Rainbow Book List - GLBTQ Books for Children & Teens
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15th Jan 11

Introduction to 2011 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 2011 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 fourth 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 2009 and October 2010 were considered for inclusion in the final selection.

An entry beginning with an asterisk (*) indicates the book was found to be exceptional and highly recommended.

Picture Books

* Kemp, Anna. Dogs Don’t Do Ballet. 2010. 32p. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. (978-1416998396). Pre-K -2. Girl loves dog, dog loves girl, and they both love ballet. Will the unlikely ballerina ever get his moment on the stage?

Skeers, Linda. Tutus Aren’t My Style. 2010. 32p. Dial. (978-0803732124). Gr 1-2. Tomboy Emma is dismayed when she receives a gift from her favorite uncle and opens it to discover a frilly pink tutu. Ultimately, she discovers that there are lots of different ways to be a ballerina and that her uncle really does know her after all.

Juvenile Fiction

*Agell, Charlotte. The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister. 2010. 160p. Henry Holt & Co. (9780805089028). Gr 5-8. An illustrated diary-like account of things that India McAllister loves like her dog Tofu, her best friend, Colby, and other things… well, she’s not so sure about, like Amanda the Rodent and Richard, her dad’s boyfriend.

* Ignatow, Amy. The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang. 2010. 208p. Amulet Books. (978-0810984219). Gr 6-8. Best friends, Julie and Lydia, try to determine the secrets to popularity and record their observations and schemes in a secret notebook. The result is a hilarious, delightfully illustrated guide to surviving middle school and figuring out what friendship really means.

* McCaughrean, Geraldine. The Death-Defying Pepper Roux. 2010. 336p. HarperCollins. (978-0061836657). Gr. 5-8. Embarked on a dangerous voyage on the high seas, fourteen-year-old Pepper is befriended by a kindhearted, cross-dressing steward with the improbable name of Duchesse. Adventures abound!

Wilson, Jacqueline. Kiss. 2010. 256p. Roaring Book Press. (978-1596432420). Gr 6-9. Sylvie has always imagined spending her life with her best friend, Carl, first as a couple and then as husband and wife. As she realizes Carl is gay and will never really become her boyfriend, she must reconsider her feelings and her friendship with him.

Young Adult/ Crossover Fiction

Beale, Elaine. Another Life Altogether. 2010. 416p. Spiegel & Grau. (978-0385530040). Gr 9+. Due to challenges at home, Jessie’s family decides to move to Yorkshire for a “new start”, and she struggles to fit in and find her own voice in her new town. On top of all this, she must also figure out her confusing new crushes.

Boyd, Maria. Will. 2010. 304p. Knopf Books for Young Readers. (978-0375862090). GR 9-12. High school jock and all-around popular guy Will Armstrong moons a bus full of girls and is assigned community service which includes joining the school band and helping out with the musical. While serving his time, he is befriended by a gay boy and is forced to reconsider his own stereotypical views of what it means to be a man.

Cohn, Rachel. Very LeFreak. 2010. 320p. Knopf Books for Young Readers. (978-0375857584). Gr 9+. With a playlist for every moment, and the need for her tech buzzing in her veins, can Very unplug enough to discover what her heart really wants before it’s too late and take a chance at real love?

Diaz, Alexandra. Of All The Stupid Things. 2009. 272p. EgmontUSA. (978-1606840344). Gr 10+. When Tara learns that her boyfriend may be gay, she is devastated. But then, when she finds herself attracted to a new girl, Riley, she is forced to examine her own sexuality.

Diersch, Sandra. Out. 2010. 136p. Lorimer. (978-1552774229). Gr 9+. Canadian teenager Alex must confront his latent homophobia when his younger brother comes out to him.

* Eagland, Jane. Wildthorn. 2010. 352p. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. (978-0547370170). Gr 9+. Louisa Cosgrove, a high-spirited young lady in nineteenth century England, loves her cousin Grace and longs to be a doctor. A plot devised by someone close to her puts her in an insane asylum, doubting her own identity.

* Green, John and David Levithan. Will Grayson, Will Grayson. 2010. 304p. Dutton Juvenile. (978-0525421580). Gr 9+. On a cold Chicago night, two sixteen-year-olds, one gay and one not, meet and discover they have one big thing in common, their name. From then on, their lives, their friends and their loves intertwine and culminate in the staging of one of the funniest high school musicals ever.

* Horner, Emily. A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend. 2010. 272p. Dial. (978-0803734203). Gr 9+. Following the death of her best friend Julia, Cass finds herself involved in a project to produce the musical Julia wrote. Betrayed loyalties and school bullies set Cass off on a journey where she finds self-awareness and acceptance.

Hyde, Catherine Ryan. Jumpstart the World. 2010. 192p. Knopf Books for Young Readers. (978-0375866654). Gr 9+. Teenage Ellie falls in love with her next-door neighbor Frank, and then, to her dismay, discovers that he is transgender.

Klise, James. Love Drugged. 2010. 312p. Flux. (978-0738721750). Gr 10+. What if there were a drug that could “cure” homosexuality? Deeply closeted teen Jamie is about to find out what could happen! This is a fast-paced novel with an intriguing premise.

Lurie, April. The Less Dead. 2010. 240p. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. (978-0385736756). Gr 9+. When Noah’s friend Will is murdered by a killer targeting homeless gay teens, Noah sets out to find the murderer.

Rainfield, Cheryl. Scars. 2010. 250p. Westside Books. (978-1934813324). Gr 9+. Fifteen-year-old Kendra is a budding artist who has far too many secrets. Not only does she cut herself, she is grappling with her childhood sexual abuse and her burgeoning sexuality.

Shrya, Vivek. God Loves Hair. Self-published, 2010. 90p. (978-0986551208). Gr 10+. Vignettes tell the tale of Vivek, a young man who struggles with his sexuality, preferring to wear his mother’s beautiful sari and lipstick. He endures physical, emotional and verbal abuse in school, only to be saved by his faith… when things are bad during the week, he knows that Sunday will come and no matter what, his gods love him and appreciate all that he is.

Soehnlein, K.M. Robin and Ruby. 2010. 288p. Kensington Publishing Corporation. (978-0758232182). Gr 10+. Aspiring actor Robin has just left his lover, Peter, when his sister, Ruby, goes missing. Robin searches for her, accompanied by his long-time friend, George, to whom, Robin discovers, he is becoming romantically attracted.

Stuart, Sebastian. The Hour Between. 2010. 260p. Alyson Books. (978-1593501266). Gr 10+. Arthur McDougal’s friendship with the charming but troubled Katrina Felt at the Spooner School for the disciplinary challenged helps him come to terms with his sexuality.

Young Adult/ Crossover Non-Fiction

Bergman, S. Bear. The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You. 2009. Arsenal Pulp Press. (978-1551522647). Gr. 10+. A collection of personal essays from a transmasculine perspective, featuring topics such as coming out, family, identity and religion.

de Rossi, Portia. Unbearable Lightness. 2010. 320p. Atria. (978-1439177785). Gr 9+. Coming to terms with coming out and the damaging perceptions of commercial beauty, she shares her story of recovery from her eating disorder and her self-acceptance.

Fakhrid-Deen, Tina with COLAGE. Let’s Get this Straight: The Ultimate Handbook for Youth with LGBTQ Parents. 2010. 208p. Seal Press. (978-1580053334). Gr 6+. Reaching out through the voices of youth in GLBTQ households, this handbook gives kids the tools to deal with the uniqueness of living with LGBTQ parents, including how to deal with the bigotry and hatred of others, overcoming discrimination, and building self-esteem.

Hodel, Page. Monday Hearts for Madalene. 2010. 112p. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. (978-1584797784). Gr 7-12. Whether spoken, written or shared in beautiful heart-shaped collages, Page Hodel reminds us love begets love and she lets her hearts tell her story.

* Lowrey, Sassafras. Kicked Out. 2010. 224p. Homofactus Press. (978-0978597368). Gr 9+. Homeless lgbt-q youth share their stories of surviving on the streets and finding places of sanctuary in creating their own chosen families and community.

Martin, Ricky. Me. 2010. 304p. Celebra Hardcover. (978-0451234155). Gr 9+. Not the usual celebrity biography with glamour shots, Martin instead keeps it real and shares his experience of coming out as gay Latino and the importance of self-acceptance and community service.

Poole, Eric. Where’s My Wand?: One Boy’s Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting. 2010. 272p. Einhorn/Putnam. (978-0399156557). Gr 9+. Poole’s witty memoir of growing up as a gay, Bewitched-obsessed boy in 1970s St. Louis recalls David Sedaris’ unfailingly funny takes on family wackiness.

* Sheng, Jeff. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. 2010. 40p. Jeff Sheng Studios. (978-0984447411). Gr 9+. A poignant photographic essay dedicated to the brave LGBTQ military personnel who serve under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Each person’s face is artfully hidden, helping to express their feelings of isolation and loneliness.

* Various Authors. The Gallup’s Modern Guide to Gay, Lesbian & Transgender Life (Series, 15 titles). 2010. Mason Crest Publishers. Gr 7+. A series of informative non-fiction titles which discuss celebrations and challenges of living as an lgbt person.

Graphic Novels

Cruse, Howard. Stuck Rubber Baby. 2010. 224p. DC Comics. (978-1401227135). Gr 10+. While fighting for civil rights in the 1960s South, Toland fights the realization that he is gay, and has to deal with the idea and the change in his own thoughts and personal identity.

Rucka, Greg. Art by J.H. Williams III; color by Dave Stewart; letters by Todd Klein. Batwoman: Elegy. 2010. 192p. DC Comics. (978-1401226923). Gr 10+. As Batwoman, Kate must battle the most dangerous criminals in Gotham while as Kate Kane, Batwoman must deal with coming to grips with her own sexual identity and fight her own personal war while dealing with the new super-criminal Alice, who’s determined to take her down.


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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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