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Find more The Rainbow List
On the fortieth anniversary of the Kinsey report, which told the world that GLBTQ people are not alone in their feelings or experiences; 25 years since the publication of the controversial Annie on My Mind; and nearly 20 years after Daddy’s Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies, the Rainbow Project proudly presents its inaugural bibliography—a listing of books for children and teens, from birth through age 18, that deal with myriad gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning issues. The project is sponsored jointly by the Social Responsibilities Round Table and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Trangendered Round Table of the American Library Association. A star designates the top 10 books selected by the committee.
Censorship is still a major issue; Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s picture book And Tango Makes Three topped ALA’s 2006 list of most-challenged titles. We thank the authors, illustrators, editors, and publishers who are willing to confront such challenges and continue to provide high-quality books that portray GLBTQ characters in a realistic and prominent manner.
*And Tango Makes Three. By Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Illus. by Henry Cole. 2005. Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (9780689878459).
At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins parent an egg and start a family.
Antonio’s Card/La Tarjeta de Antonio. By Rigoberto Gonzalez. Illus. by Cecilia Concepcion Alvarez. 2005. Children’s Book Press, $16.95 (9780892392049).
Antonio comes to terms with his classmates’ ridicule of his mother’s partner, Leslie.
Emma and Meesha My Boy: A Two Mom Story. By Kaitlyn Considine. Illus. by Binny Hobbs. 2005. Two Moms, $10.95 (9780615189253).
When Emma’s two moms teach her to be nice to her cat, Emma enjoys being told yes instead of no.
*Mini Mia and Her Darling Uncle. By Pija Lindenbaum. Tr. by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard. 2007. Farrar/R & S, $16 (9789129667349).
Jealous, feisty Mia plays tricks to drive away Uncle Tommy’s new partner, Fergus—until Uncle Tommy isn’t feeling well, and she decides to accept the relationship.
Monicka’s Papa Is Tall. By Heather Jopling. Illus. by Allyson Demoe. 2006. Nickname, $10.95 (9780978073916).
Monicka’s papa and daddy are very different, but the puzzle pieces come together to show that both of them love her very much.
Ryan’s Mom Is Tall. By Heather Jopling. Illus. by Allyson Demoe. 2006. Nickname, $10.95 (9780978073909).
Ryan’s mom and mummy are very different, but the puzzle pieces come together to show that both of them love him very much.
Middle–Early Young Adult
Absolutely, Positively Not. By David Larochelle. 2005. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $16.95 (0-439-59109-0).
Fifteen-year-old Steven conscientiously collects photos of girls in bikinis and dates his female classmates in a humorous attempt to fit in at his Minnesota high school—only to find out some surprising things about the people around him, and about himself.
Between Mom and Jo. By Julie Anne Peters. 2006. Little, Brown/Megan Tingley, $16.99 (0-316-73906-5).
Fourteen-year-old Nick has a great life with his two moms until they split up, and he’s caught in the middle with no support.
Girl Nearly 16, Absolute Torture. By Sue Limb. 2005. Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-73216-3).
Forced to leave her boyfriend and visit her father for two weeks, 15-year-old Jess learns the reason her father left her mother.
*The Manny Files. By Christian Burch. 2006. Atheneum, $15.95 (9781416900399).
Shy Keats Dalinger learns from his unconventional male nanny to be more self-confident and outgoing, while the “manny” becomes a part of the family.
The Order of the Poison Oak. By Brent Hartinger. 2005. HarperTeen, $15.99 (0-06-056730-9).
Tired of being the school freak, gay 16-year-old Russel tries to escape as a summer camp counselor in a rural camp, only to be attracted to the same counselor as his bisexual friend, Min.
Swimming in the Monsoon Sea. By Shyam Selvadurai. 2005. Tundra, $18.95 (0-88776-834-2).
Fourteen-year-old Amrith finds his life in Sri Lanka turned upside down when he falls in love with his cousin, who is visiting from Canada.
Totally Joe. By James Howe. 2005. Atheneum/Ginee Seo, $15.95 (9780689839573).
In 13-year-old Joe’s alphabiography assignment—the story of his life from A to Z—he bares his soul about his parents, teachers, friends, and enemies—and his coming out.
No Easy Answers: Bayard Rustin and the Civil Rights Movement. By Calvin Craig Miller. 2005. Morgan Reynolds, $27.95 (9781931798433).
Although Rustin was a leader in the U.S. civil rights movement, his arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment for a homosexual encounter were used to discredit his work.
What If Someone I Know Is Gay: Answers to Questions about What It Means to be Gay and Lesbian. By Eric Marcus. 2007. Simon Pulse, paper, $8.99 (9781416949701).
This extensively updated resource covers basic and not-so-basic considerations in a question-and-answer format.
When I Knew. Ed. by Robert Trachtenberg. Illus. by Tom Bachtell. 2005. Regan, $22.95 (0-06-057146-2).
More than 80 contributors briefly describe that “eureka moment” when they discovered their sexual orientation. A fun book designed with a magzine-style flair.
Becoming Chloe. By Catherine Ryde Hyde. 2006. Knopf, $15.95 (0-375-83258-0).
While attempting to protect Wanda (aka Chloe), another homeless teenager, 17-year-old Jordan, finds both brutality and beauty in life on their road trip across the country.
*Breathing Underwater. By Lu Vickers. 2007. Alyson, $24.95 (9781555839642).
In 1970s Florida, it’s literally sink or swim for 12-year-old Lily, who struggles for self-acceptance while dealing with her mother’s mental illness.
The Center of the World. By Andreas Steinhofel. Tr. by Alisa Jaffa. 2005. Delacorte, $16.95 (0-385-72943-X).
Seventeen-year-old Phil navigates his complicated family dynamics and his first sexual relationship in a lyrical novel, first published in Germany.
Crashing America. By Katia Noyes. 2005. Alyson, $14.95 (1-555-83911-8).
Afraid that she will kill herself at age 18, as her mother did, 17-year-old Girl (formerly Gretchen) flees San Francisco on a road trip to the Midwest, searching for a place where she belongs.
Far from Xanadu. By Julie Anne Peters. 2005. Little, Brown, $16.99 (0-316-15881-X).
Ace softball player and weightlifter Mike Szabo (aka Mary Elizabeth) has enough trouble surviving in her small town before new girl Xanadu turns Mike’s life upside down.
*Freak Show. By James St. James. 2007. Dutton, $18.99 (9780525477990).
Outrageous teen drag queen Billy Bloom, a new student at the very conservative Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy, finds that life isn’t easy for him among the rich, white, brutally homophobic students.
Getting It. By Alex Sanchez. 2006. Simon & Schuster, $16.95 (9781416908968).
Hoping to impress a sexy female classmate, 15-year-old Carlos secretly hires gay student Sal to give him an image makeover in exchange for Carlos’ help in forming a Gay-Straight Alliance at their Texas high school.
Gotham Central: Half a Life. By Greg Rucka. 2005. Illus. by Michael Lark and others. DC Comics, $14.99 (1-401-20438-4).
Police detective Renee Montoya’s lesbian life, which she must keep from both her coworkers and her family, puts her in great danger when she’s implicated in a murder and her main defender is a psychopathic criminal called Two-Face.
*grl2grl. By Julie Anne Peters. 2007. Little, Brown/Megan Tingley, $11.99 (9780316013437).
The young women in this collection of 10 short stories are at different levels of self-discovery, searching for satisfying relationships.
*Hear Us Out! Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present. By Nancy Garden. 2007. Farrar, $18 (9780374317591).
Fact and fiction show the struggles for GLBTQ teens in America during the past five decades.
Hello, Groin. By Beth Goobie. 2006. Orca, $17.95 (9781551434599).
Wanting to be normal, 16-year-old Dylan Kowolski tries to develop sexual feelings for a boyfriend, while having a passionate crush on her best female friend.
Hero. By Perry Moore. 2007. Hyperion, $16.99 (9781423101956).
Thom Creed, the son of superheroes, has to hide the fact that he’s gay if he’s going to fit into the League—but that’s not the only problem he faces.
My Side of the Story. By Will Davis. 2007. Bloomsbury, $14.95 (9781596912946).
Cheeky 16-year-old Jarold, aka Jazz, hits the gay bars to escape the misery of his life.
Parrotfish. By Ellen Wittlinger. 2007. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (9781416916222).
When Angela, who has never felt comfortable as a girl, comes out as transgendered and begins life as a boy, she isn’t prepared for everyone’s reactions.
*Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You. By Peter Cameron. 2007. Farrar/Frances Foster, $16 (9780374309893).
Holden Caulfield, meet James Sveck, a white, middle-class New Yorker who disdains his peers and most of the adults in his life—except for the gay man who manages his mother’s art gallery.
Vintage: A Ghost Story. By Steve Berman. 2007. Haworth, $12.95 (9781560236313).
Rejected by his parents because he’s gay, and sent to live with his aunt, a teen is haunted by a handsome boy—in more ways than one—and only black magic will help.
Wanted. By T. I. Alvarado. 2006. Alyson, $14.95 (9781555839451).
Bounty hunter Ladybird “Bird” Blacker has too much to deal with, from a pacifist partner to a six-foot-seven-inch business rival, who wears a scowl you couldn’t scrape off with a chisel. Then her little sister comes to town.
Wide Awake. By David Levithan. 2006. Knopf, $16.95 (9780375834660).
In a future America, when gay, Jewish Abraham Stein is elected president, lovers Jimmy and Duncan join the throngs of people traveling to Topeka to protest the governor’s threat to change votes.
Wild Dogs. By Helen Humphreys. 2005. Norton, $13.95 (0-393-06015-2).
Alice, in love with a wildlife biologist, joins the woman and four others at the the forest’s edge to save dogs that have become feral.
Growing up in southwestern Missouri in the 1970s and hopelessly out of step with the redneck masculinity surrounding him, Wade tries to hide the fact that he is gay by overeating.
*The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing. Ed. by David Levithan and Billy Merrill. 2006. Knopf, $9.95 (9780375832901).
This collection of essays and poetry from a diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens shows the complexity of today’s GLBTQ youth.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. By Alison Bechdel. 2006. Houghton, $13.95 (9780618477944).
Bechdel reveals her childhood experiences with a closeted gay father and her coming-out as a lesbian in this powerful graphic-style memoir.
The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life. By John Baez and others. 2007. Random/Princeton Review, $13.95 (9780375766237).
College life for GLBTQ students—financing, the right school, being out or not, dealing with GLBTQ-phobia, and more—are dealt with in this guide for students as well as those who love and care about them.
Hear Me Out: True Stories of Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia. By Planned Parenthood of Toronto. 2005. Second Story, $12.95 (1-896764-87-8).
Twenty teens from a variety of social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds give personal accounts of gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, transsexual, and questioning experiences.
The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969–2004. By Michael Cart and Christine A. Jenkins. 2006. Scarecrow, $42 (9780810850712).
This overview of young adult GLBTQ fiction, 1970–2004, includes lists of books for teens.
Out Law: What LGBT Youth Should Know about Their Legal Rights. By Lisa Keen. 2007. Beacon, $11 (0-8070-7966-9).
LGBT young adults can make a difference
Queen of the Oddballs and Other True Stories from a Life Unaccording to Plan. By Hillary Carlip. 2006. Harper, $13.95 (9780060878832).
This hilarious, offbeat memoir chronicles the escapades of an unconventional girl surrounded by artists and rock stars in the 1960s and 1970s.
*Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers. By Chris Beam. 2007. Harcourt, $25 (9780151011964).
Four transgender girls share their world with a volunteer in a Los Angeles school for gay and transgender students.
The Whole World Was Watching: Living in the Light of Matthew Shepard. By Romaine Patterson and Patrick Hinds. 2005. Advocate, $24.95 (1-55583-901-0).
After young, gay Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered in Laramie, Wyoming, the author of this autobiography formed a group of “angels” who surrounded bigoted Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, when he and a small group picketed outside the killer’s trial, carrying signs reading, among other things, “Matthew in Hell.”
Committee members: Jane Cothron, Lincoln County Library District/Coastal Resources Sharing Network (OR); Helma Hawkins, Kansas City (MO) Public Library; Arla Jones, Lawrence (KS) High School; Natalie Kendall, Greeley Elementary School (IL); Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland (CA) Public Library; Victor Schill, Harris County Public Library (TX); Nel Ward (OR); and Christie Gibrich, Grand Prairie Public Library (TX).
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