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There’s a Book About That! GLBT Resources for the Whole Family

June 1, 2012

One of my favorite things about working in bookselling and publishing has always been the idea that if there’s something happening out in the world, there’s a book about it! There are always questions….Lately there’s been quite a lot of discussion in the world and on the news about GLBT issues, specifically Gay Marriage. Here at RAoR we thought it was a good time to share our own list of books that deal with GLBT issues and families, and a few titles from other publishers too, including Gay Marriage and many other questions as well, providing resources for you and your families.

For Families:

Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Mike Dutton

Donovan’s two moms are getting married and he has a big job–ring bearer. This celebration of a happy day seen through a child’s eyes shows that love and family are what really matters and every family is special.

Another thoroughly charming look at same sex marriage is seen in:

King and King by Linda De Haan

Who doesn’t love a Royal Wedding? These quotes sum up the message of this book nicely.

“Progressive . . . inclusive . . . exuberant collage-flecked art.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“A great book to teach young readers about same-sex couples.”
Philadelphia Gay News

“[A] modern tale of happily-ever-after.” —NAPRA Review

And you can visit the happy couple in a lovely sequel King and King and Family by Linda de Haan. in which they share their happiness and commitment with their children.

And for the youngest readers two perfect board books for sharing are Daddy, Papa and Me and Mommy, Mama, and Me by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson

                                                    

Bookseller Kate Reynolds highly recommends these books for families too:

Tale of Two Mommies and Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager 

                 

 Each shows a child and the two parents and talks about which parent does what (bakes cakes, fixes things that break, give kisses goodnight (both, of course)). Each kid is opposite gender of parents, which is a nice touch . . . .

For older readers and parents too:

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

This adorable romantic comedy by esteemed author Levithan was the first book I ever read to feature gay characters in such a casual, positive way, not as the center of an “issue book.” In this high school, gay and straight kids happily co-exist, parents are supportive, and the homecoming queen is named Daryl (now going by Infinite Darlene). Levithan is a wonderfully engaging writer and this book will make you smile. It’s the perfect pick for teens who love “Glee.” - Erin

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

With gay marriage in the news almost daily, it seems that the majority of America has accepted homosexuality into the mainstream. Transgender issues are still largely misunderstood, though, which makes Almost Perfect a great tool for educators, parents and teens.  Logan, of small-town Missouri, is as average a guy as you can expect when his assumptions are suddenly called into question by his new girlfriend. As is the case with most of us, Logan isn’t perfect and his path to understanding is not a “straight” one, but his need to re-examine his own beliefs and sexuality will help those reading it explore their own feelings and attitudes. Winner of the 2011 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award, Almost Perfect is a great read for those new to transgender issues or anyone looking for a great teen read.-Deanna

Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon

 

Michael Harmon’s voice is as authentic, and raw, as anyone writing fiction today.  His protagonists are teenagers, but his books speak to adults as well.  Harmon’s strong writing grabs you from the first paragraph.  This story of a 17 year old boy dealing with his father’s recent “coming out”, and the ensuing events in his new small-town home, make for a reading experience that will keep you turning pages… AND bring you back to all his other books. -Alan

 Am I Blue: Coming Out from the Silence

A story collection with a ton of great authors, edited by Marion Dane Bauer. get your hands on this and read the title story, it’s so good!-Heather


I am J by Cris Beam 

Features a trans main character. -Heather

Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz

Tara hears a rumor that her perfect boyfriend may be involved with a male cheerleader, could he be gay, or bi? Let the drama begin. But then new girl Riley comes to her school, and Tara can’t stop thinking about her. In a wonderfully well paced, realistic love story we learn that  love and friendship can survive, however the road may be a little rocky along the way.-Kate

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

Fourteen-year-old Sophie lives a sheltered life, she’s “home schooled” by her Mom, has never known her Dad and she and her Mom have had to pick up and move, often, to avoid the “No Good”. I was hooked from the first chapter. Sophie’s chapters alternate with the story of Emmy, a young mother whose child has disappeared. As these two stories unfold, as each character finds people who can help them Sophie and Emmy  learn to deal with their losses and to trust and love again. One of the loveliest parts of this story is the two Aunts of the boy next door, their devotion to him and to eachother is remarkable.-Kate

Other favorite GLBT titles to read and share are Julie Anne Peters Keeping You a Secret about how parents can react, good and bad, when a child comes out, Rage: A Love Story   that deals with emotional and physical abuse and Luna about a transgender teen.

                                                    

Also highly recommended for their realistic stories are The Geography Club and it’s sequel The Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger.

                                                                  

 

Other resources for those of you looking for more titles on these topics are:

Random House Children’s Books has a downloadable resource & discussion guide avaialable at:

http://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/GLBTQ_DiscGd_BIZ.pdf

The Stonewall Awards website. The first and most enduring award for GLBT books is the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsored by the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.

http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/award/honored

And for teens, be sure to check out Lee Wind’s LGBTQ website: “I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?”

http://www.leewind.org/

Thanks for joining us at RAoR today, and if you know of more resources on this topic please share them in our comments section. 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2012 8:22 am

    It’s wonderful to see this in children’s books. Every child deserves a character they can relate to.

  2. June 1, 2012 12:56 pm

    Fantastic post! Thank you so much. I don’t think I’ve seen such a thorough compilation of books that cover all these subjects. YA is very well represented. I wonder when middle-grade books will incorporate more gay parents? Off the top of my head, Amy Ignatow’s wonderful series “The Popularity Papers” main character Julie has two dads. I’m sure there are a few more out there I don’t know about…

  3. June 4, 2012 4:02 pm

    DONOVAN’S BIG DAY is one of my absolute favorite picture books—and it’s the perfect read-along for any young child with questions about love, weddings (gay or otherwise), and what makes a family. Leslea Newman (amazing, as always!) & Mike Dutton (his first picture book—hopefully of many yet to come!) really shine here.

    And while it doesn’t deal specifically with GLBTQ topics, Newman’s THE BOY WHO CRIED FABULOUS is the perfect celebration of what it means to be unique. You can’t help but root for the youngster who very decidedly marches to his own beat and the parents who eventually come around to seeing just how FABULOUS that can be.

    Though it predates a few of our more recent titles, don’t forget the wonderful “GLBTQ BOOK DISCUSSION GUIDE” (full of lots of links to additional resources) put together by our School & Library Marketing team—download it at the Random House Teachers & Librarians site:

    http://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/GLBTQ_DiscGd_BIZ.pdf

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