For December we’re ringing in the holidays with a sleighful of LGBTQ+ authored books for young readers (or those young at heart). So we have a number of picture, children’s, and middle grade books sure to delight, inspire, and educate. And that education isn’t just about the content of the books—it’s also about cutting through the historical erasure and suppression to show readers that LGBTQ+ authors have been here all along, and their contributions to the field have been immense. It might come as a surprise to some to learn that the classic Goodnight Moon was written by Margaret Wise Brown, who had relationships with men and women. More people might be aware that Arnold Lobel, author of the Frog and Toad series, was gay, and we’re happy to add all of those into our collection. And rounding out the selections pulled from authors whose works helped to build and revolutionize children’s literature, we’re also adding Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
We’re also adding a children’s book that take a more modern look at historical events important to LGBTQ+ communities, including Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution! by Joy Michael Ellison and Teshika Silver, which introduces young readers to Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, two transgender women of color at the heart of the Stonewall Riots and the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.
There are also many books dealing with LGBTQ+ families, as with I Promise by Syrus Marcus Ware and Catherine Hernandez. The book captures intimate moments of parenting and family life, recognizing the great diversity of how families look and operate in LGBTQ+ households. When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita explores families embracing transgender children and navigating the difficult waters of identity, empathy, and love against the fear of failure and insecurities about being a good sibling and parent. And My Rainbow by DeShanna and Trinity Neal and Art Twink tells the story of a young trans girl and her mom bonding and drawing close through the shared act of making a rainbow wig. Keeping on the theme of wigs and Big Wig by Jonathan Hillman and Levi Hastings tells the story of a young child entering into a neighborhood costume competition and having a wild adventure of it.
For those just learning about the diversity of people and identities, The Pronoun Book by Chris Ayala-Kronos and Melita Tirado is a bountiful introduction to and celebration of people and their pronouns. For readers young and old, it provides a lively and compassionate guide to an often weaponized linguistic category. And Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima tells the story of a unicorn raised by narwhals, finding out that the ways he’s different aren’t defects are problems, but ways that he’s special, and something that connects him to a whole new world. It’s a cute and charming looka t community, family, and all-encompassing love.
Moving up to middle grade selections, and The Insiders by Mark Oshiro merges mystery and fun in the story of three kids who don’t belong, a room that shouldn’t exist, and a year that will change everything. It’s a book full of friendship, adventure, and a touch of magic, and is at turns heartwarming and hilarious. Meanwhile Claribel A. Ortega tells the story of three young witches faced with the possibility of losing their magic because they weren’t accepted into a large coven. They must take on an impossible task to solidify their place and it will take all of them working together to affirm their place and right to magic and find in each other what they’ve been denied by the powers that be.
In Ellen Outside the Lines, A. J. Sass introduces thirteen-year-old Ellen Katz, a neurodivergent Jewish girl who has to navigate school and her growing understanding of her attraction and self. Throw in some friendship challenges, new classmates, and Ellen suddenly has more to contend with than she planned, and is pulled out of her comfort zone…only to find out that sometimes that’s not the worst thing. Finally, in Moonflower, Kacen Callendar takes on some heavy topics as Moon’s depression is overwhelming and their only escape seems to be traveling to the spirit realm every night. But when the realm is threatened, it’s up to Moon to take action, and Moon finds that their value and abilities are much more than they had assumed.
So there’s something for just about every kind of young reader out there, or for those wanting to be a kid again, if only for a little while!