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Find more Rainbow List
The 2009 Rainbow List is a joint undertaking of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibilities Round Table and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table. The list features titles with authentic and significant gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/queer/questioning (glbtq) content for youth from birth through age 18. Titles published in late 2007 are noted; all others were published in 2008.
10,000 Dresses. By Marcus Ewert. Illus. by Rex Ray. Seven Stories, $14.95 (9781583228500). PreS–Gr. 2.
Bailey dreams of wearing beautiful dresses, but her family disapproves of her understanding of her true self.
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. By Sarah S. Brannen. Putnam, $15.99 (9780399247125). PreS–Gr. 2.
Chloe’s concerns about her uncle’s upcoming wedding have nothing to do with the fact that his partner is male. Instead, like a typical preschooler, she worries that she will lose her favorite uncle’s attention.
Middle/Early Young Adult
After Tupac & D Foster. By Jacqueline Woodson. Putnam, $15.99 (9780399246548). Gr. 5–8.
Eleven-year-old D Foster is one of a trio of friends who share a passion for the music of Tupac Shakur and who deal with discrimination directed toward the gay brother of one of the trio. A 2009 Newbery Honor Book, a 2009 Best Book for Young Adults, and a 2009 Notable Children’s Book.
No Castles Here. By A. C. E. Bauer. 2007. Random, $15.99 (9780375839214). Gr. 5–7.
A book of fairy tales, participation in a school chorus, and a gay Big Brother combine to give 11-year-old Augie the confidence he needs to become an activist.
Another Kind of Cowboy. By Susan Juby. 2007. HarperTeen, $16.99 (9780060765170). Gr. 8–10.
Sixteen, gay, and closeted, Alex has dreamed of riding dressage since childhood, although his father wants him to be a “real” cowboy.
Belinda’s Obsession. By Patricia G. Penny. 2007. Lobster, paper, $7.95 (9781897073629). Gr. 7–10.
In this entry in the Not Just Proms and Parties series, after she discovers that her mother is having an affair, Belinda’s obsession with saving her parents’ marriage damages her growing relationship with her last summer’s fling, Candace.
Big Big Sky. By Kristyn Dunnion. Red Deer, paper, $14.95 (9780889954045). Gr. 10–12.
When a pod of five young, well-trained female warrior assassins starts falling apart, each must show her strength in the outside real world to avoid being captured and unplugged.
Crossover. By Jeff Rud. Orca, $9.95 (9781551439815). Gr. 7–10.
Sixteen-year-old Kyle gets caught between his basketball team and the drama club when he opts to join both and re-establishes an old friendship with Luke, who is the frequent target of gay-baiting.
Debbie Harry Sings in French. By Meagan Brothers. Holt, $16.95 (9780805080803). Gr. 8–12.
Johnny is pretty sure he isn’t gay, but he’s not quite sure what it means that he wants to be Debbie Harry—to dress like her, have hair like hers, and to hang out with drag queens. A 2009 Best Book for Young Adults.
Down to the Bone. By Mayra Lazara Dole. HarperTeen, $16.99 (9780060843106). Gr. 8–12.
After 16-year-old Laura is outed at school, kicked out of her home, and rejected by her girlfriend, she finds herself and her community in this hilarious debut novel with an all-Latino cast.
Entrances and Exits. By Paul Ruditis. Simon Pulse, paper, $8.99 (9781416959069). Gr. 7–10.
In this entry in the Drama! series, first-time director and high-school junior Bryan has to learn to cope with a temperamental playwright, the leading actress’ jealous boyfriend, competition from a new girl on the drama scene, and his yearnings for Drew.
Fancy White Trash. By Marjetta Geerling. Viking, $16.99 (9780670010820). Gr. 9–11.
Fifteen-year-old Abby struggles with her highly dysfunctional family while her best friend, Cody, deals with the challenges of coming out to himself and his friends. A 2009 Best Book for Young Adults.
Girl from Mars. By Tamara Bach. Tr. by Shelley Tanaka. Groundwood, $16.95 (9780888997241). Gr. 7–10.
At 15, Miriam’s life in a small German town lacks excitement and meaning until she meets Laura and begins to discover how really full her life is.
Gravity. By Leanne Lieberman. Orca, paper, $12.95 (9781554690497). Gr. 9–11.
Brought up as a strict Orthodox Jew to believe that homosexuality is an abomination, 15-year-old Ellie struggles with her sexual feelings for another girl.
How They Met, and Other Stories. By David Levithan. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375848865). Gr. 9–11.
Find the answer to “what is love” in this diverse collection of short stories.
The Last Exit to Normal. By Michael Harmon. Knopf, $15.99 (9780375840982). Gr. 9–11.
When Ben moves to rural Montana, he does not fit in and finds it harder to deal with having two dads than he did in their previous, urban home. A 2009 Best Book for Young Adults.
Love & Lies: Marisol’s Story
. By Ellen Wittlinger. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (9781416916239). Gr. 9–11.
When Marisol takes a year off between high school and college to write a novel, she falls in love with her creative writing teacher, Olivia.
M+O 4EVR. By Tonya Cherie Hegamin. Houghton, $16 (9780618495702). Gr. 7–10.
After the death of Marianne, Opal’s best friend—and more—Opal deals with her loss through the life of Hannah, a runaway slave who died in 1842.
Map of Ireland. By Stephanie Grant. Scribner, $22 (9781416556220). Gr. 10–12.
Ann’s junior year is complicated by the forced busing of black children to her formerly all-white high school, forcing her to deal with her racist environment while also coping with being a lesbian in an interracial relationship.
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park
. By Steve Kluger. Dial, $16.99 (9780803732278). Gr. 8–10.
Three high-school friends, including a fun, proud, and just-about-out-of-the-closet gay young man, tell about their “excellent” ninth-grade year.
My Tiki Girl. By Jennifer McMahon. Dutton, $16.99 (9780525479437). Gr. 9–11.
After once-popular Maggie, 15, is left with an injured leg after a car accident that kills her mother, she finds solace with Dahlia, the new girl at school, and her unconventional family, including her mentally ill mother.
Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. 2007. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375844409). Gr. 9–12.
Witty, urbane Naomi, age 19, finally comes to terms with being hopelessly in love with her gay best friend, Ely, even after she learns he is sleeping with her boyfriend.
Nothing Pink. By Mark Hardy. Front Street, $16.95 (9781932425246). Gr. 8–10.
Tormented with thoughts about his own homosexuality, Vincent, son of a Pentecostal preacher, fights his impulses until he meets Robert, a church friend, who is much more accepting.
Out of the Pocket. By Bill Konigsberg. Dutton, $16.99 (9780525479963). Gr. 9–11.
Bobby’s skills as a top high-school quarterback also serve him well off the field when he is outed in the school newspaper and deals with the consequences in an honest and realistic way.
Skim. By Mariko Tamaki. Illus. by Jillian Tamaki. Groundwood, $18.95 (9780888997531). Gr. 9–12.
Would-be Wiccan and goth Skim, aka Kimberly Keiko Cameron, is revealed in this graphic novel as a sometimes target for the popular students at her all-girls private school in Toronto, where she falls in love with her English teacher, Ms. Archer. A 2009 Best Book for Young Adults and a 2009 Great Graphic Novel for Teens.
Suicide Notes. By Michael Thomas Ford. HarperTeen, $16.99 (9780060737559). Gr. 9–11.
After he wakes up in a psychiatric hospital, 15-year-old Jeff describes the events that led up to his attempted suicide and how his life is changed during his 45-day stay.
Sword Masters. By Selina Rosen. Dragon Moon, paper, $19.95 (9781896944654). Gr. 9–12.
Determined to avenge her father’s death, Tarius pretends to be male and non-Katabull to study with the Sword Masters but finds more than she bargained for when she falls in love with the headmaster’s daughter, Jena.
Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about The Grapes of Wrath. By Steven Goldman. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (9781599902715). Gr. 8–10.
Eleventh-grader Mitchell’s life suddenly changes when his best friend, David, comes out of the closet.
What They Always Tell Us. By Martin Wilson. Delacorte, $15.99 (9780385735070). Gr. 9–11.
Isolated and unsure of his place in his family and at school after an attempted suicide, Alex is encouraged to try out for cross-country by his brother’s friend, Nathen, and discovers more than just a supportive teammate.
Awkward and Definition. By Ariel Schrag. Simon & Schuster/Touchstone, paper, $15 (9781416552314). Gr. 10–12.
Pen-and-ink comic drawings about Schrag’s early high-school years illuminate her funny and touching journey toward a sexual identity amid concerns about school, sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.
Gay America: Struggle for Equality
. By Linas Alsenas. Abrams/Amulet, $24.95 (9780810994874). Gr. 7–12.
The fascinating story of gay people throughout America’s history is told with clear text and lots of photography.
The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy. By Robert Leleux. St. Martin’s, $23.95 (9780312361686). Gr. 10–12.
Hilarious stories of a comically dysfunctional family describe growing up gay in Texas.
Sex Variant Woman: The Life of Jeannette Howard Foster
. By Joanne Passet. Da Capo, $27.50 (9780786718221). Gr. 10–12.
Foster’s roller-coaster life and studies defined lesbian history in the twentieth century.
Two Truths and a Lie:
A Memoir. By Scott Turner Schofield. Homofactus, paper, $15 (9780978597320). Gr. 11–12.
The fluidity of gender shines in these three performance scripts by a transgendered man from the Deep South who describes growing up in a world of debutante balls and homecoming proms.
Committee members: Nel Ward, chair, Newport (OR); John Andrews, Washoe County Library System, Reno (NV); Helma Hawkins, Kansas City Public Library (MO); K. T. Horning, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison (WI); Arla Jones, Lawrence High School, Lawrence (KS); Natalie Kendall, Greeley Elementary School, Chicago (IL); Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library (CA); Michael Santangelo, Brooklyn Public Library (NY); Victor Schill, Harris County Public Library, Houston (TX); and Christie Gibrich, Assistant to the Rainbow Project for Public Relations and Support, Grand Prairie Public Library System, Grand Prairie (TX).
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