Written By: Rob Sanders
Illustrated by: Nabi H. Ali
For Ages: 6-9 years
Topics Covered: LGBTQ History, Historical Figures, Military History, Trans Experiences, Friendship, Civil War.
Summary: Sometime around the 1850’s, and Irish immigrant traveled with their stepfather from Ireland to America. In 1861 they enlisted in the Union army and fought in the Civil War. This person was known by one name in Ireland, but went by Albert in the States. For #sweetsandsocialjustice this week, I chose to scrape together random scraps in my kitchen and made some blueberry cornmeal scones. I imagine that when deployed, Union soldiers did much of the same thing when cooking together, searching the woods for berries and using up the last bits of random ingredients from their rations.
Albert was transgender, and he was also a veteran. He passed the physical examination when enlisting by just having his hands and feet inspected. Albert worked and was a part of his community for decades afterwards, living his life quietly and comfortable in his identity. When Albert injured his leg in an accident in 1911, word soon spread that he was transgender. It became national news, and his army pension was threatened. But, in a show of active ally ships and true friendship, veteran friends of Albert’s wrote letters on his behalf. Affirming his identity and bravery in the war, they plead with the government to reinstate Albert’s pension. This would both help Albert financially and ensure that he was recognized by the correct name both in life and afterwards in history.
This book is so important and shows the existence of the LGBTQ community has been around throughout history, and there have always been those that accepted and celebrated us. This story is beautiful, it tells the multifaceted existence of Albert. The transphobia he faced, and the comrades he had that acted on his behalf when he was ill and those that ensured he was buried in his military uniform with the correct name on his gravestone. All of our lives are beautiful and complicated, and the legacy of Albert Cashier is reflective of many identities today, a crucial read for young people everywhere.
This book was sent by little bee books as a submission for the #bookstagang_bestof2020 list, but all opinions are my own.
Recipe: Buttermilk Cornmeal Scones with Blueberries
2c all-purpose flour
1T baking powder
1 stick cold butter
3/4-1c dried blueberries
Whisk dry ingredients together, and cut in the stick of butter until crumbly. Add in buttermilk and blueberries, kneading until the dough comes together. Turn out of bowl and pat into a disk. Brush the top with egg wash or buttermilk, and sprinkle on top with sugar. Cut into 8 wedges and place on parchment, baking at 375 for 15-20 minutes. If you want, lemon zest is also a great addition to the recipe!
Throughout junior high and high school, Rob Sanders had wonderful English teachers who taught him to diagram sentences, speak in public, read the classics, show what he learned in creative ways, and who taught him to write. He wrote letters, poems, stories, plays, radio scripts, and more. Even now those teachers would be considered among the best. He is still reading and writing today. As a matter of fact, every school day he teaches kids about words and books, and stories and writing. Helping his students become strong writers is his favorite thing to do. Now he also writes books. Explore his website and learn all about them!
Nabi H. Ali
Nabi H. Ali is an illustrator of Tamil descent based in Orange County, California. He enjoys creating works that foster inclusivity and intersectionality in art and media. His hobbies include painting, researching South Asian culture, and writing poetry.