Rainbow Book List - GLBTQ Books for Children & Teens
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27th Jan 14



The Rainbow Project, a product of the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) and Social Responsibilities Round Table (SSRT), proudly announces the 2014 Rainbow Book List.  The Rainbow Book List is a bibliography of books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender content, and which are aimed at youth, birth through age 18. The list is intended to aid youth in selecting high-quality books which were published between July 2012 and December 2013.  The list also is intended to aid as a collection development or reader’s advisory tool for librarians serving children and young adults.

The committee members evaluated over 150 books from small, independent, and large publishers, and selected thirty books from 25 publishers for the 2014 Rainbow List. Among the 150 books evaluated by the committee, committee members noted an increase in the number of graphic novels. The number of teen fiction titles has also increased, and teen fiction comprises 70% of the 2014 list. However, there has been a significant decline in juvenile fiction (only one title appropriate for the list) and no picture books. As in previous years, non-fiction for any age, including memoirs and history so vital to tying a culture together, remains sparse.

Titles noted with an asterisk (*) are a Top Ten Title.


Juvenile Fiction

*Federle, Tim. Better Nate than Ever. 2013. 275p. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (9781442446892). Grades 4 and up.
Thirteen-year-old Nate runs away from his small town in Pennsylvania to New York City to audition for E.T. the Musical. With the help of his best friend, can he come back home before anyone notices he’s gone?

Teen Non Fiction

*Bornstein, Kate. My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity. 2013. 312p. Routledge, $39.95. (9780415538657). Grades 7 and up.
This updated edition of Bornstein’s original gender workbook shows the reader how to deconstruct not only gender, but other societal values and morals with candidness, compassion and humor.

Hartzler, Aaron. Rapture Practice: My One-Way Ticket to Salvation: A True Story. 2013. 400p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (031609465X). Grades 9 and up.
In this memoir, Aaron Hartzler recounts his Christian evangelical upbringing; that means no TV, no movies, no drinking and no dating. As Aaron begins to discover who he is, he must also navigate the expectations of his very conservative family, and the larger community.

*Setterington, Ken. Branded by the Pink Triangle. 2013. 158p. Second Story Press, $15.95. (9781926920962). Grades 9 and up.
Jews were not the only ones persecuted and executed by the Nazis in World War II. Instead of a Star of David, homosexual men were marked with a pink triangle, which now stands as an international symbol for gay rights.

Teen Fiction

*Block, Francesca Lia. Love in the Time of Global Warming. 2013. 240p. Henry Holt and Co., $16.99 (0805096272). Grades 9-12.
In post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, Penelope (Pen) has lost everything, and everyone, she’s ever cared about. In this Odyssey-esque journey, Pen embarks on a search for her family, finding unexpected adventures and survivors along the way.

Charlton-Trujillo, E.E. Fat Angie. 2013. 272p. Candlewick Press, $16.99 (0763661198). Grades 9 and up.
Angie hits rock bottom the day she tries to commit suicide in the middle of a high school pep rally. Enter KC Romance, a new girl in town who is stunningly different.

*Clark, Kristin Elizabeth. Freakboy. 2013. 448p. Farrar Straus Giroux $18.99 (9780374324728). Grades 7 and up.
Three lives intertwine: Angel, a transwoman who works at an LGBTQ center for teens; Vanessa, a high school girl who’s on the wrestling team; and Brendan, Vanessa’s boyfriend who has just started having dreams that he is actually a she. Brendan feels at home in his female-bodied dreams, but what does that mean for his relationship with Vanessa, and how can Angel help him?

*Dos Santos, Steven. The Culling. 2013. 420p. Flux, $9.99 (9780738735375). Grades 9-12.
In a post-apocalyptic America, the government has absolute control of its people, complete with a barbaric and gruesome tradition known as Recruitment Day. Lucian “Lucky” Sparks thinks his boyfriend, Cassius, will save him from being selected as a Recruit, but when Cassius proves untrustworthy Lucky must fight for his life.

*Egloff, Z. Leap. 2013. 223p. Bywater Books, $14.95. (978-1612940236). Grades 9 and up.
In the summer of 1979, Rowan Marks is just waiting to leave for college. In the meantime, she deals with her disconnected family, her best friend Danny who is in love with her, and stuck up, closed-off Catherine.

*Farizan, Sara. If You Could Be Mine. 2013. 256p. Algonquin Young Readers, $16.99 (9781616202514). Grades 9 and up.
Sahar and Nasrin are two women in love with each other whose lives are complicated by the fact that they live in Iran, where homosexuality is forbidden. When Nasrin’s parents arrange for her to be married to a handsome doctor, Sahar comes up with a risky plan to save their relationship.

Fishback, Jere M. Tyler Buckspan. 2013. 198p. Prizm/Torquere Press, Inc., $13.95. (9781610405188). Grades 9 and up.
When his nineteen-year-old half-brother moves in after his release from prison, Tyler can no longer ignore his attraction to other boys. Thus begins a coming-of-age story  about love and loss, set in the 1960s.

Harris, Michael. Homo. 2013. 144p. Lorimer, $16.95. (9781459401921). Grades 9 and up.
When Will gets outed on Facebook and everything in his life starts spinning out of control, can he discover who he truly is, or will his life be defined by what everyone else thinks?

Hoblin, Paul. Archenemy. 2013. 112p. Darby Creek Publishing, $7.95. (9781467707213). Grades 7 and up.
Addie and Eva are the closest of friends, but Eva wants to be more than “just friends.” When Addie doesn’t feel the same way, Eva harasses and tries to sabotage her, and their tight friendship quickly unravels.

Jackson, Corrine. If I Lie. 2012. 288p. Simon Pulse, $16.99. (9781442454132). Grades 9 and up.
Everyone in town is calling Quinn a whore and a slut because she’s been caught cheating on her boyfriend Casey, who is serving in the Marines overseas. What they don’t know is that Quinn is keeping Casey’s secret, a secret that would prove her innocence.

*Johnson, Alaya Dawn. The Summer Prince. 2013. 304p. Arthur A. Levine Books, $17.99 (9780545520775). Grades 9 and up.
Set in futuristic Brazil, the people of the city of Palmares Tres have elected a new Summer King, Enki. Everyone is in love with him, including June who knows better then to get tangled up with a man who she knows is destined to die.

Konigsberg, Bill. Openly Straight. 2013. 320p. Arthur A. Levine Books, $17.99 (9780545509893). Grades 7 and up.
High school junior Rafe leaves his accepting parents, his accepting school, and his accepting Colorado hometown to start life over at an all-boys boarding school where he decides not to come out as gay. As he navigates his new identity as a jock and a “boy’s boy,” the strain of keeping his secret begins to take its toll.

*Lam, Laura. Pantomime. 2013. 400p. Strange Chemistry, $9.99 (9781908844378). Grades 9 and up.
Fleeing from her life of nobility, marriage and forced gender, Iphigenia joins the Circus of Magic, facing issues of identity that stretch beyond anyone’s imagination.

Levithan, David. Two Boys Kissing. 2013. 208p. Random House $16.99 (9780307931900). Grades 8 and up.
Based on true events, this is the story of Harry and Craig’s record-breaking 32-hour kiss, narrated by a Greek Chorus of older gay men lost to AIDS, and interwoven with the stories of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, and navigating gender identity.

London, Alex. Proxy. 2013. 384p. Philomel, $17.99 (9780399257766). Grades 8 and up.
Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. As a Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want – the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy named Syd to take all his punishments.

Malone, Jill. Giraffe People. 2013. 262p. Bywater Books, $14.95. (9781612940397). Grades 9 and up.
Cole is content to do well in school, play sports, and date her well-behaved boyfriend, even though she has more than enough reason to rebel as the middle child of an Army chaplain. When her friendship with Meghan suddenly becomes complicated, it seems that everything else in her life becomes complicated, too.

Moynihan, Lindsay. The Waiting Tree. 2013. 218p. Amazon Children’s Publishing, $17.99 (9781477816424). Grades 9 and up.
Simon and Stephen get caught “in the act” by Stephen’s dad, but that’s just one of Simon’s many problems. Simon has been ostracized by his church community, he has a going-nowhere job at the local Stop ‘n Save, and he is the sole caretaker of his brother, Jude.

Ness, Patrick. More Than This. 2013. 480p. Candlewick Press, $19.99. (9780763662585). Grades 9 and up.
Seth clearly remembers drowning and dying, but now he is awake in a run-down, abandoned version of his childhood home. Whenever he closes his eyes, his dreams feel more lifelike than his new reality.

Ryan, Tom. Tag Along. 2013. 208p. Orca, $12.95. (9781459802971). Grades 8 and up.
On the evening of the high school prom, a series of disappointing events bring four very different teens together for an evening more memorable than anyone could have planned.

Smith, Andrew. Winger. Simon & Schuster, 2013. 438p. $16.99. (9781442444928). Grades 9 and up.
Learning the ways of love and life are never easy, especially when you are a 14-year-old high school junior like Ryan Dean. Ryan Dean knows that with his best friend Joey at his side, life is always better – until the unthinkable happens.

Sutherland, Suzanne. When We Were Good. 2013. 227p. Sumach Press, $14.95 (97871927513118). Grades 9 and up.
Coping with her grandmother’s death and ditched by her best friend, Katherine finds herself seeking relief in Toronto’s music scene where she meets the self-confident and self-aware Marie.

Graphic Novels

Georges, Nicole. Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir. 2013. 288p. Mariner Books, $17.99 (9780547615592). Grades 10 and up.
When a psychic reveals that her father, long believed dead, is still alive, Nicole struggles with her identity and personal relationships with family, friends and lovers.

Maroh, Julie. Blue is the Warmest Color. 2012. 160p. Arsenal Pulp Press, $19.95. (9781551525143). Grades 10 and up.
In this graphic novel, Clementine dies at a young age and leaves her diary to her beloved Emma. There, Emma reads about how Clementine came to terms with her sexuality.

Parent, Dan. Kevin Keller 2: Drive Me Crazy. 2013. 104p. Archie Comics. $11.99. (9781936975587). Grades 6 and up.
Kevin juggles school, Boyfriend troubles, and a visit by George Takei in this new Archie Comic.

Takako, Shimura, Wandering Son, v. 4. Fantagraphic Books, 2013. 200p. $19.99. (9781606996058). Grades 6 and up.
Love is in the air for Nitori-kun, Takatsukisan, and Chiba-san. Hurt feelings abound and friendships may dissolve as elementary school fades into junior high.

Williams III, J. H. and W. Haden Blackman. Batwoman, Volume 3: World’s Finest. DC Comics, 2013. 168p. (9781401242466). $22.99. Grades 9 and up.
When searching for Medusa and the missing children of Gotham, Batwoman teams up with Wonder Woman for a fight they might not survive.

The 2014 Rainbow Project Committee consisted of Christie Gibrich, chair; Naomi Gonzales; Ingrid Abrams; Erin Iannacchione; Christine Jenkins; Melanie Koss; Jesse Nachem; Victor Schill; Anna White; and Jane Cothron, project assistant.

GLBTRT is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.  The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association is committed to serving the information needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender professional library community, and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender information and access needs of individuals at large.  http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/

Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT), a unit within the American Library Association, works to make ALA more democratic and to establish progressive priorities not only for the Association, but also for the entire profession.  Concern for human and economic rights was an important element in the founding of SRRT and remains an urgent concern today.  SRRT believes that libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy.  SRRT’s main Web site is hosted at http://libr.org/SRRT.


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Rainbow Books presents an annual bibliography of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content, which are recommended for people from birth through eighteen years of age. Rainbow Books is a joint project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) and the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA).
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