Introduction to 2010 Rainbow Book List
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table and the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association have released the 2010 Rainbow Project Bibliography of recommended titles for youth from birth to age 18 that contain significant and authentic gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (GLBTQ) content. The third bibliography from the ALA Rainbow Project represents the increasing range of GLBTQ titles for youth from board books to titles published for adults with appeal to teen readers. Books published between July 2008 and October 2009 were considered for inclusion in the final selection.
Of the 46 recommended titles, four stood out to the selection jury for their impact on the body of GLBTQ literature of interest for youth: How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity, edited by Michael Cart (HarperTeen); Ash, by Malinda Lo (Little, Brown); Into the Beautiful North, by Luis Alberto Urrea (Little, Brown); Finlater, by Shawn Stewart Ruff (Quote Editions). In addition, the group commended the groundbreaking pair of complementary board books from Lesléa Newman, Daddy, Papa, and Me and Mommy, Mama, and Me (Tricycle Press/Ten Speed).
Although a wealth of timely nonfiction has been published for youth during the past 18 months, Project members perceived a noticeable void in the area of GLBTQ nonfiction, including history and memoirs. Lack of subject headings that lead to GLBTQ content may have been a factor in Project members not finding eligible books until after the nomination deadline, for example Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman (Viking, December 2008).
The 2009-2010 ALA Rainbow Project jury consisted of John Andrews, Chair-elect (Washoe County Library System, Reno, NV); Michael Cart; Lynn Evarts (Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI); K.T. Horning (Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI); Arla Jones (Lawrence High School, Lawrence, KS); Michael Santangelo (Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY); Victor Schill (Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX); Laurie Spurling (Denver Public Library, Denver, CO); and Nel Ward, Chair.
Rainbow Book List
An entry beginning with an asterisk (*) indicates the book was found to be exceptional and highly recommended.
Alsenas, Linas. Hello My Name Is Bob. 2009. unp. Scholastic, $16.99. (9780545052443). Gr. PreK-2. Bob, a self described boring bear, begins comparing his own life to that of his adventurous Penguin friend Jack but soon realizes that it is okay to be different.
* Newman, Lesléa. Daddy, Papa, and Me. Il. Carol Thompson. 2008 (Dec.). unp. Tricycle Press/Ten Speed, $7.99 (9781582462622). Gr. Pre-K., and Mommy, Mama, and Me. Il. Carol Thompson. 2008 (Dec.). unp. Tricycle Press/Ten Speed, $7.99 (9781582462639). Gr. Pre-K. Same-sex parents use loving family activities to teach and play with their child in these “board books.”
Polacco, Patricia. In Our Mothers’ House. 2009. unp. Philomel, $17.99. (9780399250767). Gr. K-3. Although Marmee , Meema, and their three kids have a happy home life with many similarities to their neighbor’s experiences—dinnertime, fooling around, getting ready for parties—some in their community can see only the differences that this family has.
Rickards, Lynne. Pink! Il. Margaret Chamberlain. 2009. unp. Chicken House/Scholastic, $16.99. (9780545086080). Gr. PreK-2. Tired of rejection, Patrick the pink penguin tries unsuccessfully to live with the flamingos before he returns home to acceptance.
Van de Vendel, Edward. For You and No One Else. Il. Martijn van der Linden. 2009. unp. Lemniscaat/Boyds Mills Press, $16.95. (9781590786581). Gr. PreK-2. Although Buck is crushed when his friend Sparklehart woos all the does with the seven-leaf clover that Buck gives him, he soon cheers up when he finds an even better gift and the courage to tell Sparklehart that this gift is “for you and no one else!”
Winter, Jonah. Gertrude Is Gertrude Is Gertrude Is Gertrude. Il. Calef Brown. 2009. unp. Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (9781416940883). Gr. PreK-3. In the early twentieth century, the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas is host to frequent prominent guests, including Picasso and Matisse.
Burd, Nick. The Vast Fields of Ordinary. 2009. 309p. Dial/Penguin, $16.99. (9780803733404) Gr. 9+. During his last summer before college, Dade juggles his divorcing parents and dysfunctional closeted boyfriend until he meets Alex and gains the courage to declare his sexuality.
Carter, Timothy. Evil? 2009. 256p. Flux/Llewellyn, $9.95. (9780738715391). Gr. 9+. Being gay and summoning demons don’t provide Stuart with any problem in his small, conservative Canadian town, but everyone gets caught up in an anti-masturbation crusade when Stuart commits the sin of Onan.
Collins, Pat Lowery. Hidden Voices: The Orphan Musicians of Venice. 2009. 345p. Candlewick, $17.99. (9780763639174). Gr. 7+. In a 1700s Venetian orphanage famous for its musical training, teenage Anetta suffers from her unrequited love for the ethereal Luisa.
Crutcher, Chris. Angry Management. 2009. 246p. Greenwillow/HarperCollins, $16.99. (9780060502478). Gr. 7+. Anger and rage, both internal and external, provide the common thread for three stories dealing with high school injustice–being black, gay, overweight, or simply a high school student.
Ehrenberg, Pamela. Tillmon County Fire. 2009. 175p. Eerdmans, $9.00 (9780802853455). Gr. 7+. Eight teens give their perspectives about an anti-gay hate crime that ignites fear, homophobia, grief, and loss.
Frazer, Megan. Secrets of Truth & Beauty. 2009. 347p. Disney/Hyperion, $15.99. (9781423117117). Gr. 9+. At age seven, Dara was a darling pageant winner; at 17, she has gained too much weight and anger, leading her to discover her runaway sister on a farm commune for lesbians and others rejected by their families, including a gay high school senior.
Garsee, Jeannine. Say the Word. 2009. 360p. Bloomsbury, $16.99. (97815999903330). Gr. 9+. The “perfect” Shawna Gallagher finds her life turned upside down when she turns 17, her estranged lesbian mother dies, and she discovers a family in the mother’s partner and two sons, a family that her controlling father tries to destroy.
Going, K.L. King of the Screwups. 2009. 310p. Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin, $17.00. (9780152062583). Gr. 7+. When Liam Geller screws up once too often, his father throws him out of the house, and Liam finds his true self when he goes to live with his father’s brother, “Aunt” Pete, a gay glam-rocker disc jockey living in a trailer in upstate New York.
González, Rigoberto. The Mariposa Club. 2009. 216p. Alyson, $14.95. (9781593501068). Gr. 8+. During their senior year, the Fierce Foursome—Maui, Trini, Isaac, and Lib—decide to leave their legacy by creating their high school’s first LGBT organization, an action that brings out both support and opposition from their families and their community.
Hopkins, Ellen, Tricks. 2009. 627p. Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster, $18.99. (9781416950073). Gr. 9+. Five teens find themselves selling their bodies in Las Vegas due to circumstances and decisions, both within and well beyond their control.
* How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity. Ed. Michael Cart. 2009. 350p. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, $16.99. (9780061154980). Gr. 9+. The tales in this collection present not only the variety of identities in the LGBTQ community—transgendered, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, and gay—but also the variety of experiences of being human—love, regret, betrayal, discovery. (Note: As an ALA Rainbow Project committee member, Michael Cart recused himself from all discussion.)
Hurwin, Davida Wills. Freaks and Revelations. 2009. 234p. Little, Brown/Hachette Group, 16.99. (9780316049962). Gr. 10+. Actual events inspired this narrative of two teens—Jason, a gay thirteen-year-old surviving on the streets after being rejected by his family, and Doug, a seventeen-year-old skinhead punk rocker—as their lives intersect in a violent hate crime that forever changes them.
Katcher, Brian. Almost Perfect. 2009. 360p. Delacorte/Random House, $17.99. (9780385736640). Gr. 9+. Beautiful newcomer Sage is perfect for Logan until he discovers that she is transgendered.
Ketchum, Liza. Newsgirl. 2009. 327p. Viking/Penguin, $17.99. (9780670011193). Gr. 5-8. When ambitious and strong-willed Amelia moves to San Francisco in 1851 with her two mothers, she must masquerade as a boy to realize her dream of first hawking newspapers and then working as a reporter.
Levithan, David. Love Is the Higher Law. 2009. 167p. Knopf/Random House, $15.99. (9780375834684). Gr. 8+. Three teenage New Yorkers–Claire, Peter, and Jasper–searching for the meaning of the 9/11 bombing find it in new friendships and the emerging romantic relationship between the two boys.
* Lo, Malinda. Ash. 2009. 264p. Little Brown/Hachette Book Group, $16.99. (9780316040099). Gr. 8+. Torn between her emerging love for the King’s mysterious huntress and the ethereal draw of the world of the fairies, Ash discovers the strength of her own identity.
Marino, Peter. Magic and Misery. 2009. 293p. Holiday House, $17.95. (9780823421336). Gr. 8+. With frank discussions of relationships and sex, heterosexual and homosexual, Toni Jo, who befriends new student Pan (short for Pansy) in the hopes that he will be her boyfriend, gives a humorous portrayal of high school life.
Park, Judith. YSquare Plus. 2008 (Dec.). 183p. Yen Press/Hachette Group, $10.99. (9780759529274). Gr. 9+. Yagate has his heart set on Ra-Myun, the man of his dreams, but when he discovers that Chana does too, he turns to his friend Yoshitaka to help him win Ra-Myun’s affections.
Peck, Dale. Sprout, or My Salad Days, When I Was Green in Judgment. 2009. 277p. Bloomsbury, $16.99. (9781599901602). Gr. 7-10. It’s not easy having green hair in conservative Kansas, but teenage Sprout manages while also prepping for the Kansas State Essay Contest and falling in love with the intriguing new boy in school.
Peters, Julie Anne. Rage: A Love Story. 2009. 293p. Knopf/Random House, $16.99. (9780375852091). Gr. 10+. When the wildly divergent lives of Johanna and Reeves collide, all the Romantic, Alluring, Gorgeous, and Exciting expectations turn to painful RAGE.
Polito, Frank Anthony. Drama Queers! 2009. 416 p. Kensington, $15.00. (9780758231642). Gr. 9+. Julliard, thespians, homecoming, and a certain gorgeous football player all come together as “Band Fag” Bradley Dayton is out to make his senior year his most exciting ever—even if his best friend Jack won’t admit that he, too, is gay.
Rapp, Adam. Punkzilla. 2009. 244p. Candlewick, $16.99. (9780763630317). Gr. 8+. Fourteen-year-old Jamie (aka Punkzilla)–AWOL from military school–embarks on a cross-country odyssey to find his older brother, a dying gay playwright, and share with him his journal of his sometimes frightening, sometimes heartwarming adventures along the way.
Roth, Matthue. Losers. 2008 (Oct.). 186p. Push/Scholastic, $8.99. (9780545068932). Gr. 8-10. Russian immigrant and freshman Jupiter navigates the high school social world and works to improve his popularity while trying to connect with the cute girl at the record store and finding an unexpected friend in the school’s closeted bully.
Ruff, Shawn Stewart. Finlater. 2008 (Jul.). 292p. Quote Editions, $15.50 (9781604023954). Gr. 10+. This deeply affecting and openly sexual story of two boys in love—Cliffy Douglas and Noah Baumgarten—plays out among the disparities of home life and background during the 1970s homophobia and racial tension.
Ryan, P. E. In Mike We Trust. 2009. 321p. HarperTeen, $16.99. (9780060858131). Gr. 7-10. Garth finds the confidence to come out to his mother when wheeling-and-dealing Uncle Mike, his late father’s identical twin, moves in and puts him to work as a budding con man.
Sanchez, Alex. Bait. 2009. 239p. Simon & Schuster, $16.99. (9781416937722). Gr. 7+. Sexually abused San Diego teenager Diego, in trouble for his violent temper, finds understanding and reasons for self-acceptance in the wise and caring counsel of his gay parole officer Mr. Vidas.
Satyal, Rakesh. Blue Boy. 2009. 276p. Kensington, $15.00 (9780758231369). Gr. 9+. Can Kiran Sharma, a sexually confused twelve-year-old Indian American boy who secretly puts on his mother’s make-up, plays with dolls, and practices ballet, really be the reincarnation of the gender-bending Hindu god Krishna?
Stevenson, Robin. Inferno. 2009. 229p. Orca, $12.95. (9781554690770). Gr. 9+. When Dante meets Parker, she thinks that she has found a soul mate but is instead drawn into a dangerous and destructive relationship.
* Urrea, Luis Alberto. Into the Beautiful North. 2009. 342p. Little, Brown, $24.99. (9780316025270). Gr. 9+. When all the young men and fathers leave the bucolic Sinaloa village of Tres Camarones to find jobs in the United States, three young women and their gay friend Tacho sneak across the border to recruit seven police officers and soldiers (the Magnificent Seven!) who will return home and rescue them from the drug-dealing banditos who threaten their good life.
Walliams, David. The Boy in the Dress. Il. Quentin Blake. 2009. 231p. Razorbill/Penguin, $15.99. (9781595142993). Gr. 3-6. Dennis finds his family, friends, and townspeople initially resistant to his desire to wear dresses, but they become his biggest fans on and off the soccer field.
Whatling, Michael. A Vigil for Joe Rose: Stories of Being Out in High School. 2009. 201p. iUniverse, $15.95. (9781440178559). Gr. 9+. The fictional notebooks belonging to Joe Rose, a young gay man killed in 1989 by a gang of hateful young men, is the thread that stitches together the stories of seven out gay high school students in Montreal.
Bechdel, Alison. The Essential Dykes to Watch Out for. 2008 (Nov.). 392p. Houghton Mifflin, $25.00. (978-0-618-96880-0). Gr. 10+. With the help of her extended family Mo, a neurotic lesbian, makes her way from youth to middle age through the countercultural adventures selected from comic strips published during the past 25 years.
Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America. Ed. Mitchell Gold with Mindy Drucker. 2008 (Sept.). 369p. Greenleaf Book Group Press, $23.95. (9781929774104). Gr. 9+. Stories of coming out and finding acceptance from 40 Americans—many of them activists and politicians—show that attitude, not homosexuality—is the problem in our society.
Drummond, Mara Christine. Transitions: A Guide to Transitioning for Transsexuals and Their Families. 2009. 127p. Lulu.com, $16.50. (9780557052615). Gr. 10+. These practical, accessible definitions and descriptions of incongruent gender identity as well as the emotional, financial and physical implications of transitioning show the journey that transgendered people take.
Ginoli, Jon. Deflowered: My Life in the Pansy Division. 2009. 300p. Cleis Press, $16.95. (9781573443432). Gr. 10+. As a founding member of the Pansy Divison, the first out punk band to make it on the national scene, the author describes his coming-out experience and adventures in the homophobic music industry.
Hart, Melissa. Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood. 2009. 276p. Seal Press, $16.95. (9781580052948). Gr. 8+. Hart’s memoir shares her freedom ride as a young White girl who shifts between living with an angry well-to-do father, who has custody of her, and a homosexual mother, who seeks to belong to the Latino culture in 1970s Southern California.
Milk: A Pictorial History of Harvey Milk. Int. Dustin Lance Black; Fwd. Armistead Maupin. 2009. 144p. Newmarket Press, $29.95. (9781557048295); pbk $19.95. (9781557048288). Gr. 8+. This illustrated companion book to the film Milk features archival materials about the life and murder of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay American to be voted into a major public office in the United States.
Rothschild, Matt. Dumbfounded: A Memoir. 2008. (Aug.). 320p. Crown/Random House. (9780307405425). Gr. 9+. Left by his mother to grow up with his Jewish grandparents on the Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Rothschild describes his childhood and teen years as he remained continually in trouble both at home and at school because of his extravagant behavior.
Shepard, Judy with Jon Barrett. The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie and a World Transformed. 2009. 273p. Hudson/Penguin, $25.95. (978-1-59463-057-6). Gr. 9+. Judy Shepard offers her personal account of the heartrending and still relevant 1998 murder of her gay son Matthew in Laramie, Wyoming, a tragedy that inspired the powerful play The Laramie Project and led to federal anti-hate legislation.
An entry beginning with an asterisk (*) indicates the book was found to be exceptional and highly recommended.