Celebrating LGBTQ+ Month in books
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Welcome to our weekly CENMAC blog post.
LGBTQ+ Month – This week, Mary has asked our Charlton Park Academy librarian Caroline Fielding (@CazApr1) to write a guest blog to celebrate LGBTQ+ month.
… I would love to share with you some of my favourite books featuring characters to be Proud of …
As we come to the end of LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK, I would love to share with you some of my favourite books featuring characters to be Proud of…so what better to start with than PROUD OF ME by Sarah Hagger Holt. It is her second book for middle grade (for age about 9+) and introduces Becky and Josh, almost twins, with two mums and an anonymous donor dad. A new Pride club is starting at school, Becky wonders whether she has feelings for a friend, while Josh desperately wants to find out about their donor father. Her first book NOTHING EVER HAPPENS HERE is equally engaging, written from the perspective of the daughter of a trans woman, as the family and community react (positively and negatively) to her making it public.
Other brilliant books for a similar age group that have been published in recent years include one of my absolute favourite ever novels in verse, THE DEEPEST BREATH by Meg Grehan (with a brilliant librarian) about a girl who feels “fizzy” when she thinks about another girl in her class. HARRIET VERSUS THE GALAXY by Samantha Baines introduces a non-binary new best friend for a main character that wears a hearing aid that helps her understand the alien that she finds under her bed. THE STRANGEWORLDS TRAVEL AGENCY by L.D. Lapinski is first in a series of fantastical funny stories, in which one of the main characters is transgender.
Finally, also published this month is Benjamin Dean’s ME, MY DAD AND THE END OF THE RAINBOW in which Archie Albright discovers why his recently separated parents are acting strangely and, after seeing a colourful crumpled flyer fall out of his Dad’s pocket, tries to fix things.
There is so much brilliant Young Adult (YA) being published with positive LGBTQ+ representation that I can’t keep up! But recent favourites include the absolutely stunning PET by Akwaeke Emezi, one of the most original books I’ve ever read, no blurb can do it justice.
CINDERELLA IS DEAD by Kalynn Bayron is a fantastic twist on the classic fairytale, and Patrick Ness’s BURN has dragons! Contemporary favourites include Simon James Green’s HEARTBREAK BOYS (road trip… he’s recently written MG and picturebooks too), PULP by Robin Talley (Abby is working on a project about 1950s lesbian pulp fiction, with alternate chapters from Janet in 1955), and LOVELESS by Alice Oseman, which is the first time I’ve read an asexual protagonist. Oseman’s graphic novel series HEARTSTOPPER, about two boys falling for one another, is also brilliant.
THE BLACK FLAMINGO by Dean Atta is a stunning book in verse, also in my Black History Month post in October but it well deserves to be in every list so here it is again, and Jay Hulme’s book of poetry, CLOUDS CANNOT COVER US will bring out every emotion as we follow his experiences growing up as a transgender teenager. I’d also like to recommend the reassuring and funny THIS BOOK IS GAY by Juno Dawson (who has also written some brilliant YA novels), busting myths and prejudice and sharing advice for teens regardless of who they fancy (or not).
And finally, for young adults, the fascinating non-fiction title HAVE PRIDE: AN INSPIRATIONAL HISTORY OF THE LGBTQ+ MOVEMENT by Stella Caldwell and Sue Sanders is most appropriate for this month.
There is so much brilliant Young Adult (YA) being published with positive LGBTQ+ representation that I can’t keep up!
For younger children, there are some amazing picture books promoting diverse families and feelings. For the really tiny, there are the gorgeous DADDY, PAPA AND ME and MOMMY, MAMA AND ME by Leslea Newman showing a child loved by their parents.
AND TANGO MAKES THREE by Justin Richardson is a classic for a reason – the true story of two male penguins in a zoo that adopted an unwanted egg – quite wordy for a picturebook but really lovely. Sure to be a modern classic, this one with very few words, JULIAN IS A MERMAID by Jessica Love made quite a stir when it was published in 2018, a gorgeous book about young Julian dressing to express himself, and the sequel JULIAN AT THE WEDDING is another joyful inclusive story. A less well-known title that I think is great is ARE YOU A BOY OR ARE YOU A GIRL? By Sarah Savage and Fox Fisher about a child called Tiny and all the things they love to do, which helps young readers really think about identity and gender.
There are lots about being comfortable to express yourself, including PERFECTLY NORMAN by Tom Percival and LLAMA GLAMARAMA by Simon James Green. The wonderful ALL ABOUT FAMILIES from Usborne, by Felicity Brooks and illustrated by Mar Ferrero is a must read. If you’re interested in more titles for younger readers, I highly recommend going to LetterboxLibrary.com and filling a basket!
… there are some amazing picture books promoting diverse families and feelings.
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