Stonewall: A Building. an Uprising. a Revolution

by Rob Sanders (Author) Jamey Christoph (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising with the very first picture book to tell of its historic and inspiring role in the gay civil rights movement.

From Rob Sanders, author of the acclaimed Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, comes this powerful and timeless true story that will allow young readers to discover the rich and dynamic history of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement--a movement that continues to this very day. In the early-morning hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police in New York City. Though the inn had been raided before, that night would be different. It would be the night when empowered members of the LGBTQ+ community--in and around the Stonewall Inn--began to protest and demand their equal rights as citizens of the United States. Movingly narrated by the Stonewall Inn itself, and featuring stirring and dynamic illustrations, Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution is an essential and empowering civil rights story that every child deserves to hear.


"Pride is a beacon of (technicolor) light."- Entertainment Weekly

"An essential LGBTQ children's book"-

"This children's book about gay Pride should be in every school."- Gay Times Magazine

"I couldn't be more thrilled the world now has this book."- Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of MILK

Kirkus Reviews

A watershed picture book for a watershed moment—all in time for the Stonewall uprising’s 50th anniversary.

The historic Stonewall Inn, site of the eponymous uprising (and the book’s first-person-plural narrator), originated as two separate stable houses in 1840s Greenwich Village. By 1930, the buildings were joined to become Bonnie’s Stone Wall restaurant, “a place where being different was welcomed and accepted.” 1967 saw another change—to the Stonewall Inn (a tamely depicted bar and dance club). Subsequent years saw multiple police raids targeting the establishment’s LGBTQIAP patrons. On June 28, 1969, the people finally fought back, galvanizing the LGBTQIAP rights movement. As the text carries readers from past to present, its unusual narrative perspective gives a strong sense of place and community. Sanders attempts to balance the received historical narrative with inclusivity, but his retrospective tone bears slight hints of erasure when, for example, “gay men and women” is used as a catchall phrase. Moreover, though the backmatter makes mention of the key roles of trans women of color in the uprising, the visuals instead position a white-presenting woman as a key instigator. Christoph’s digitally rendered illustrations paint a vivid, diverse portrait of both setting and community. The book concludes with photographs and an interview with Martin Boyce, a participant in the uprising.

A beautiful—if a bit cis-centric—tribute. (glossary, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Publishers Weekly

This story of the Stonewall Inn is spoken by the building itself, beginning in 1840s Greenwich Village, when the building was "two stable houses, side by side." When the Stonewall Inn became "a home for people who were told that they didn't fit in" during the 1960s, "others were not as accepting." Scenes of moonlit Christopher Street and interior shots of the Stonewall Inn have a dusky, understated grace. Christoph captures a mood of solemnity as three patrons are placed in a police patrol wagon, while scenes of the 1969 faceoff between police and protestors capture emotions of anger, fear, and burgeoning energy. Following the riots, crowds appear in the airy daylight of Manhattan, celebrating the first anniversary of the uprising. It's a moving ode to a cherished place, the brave people who stood for justice, and the victories that continue to lead to change. Back matter includes a history and pictures of the Stonewall Inn. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

This celebration of Stonewall is a welcome addition to the slender shelf of LGBTQ books for younger readers.—Booklist, starred review
Rob Sanders
Rob Sanders is a former elementary school teacher who writes funny and fierce fiction and non-fiction. He is the author of such acclaimed titles as Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution, and Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights. He lives in Brandon, Florida. Visit, @YesRobSandersWrites on Facebook, and @RobSandersWrite on Twitter.

Jamey Christoph has created illustrations that have appeared in the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and has received distinguished recognition from the Society of Illustrators for his work on Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America. Jamey lives in Ohio with his partner and two dogs. Visit, @JameyChristophIlustration on Facebook, and @JameyChristoph on Instagram.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date
April 20, 2019
BISAC categories
JNF025210 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/20th Century
JNF043000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Science | Politics & Government
Library of Congress categories
United States
20th century
Stonewall Riots, New York, N.Y., 1969
Gay rights

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