pride month FEATURE



Books have been all the rage this past year. Unfortunately, books have been making the headlines for being challenged or banned across the country. As young people strive to understand who they are, books are a safe place for them to learn about themselves. So many authors state that they are writing the book that they needed when they were younger. Removing books about diverse folks doesn’t stop those people from existing. Instead, it allows ignorance to be perpetuated. As David Levithan wrote, "We are who we are, and we'll be who we'll be. A book can make us feel that, but it can't invent that. It's already inside us.” As we celebrate Pride month, here are some book suggestions featuring LGBTQIA+ characters for readers of all ages.

Picture Book Selections:

This adorable picture book shows children that families come in all shapes and sizes. The thing that actually makes a family is love.

Aidan was assigned female at birth, but as he grew older, he found the words to tell his parents that he is actually a boy. When Aidan’s mom announces that she’s going to have a baby, Aidan is excited to help his parents pick out paint colors, clothes, and names all while working to make sure that the new baby will feel loved exactly as they are.

Middle Grade Selections:

Donovan left his copy of The Adventurers on the kitchen counter, and his mom read the beginning and the last page. She immediately contacted the school and initiated a book challenge as she thought it was inappropriate for fifth-grade students to read a story where two boys “deeply love each other.” Donovan and his classmates join together to fight off these few loud parents in a push to support their teacher (who happens to be gay) and defend their right to read all books.

This collection of short stories highlights many different young folks who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community. One story that stood out to me was about a former gymnast, who could no longer be a part of their team since they aren’t a girl. So many young people long to participate in sports but are often excluded because they don’t fit within the gender binary.

Damian isn't like other boys. He lives with his grandparents, he wants to play with dolls, and he hates the other boys. Upon entering 7th grade, Damian starts at a new school and decides that he just won't talk at all, that way the other kids will have no reason to pick on him. Unfortunately, this plan backfires and he becomes the target of his peers' taunting. This graphic novel memoir is raw and emotional. It tackles many difficult topics from diverse families to coming out. It also normalizes therapy.

Young Adult Selections:

Mickey James III has some incredibly large ice skates to fill. His father and grandfather were both first overall draft picks for the NHL. Mickey, aka Terzo, is entering his freshman year at Hartland University where he will now be teammates with his biggest rival, Jaysen Caulfield. Can Terzo live up to the expectations that have followed him for his entire life or will everything crack underneath his feet? This book contains incredibly important and timely conversations about sports and mental health. It also addresses the homophobia that is often associated with professional sports.

Life. Love. Friendships. All of these feel messy to high school Junior, Maggie. She's caught feelings for three different people in her life: her ex-boyfriend Matt, her first crush/best friend Amanda, and new girl Dani. Maggie is also overwhelmed by her upcoming decisions about the rest of her life, specifically college and career options. Maggie's passion for photography comes in handy as she begins to tackle her art assignment, and she decides to use the project to help untangle her feelings for each person. Things seem to be going well until everything crashes and burns. Will anyone stand with Maggie once the fire is extinguished?

Adult Selection:

This may be the most perfect book that I’ve ever read. Linus works as a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth. When he is sent on a special assignment to verify that the children at the Marsyas Island Orphanage are being well-cared for, he had no idea that the children and their caretaker, Arthur, were about to change his life. This tale is overflowing with magic and love. Each and every character will hold special places in your heart, push the boundaries of your understanding of love, and burn down the world so that we can build something better. Read this immediately.