By Bailey Keimig-Gehrke, Youth Services
Happy Pride Month everyone! What better way could we celebrate than by reading books together? There are lots of wonderful titles for all ages that celebrate LGBTQIA+ voices and promote love for ourselves and others. The following are recent releases for young adults, children, and even our youngest toddler or preschool-aged friends.
All of these titles and more are at the library. If you would like more recommendations, ask one of our friendly librarians or explore the online catalog.
“The Black Flamingo” (Balzer + Bray, 2020) by Dean Atta
This novel-in-verse explores the life of Michael, who grew up more interested in playing with Barbies than with traditionally masculine toys. As a gay, biracial teen, Michael struggles to find where he fits in with his largely white and straight classmates. As he gets older, Michael is desperate to find some community beyond his mom and his best friend. When he gets to college, Michael explores his identity as a gay Black man outside of his hometown. Eventually, he finds the Drag Society and a community that makes him feel empowered and confident in who he is. This is when Michael discovers the Black Flamingo—the bravest version of himself. Ultimately, this is a story that celebrates queerness, Blackness, and the journey we all take to find ourselves in the world.
“Rick” (Scholastic, 2020) by Alex Gino
This chapter book introduces us to Rick. Rick has just started middle school and realizes he will have to deal with his problems sooner rather than later. For one thing, Rick’s best friend is kind of a jerk and he never does anything to stop him from bullying other kids. For another, Rick is tired of being teased about having crushes—girls or boys—he just doesn’t feel that way about anyone. And finally, Rick doesn’t know exactly who he is or how he fits into the world around him. As Rick tries to working through his problems, he learns about the Rainbow Spectrum Club at school. Here, Rick starts to understand that things don’t have to be so black and white. He starts to feel okay not knowing exactly who he is. But will Rick have the courage to stand up and have his voice heard?
“What Riley Wore” (Beach Lane Books, 2019) by Elana K. Arnold and Linda Davick
This picture book celebrates the wonder of dressing up and challenges the idea of gendered clothing. Throughout the book, in colorful illustrations and kid-friendly text, we see how Riley dresses from day to day depending on their mood. One day, Riley feels shy and wears a bunny costume; on another day, Riley wears a cape to give an extra boost of bravery during a trip to the dentist. No matter what Riley feels, there is an outfit that perfectly conveys the emotion. With supportive and understanding peers and adults, this story normalizes the freedom dressing up can give you and emphasizes the joy that comes with expressing your true self.
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