My debut middle grade novel (that's ~secretly~ also for adults)!!! with Dial Books for Young Readers at Penguin Random House and listed as one of the "Six Must-Read Pride Books from Penguin Young Readers" and "Best Books of 2020" by Kirkus Reviews, "Best Queer Books of 2020" by Autostraddle, a Rainbow Book List read by the American Library Association, a "Michigan Notable Book" Award by the Library of Michigan, shortlisted for the OWL (Outstanding Works of Literature) from BookPal, and Book Pick of the Month by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Most importantly, The Ship We Built is also noted as the first middle grade novel centering a trans boy to be written by one released with a major publisher in the USA. 


​* ”Bean vividly and sensitively captures the struggle of being a child who just can’t fit in and doesn’t understand why. It is an authentic portrayal of childhood pain without an ounce of condescension. . . . While the book tackles big issues, primarily addressing being trans and queer and surviving incest as well as touching on parental incarceration, anyone who has ever been a sad or confused child will be able to see a little bit of themselves in Rowan and Sofie. . . . Everyone should read this remarkable, affecting novel. ”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* “This heartfelt, emotionally raw narrative delicately and respectfully covers incredibly complex issues (homophobia, substance abuse, sexual abuse, racism) that many young people around the world face, compounded by Rowan’s status as a trans boy. Bean’s debut novel for young readers is as difficult as it is hopeful, beautifully captured through a 10-year-old voice. A remarkable and memorable book!”—Booklist, starred review

​"This middle grade debut is a strong addition to any library collection; it will spark needed conversations among children and adults alike, aiding the journey toward a more compassionate and open community."—School Library Journal 

You can also read more about it in New York Times,Honey Suckle, Monstering, Kirkus Reviews, Los Angeles Review of Books, Autostraddle, RAINN, PRIDE, John's Hopkin's News-Letter, The Detroit News, John Marshall Media, Script Mag, Chicago Review of Books. OR Listen to conversations about it with! Queer Kid Stuff!, Michigan Notable BooksMoose Jaw Pride and Saskatchewan Festival of WordsLouisville Youth GroupCharlotte PrideClock Inc, Triangle Community Center, and Silicon Valley Pride, Middle Ground Book Festival, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, or in larger context as panelist for RAINN's "Answering the Call: Safe Spaces" alongside Leyna Bloom, Cameron Esposito, and domestic violence prevention professionals.

In general, if you wanna collaborate! I would love!! that. & Please contact me. Until then, THANK YOU very much to the following groups for hosting me, building with me, and connecting me with your communities: Black & Pink, Dances for Solidarity, Sounds of Saving, Ali Forney Center, PEN America, Bluestockings, Paragraph NYC, Moose Jaw Pride, Saskatchewan Festival of Words, Louisville Youth Group, Brave Trails, Gender Conference NYC, University of Michigan, Charlotte Pride, Magic City Acceptance Center, Coastal Bend Pride Center, We Are Family, Oxford Pride, Norwich Pride, Frederick Center, Triangle Community Center, Short Line Review, Silicon Valley Pride, Pride Center San Antonio, San Antonio Public Library, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, Out Front Kalamazoo, Bookbug, SCBWI, Sacramento Pride, OutCenter of Southwest Michigan, NextGen Iowa, 4 Corners Rainbow Youth Center, Male Survivor, Southwest Saskatchewan Pride, The Pacific Center, Rainbow Families, Out Boulder, St. John's Pride, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Charis Books, Prism United, Sundress Academy for the Arts, Brightworks, Forbes Library, 1800 RUNAWAY, Middle Ground Book Fest, Queer Kid Stuff, RAINN, Carlow University, Lamella Consulting, Ivy Bookshop, Books Are Magic, Awards For Good Boys, Adirondack Community College, Clock Inc., One Love, Indy Pride, Ball State University, The American Library in Paris, Portage Lake District Library, Heartly House, Haven, the George Peabody Elementary School's Rainbow Club, the Brooklyn Art Library, Sequoia High School GSA, Western Michigan University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Colorado Boulder TRANSforming Gender Conference, MOASH's BAMM Pride Summit, and Manhattan Farm School, Rutgers University, Beloit College, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Summer Conference, Axios, Future Perfect Project, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Cincinnati Public Library


1. The paperback edition out now!! 

The audio-book I recorded in my own closet! Now on Audible. 

2. Virtual tour info <3 <3 You're invited! I occasionally post updates about events I'm attending and presenting at @ricepuddingfairy on Instagram

3. News on the feature-length screenplay version now paired with a director for a real T4T moment. Special thanks to the Jane Hoppen Paragraph New York Residency and Bookshop Santa Cruz Residency at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods for offering me time and space to continue to dream up the many versions of this story so dear to me. And also Olivia at William Morris Endeavor for representing it <3 


- A lil slide show of my very, very, very first draft I wrote of The Ship We Built. I was in a gold minivan driving between Chicago and Indianapolis while on a workshop and performance tour with my second anthology. Most of all, bless THE Ilona Brand for the text message challenge!! that got me to write the lil seed to begin with. 

​- An animated version of The Ship We Built with music + animation skills by Harry Rubin-Falcone and drawing skills by Rosalie Eck. It has played at several festivals, and premiered at the Locomoción Festival in Mexico. I think it makes for a pretty good lullaby. 



Sometimes I have trouble filling out tests when the name part feels like a test too. . . . When I write letters, I love that you have to read all of my thoughts and stories before I say any name at all. You have to make it to the very end to know.

Rowan has too many secrets to write down in the pages of a diary. And if he did, he wouldn’t want anyone he knows to read them. He understands who he is and what he likes, but it’s not safe for others to find out. Now the kids at school say Rowan’s too different to spend time with. He’s not the “right kind” of girl, and he’s not the “right kind” of boy. His mom ignores him. And at night, his dad hurts him in ways he’s not ready to talk about yet.

But Rowan discovers another way to share his secrets: letters. Letters he attaches to balloons and releases into the universe, hoping someone new will read them and understand. But when he befriends a classmate who knows what it’s like to be lonely and scared, even at home, Rowan realizes that there might already be a person he can trust right by his side.