1. The Stonewall Book Awards list is the American Library Association award for books that do an exemplary job representing LGTBQ+ experiences. It is a set of 3 awards given annually for literature, nonfiction, and children’s and young adult literature. You can find all winners and honorable mentions at the ALA page here. This page includes adult and children’s lists and is a little visually overwhelming. So if you are specifically seeking books for young readers, lists that include just the children and YA winners may be easier.
For example, Vanderbilt University has a really nice Library Research Guide on Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards that includes a page on the Children’s and YA Stonewall Book Award. This page clearly and simply displays the winner and honor book each year, with covers and blurbs. You do not need to be enrolled to access this Library Guide (sometimes called LibGuides), at least not at this time. Many colleges and universities will have LibGuides like these for their students majoring in Education.
2. The Rainbow Books List specifically looks at books for young readers and provides excellent titles in picture books, middle grade, and YA. Their yearly lists go back to 2008 and is selected by the Rainbow Book List Committee of the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association. From their website: “The List is a curated bibliography highlighting books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content, aimed at children and youth from birth to age 18. This List is intended to aid youth and those working with youth in selecting high-quality books.”
3. Many local libraries curate books and resources and often publish those lists for the public. So even if you don’t live near a certain library, you can still build your to-read list from their curated suggestions.
For example, the Hennepin County Library has a great list of middle grade LGTBQ+ inclusive books here.
Some libraries will also include spine stickers that will notate award winners.
4. The website Welcoming Schools has a wonderful list of LGBTQ inclusive material for young readers, including picture books and middle grade. Welcoming Schools is a national professional development program to help elementary school educators create an inclusive, safe classroom for LGTBQ+ students.
Last year, eight of the ten Most Challenged Books were books related to LGBTQ+ content and many of them are books geared for children. Having books available that show kids from diverse backgrounds, to include LGTBQ+, helps all students feel safe and valued as members of their local community.
5. The LGBTQ+ list at the Social Justice Books. This website has many excellent book lists and their LGBTQ+ list is one of them.
Books that have been reviewed by the website have an asterisk next to them.
If you saw my last post on social justice book lists, you will recognize this website--it's a wonderful resource.
Reading serves many purposes. It affirms our own experiences but also teach us about the lived experiences of others, building compassion, empathy, and understanding.
Diverse books are important to read all year long, but if some of these LGTBQ+ books aren’t on your to-read list, Pride Month is a great time to consider adding them!
To young readers, I hope I can offer a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of school, friendships, and life.