling the truth,’ especially when ‘those in power use lies to spread fear, intolerance and control others’.

‘By collaborating with writers of other queer identities, we’re working to fill the void of LGBTQ+ representation in children’s media. If we don’t see ourselves in stories, we don’t see ourselves in the world,’ he continued.

Maiden Voyage team

Maiden Voyage team | Photo: Provided

‘These are the kinds of stories we needed when we were growing up, because we believe everyone deserves to live happily ever after,’ added Reynolds.

The team is now working on a third book, as well as publishing their first two stories in other countries and languages.

Harris told GSN it’s especially important to support content with queer leadership.

‘However, I think the only way we’re going to change that happening [queer erasure in media] is by elevating the kind of content that is truly inclusive,’ he said. ‘Or content that puts us at the centre of the narrative.’

Maiden Voyage comes out this week on Tuesday (26 June).

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