I remember reading Annie On My Mind as part of my YA Literature class during my Master’s program. We were assigned a title from each YA “genre” and that was our LGBTQ book I suppose. I guess at the time there probably weren’t many other choices, either that, or it was because that book was such a game changer. Published in 1982, it has held up to numerous challenges even including a burning in Kansas in 1993! It has never been out of print and has been named a “Best of the Best Books for Young Adults” by the ALA, and it has been named one of the 100 most influential books of the 20th Century by School Library Journal. Still, I was not even aware of this book until I was a 22 year old graduate student. It was never on my radar for whatever reason, but I am glad it was finally put there as it remains one of the most memorable YA books I have ever read. Whether I am now more attuned to what’s being published as a Librarian or whether there truly is an upsurge in LGBT stories for children and teens I can now name more than ten LGBTQ books I have read and would recommend to anyone. I generally don’t like to label YA, for example chick-lit vs. guy books, or LGBTQ novels. I think it is important to read a variety of stories about a variety of characters, some you can relate to and others you can learn from. Even so, it is important to acknowledge the importance of LGBTQ novels especially in the realm of YA Literature.
The Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in LGBTQ writing for books published in the previous year among many different catergories, one of which is Children’s/Young Adult. Without further ado, here are this year’s nominees.
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Kristen discovers that she is intersex and possesses male chromosomes, a diagnosis that is leaked to the whole school, throwing Kristin’s entire identity into question.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
After enduring his father’s suicide, his own suicide attempt, broken friendships, and more in the Bronx projects, Aaron Soto, sixteen, is already considering the Leteo Institute’s memory-altercation procedure when his new friendship with Thomas turns to unrequited love.
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
In 1766, a boy, Billy Marvel, is shipwrecked, rescued, and goes on to found a brilliant family of actors that flourishes in London until 1900 — and nearly a century later, Joseph Jervis, runs away from home, seeking refuge with his uncle in London, and is captivated by the Marvel house, with its portraits and ghostly presences.
Gay and Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-long Struggle For LGBT Rights, With 21 Activities by Jerome Pohlen
This history is told through personal stories and firsthand accounts of the movement’s key events. Twenty-one activities bring the history to life.
Anything Could Happen by Will Walton
Living in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business, Tretch struggles with his feelings for his straight best friend, Matt, and the advances of a girl who has no clue how off-base her crush on him is.
About a Girl by Sarah McCarry
A contemporary retelling of the Atalanta myth in which a sudden discovery upends eighteen-year-old Tally’s fiercely ordered world, setting her on a quest to seek the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past, but instead she finds the enigmatic and beautiful Maddy, who may open the door to her future.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
When an email falls into the wrong hands, sixteen-year-old, not-so-openly gay Simon is blackmailed into playing wingman for a classmate or risk having his sexual identity revealed and the privacy of the boy he has been emailing compromised.
George by Alex Gino
Knowing herself to be a girl despite her outwardly male appearance, George is denied a female role in the class play before teaming up with a friend to reveal her true self.