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Find more Rainbow List
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table and the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association are pleased to offer the 2016 Rainbow Project bibliography of recommended titles for youth from birth to age 18 that contain significant and authentic gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, or questioning (GLBTQ) content. Titles published in late 2014 are noted; all others were published in 2015. Below are 10 exceptional choices from the list. For the complete list, visit glbtrt.ala.org/rainbowbooks/rainbow-books-lists.
Teen scientist Andraka’s journey through middle and high school is replete with homophobic persecution at school and skepticism from the scientific community. Between developing an early and inexpensive test for pancreatic cancer and establishing his own sense of self-worth, Jack’s story is a beacon of inspiration and hope.
Cut Both Ways. By Carrie Mesrobian. Harper, $17.99 (9780062349880).
Seventeen-year-old Will believes he is adept at straddling two worlds. He lives with his affluent mother in the suburbs, where he makes out with his gay best friend; he lives with his struggling father in the city, where he hooks up with a girl from school. When his worlds collide, he is cut both ways.
Fans of the Impossible Life. By Kate Scelsa. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (9780062331755).
Jeremy, Mira, and Sebby first bond while gathering signatures on a petition to establish an after-school Art Club. All three of them struggle with physical and emotional traumas, but together, they hope to bring some light into their lives. The use of a different voice for each character’s portion of the narrative (first, second, and third person) adds haunting perspectives to their powerful stories.
Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before. By Karelia Stetz-Waters. 2014. Ooligan, $14.95 (9781932010732).
Triinu Hoffman realizes she is definitely gay, a problem in the middle of a statewide campaign against equal rights for homosexuals in 1992 Oregon. Through lyrical language, this novel depicts a true test for Triinu of who she is and who she wants to become.
Gracefully Grayson. By Ami Polonsky. 2014. Hyperion, $16.99 (9781423185277).
Twelve-year-old Grayson, through a school play, finds the courage to reveal a deep truth: in spite of being seen as a boy, she knows for a fact that she’s a girl.
The Marvels. By Brian Selznick. Scholastic, $32.99 (9780545448680).
In black-and-white pencil illustrations, Selznick depicts three generations of actors descending from the sole survivor of a legendary shipwreck. As that story closes, another unfolds in prose as young Joseph discovers his connection to the actors and his family history, and he embraces his uncle’s life story as it affects and changes his own. A 2016 Notable Children’s Book.
Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU. By Cory Silverberg. Illus. by Fiona Smyth. Seven Stories/Triangle Square, $23.95 (9781609806064).
For children with questions about bodies, gender, touch, sex, and love, this all-inclusive book guides the conversation between children and trusted adults in an accessible graphic format. Gentle, intelligent humor brings home the message of respect, trust, joy, and justice for everyone’s bodies. A 2016 Notable Children’s Book and a 2016 Stonewall Honor Book.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. By Becky Albertalli. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (9780062348678).
Closeted high-schooler Simon Spier is being blackmailed—either help Martin Addison get together with the girl of his dreams (Simon’s good friend) or Simon’s sexuality and e-mail romance with mystery classmate “Blue” will be made public. Follow Simon as he comes out, handles his bully, and navigates how to be with Blue in real life. A 2016 Top 10 Best Fiction for Young Adults and the 2016 William C. Morris Award winner.
SuperMutant Magic Academy. By Jillian Tamaki. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 (9781770461987).
At this boarding school for paranormal teenagers, the student body is a wild mix, from witches and shape-shifters to jocks and performance artists. Hilarity ensues. A 2016 Great Graphic Novel for Teens.
When Everything Feels like the Movies. By Raziel Reid. Arsenal Pulp, $15.95 (9781551525747).
There is no such thing as bad press, especially to small-town middle-schooler Jude Rothesay. Loosely based on the real-life story of Larry Fobes King, this brutal novel explores the life of a glamorous boy who is always in the spotlight. A Top 10 Best Fiction for Young Adults.
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