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Amazing LGBTQ+ Reads for Young People

Updated: 2 days ago

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Over the few years, I have been trying to read literature featuring LQBTQ+ characters so that I can offer these books to my students. In general, I am always looking for books that kids in my classroom might connect to, and my ideal find is when a book is well-written AND interesting to kids.

Below are my favorite LQBTQ+ books from the last few years. I hope you will pick them up and enjoy them as much as I did, and I hope they find their way into the hands of kids who need them.

For High School Students

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

Lawn Boy is my most recent read and my current favorite. I wasn't sure if I was going to finish is after the first two chapters, but I was hooked enough to keep going. The book turned out to be well worth the time. In Lawn Boy, the main character, Mike, is 23, broke, single and lost. He knows what he wants to do with his life (be a topiary artist) but he cannot figure out how to get there between taking care of his disabled brother and trying to help his mom pay the bills. Although some of the characters seem a bit crass and rough at first, I loved them all in the end.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callendar

In Felix Ever After, Felix is trying to figure out how he is going to get into college and pay for it. He wants to do this via his art, but he is stuck at the moment. In the backdrop of his main conflict about getting into school, he is also trying to figure out his identity: Although he has already transitioned from female to male, something still does not feel quite right. Lastly, he has all the drama that also comes with being a teenager and trying to navigate peers and relationships. He has allies and he faces bullies of all stripes, all while trying to figure out his art and how to get into college.

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson

I picked this book up after spying it in my niece's bedroom. I learned a lot and it helped me navigate some conversations that would have otherwise been out of my league of understanding.

Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

It has been a few years since I have read this one, but I remember that I loved it. In this story, Simon has a devoted and loving family, but he's gay and he has kept it a secret from everyone....well, almost everyone....and now the school bully is using Simon's secret to get a date with one of Simon's friends. The plot thickens from there! The movie Love, Simon is also great for a fun movie night with friends.

Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Like the above book, it has been a few years since I have read this one, but it is very well written and has a satisfying ending. The story features two Mexican American teenagers who are trying to figure out all of the normal teenage stuff as well as their sexual identities.

For Middle School Students

Totally Joe by James Howe

I came across this book 10 years ago as part of my masters degree in reading education. The main character, Joe, is gay and proud of it. This is the story of how Joe comes out to his friends.

Melissa by Alex Gino

This book, like the one listed after it, is so incredibly sweet that it is hard to believe it is one of the most challenged books in the last few years. This story features a

transgender girl who everyone calls George, since Melissa is not out yet. Everyone gives Melissa (George) crap for wanting to play Charlotte in the school play, and the story evolves from there.

So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez

This book, like Melissa, is also incredibly sweet. The book switches back and forth between two points of views: Xio, who is boy-crazy and talkative, and Frederick, who is shy and, as it turns out, unsure about his sexuality. The story progresses as Xio works all of her magic to get Frederick to be her boyfriend.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobib-This book was one of the most banned books of 2022. I read it recently and I am not sure what the fuss is about.

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