Happy June and Happy Pride! I’m back with another book list, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing this one with you.
One of the greatest things stories and books offer us as readers is the chance to see ourselves reflected through the written word. But equally important is that books give us windows to the world through lived experiences. Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or a proud ally, let’s celebrate these stories through the power of reading.
If you’re asking, why should I listen to a straight, white woman on a topic like this? You don’t have to, but there are a couple of things you should know about me.
- I don’t believe in censorship. I believe in intellectual freedom and creativity. I’ll emphasize this point again; everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in a book, and it is vital that we have windows to the world as well.
- I’m far from perfect, and I openly admit that, but I will keep an open mind and ears that are ready to listen.
- I will advocate for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ stories, representation, equality and will remain a steadfast ally. I might make mistakes along the way but I’m here for the journey.
- I believe in literacy for all. I believe in learning, growing, and supporting each other. I believe in books and connecting readers so much that I made it into my career.
Okay, I hope you’re still with me because, honestly, it was hard for me to narrow down this list. Let’s get to it. In no particular order, here are my book recommendations for Pride month.
- Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
This is a comic book style memoir and is currently the most challenged and/or banned book in the country. Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, explains what it means to be nonbinary and asexual in eir gender identity story.
Side note: Did you know that half of the top 10 challenged books list have LGBTQIA+ themes? I think a post during banned books week might be in our future!
- Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
A blue crayon is mistakenly labeled as red. Red has a bright red label, but he is, blue. Many try to be helpful, but Red isn’t happy. When a new friend offers a new perspective, Red discovers what readers have known all along. Blue is Blue.
- The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
This is a young adult debut novel about a queer Mexican American girl navigating Catholic school while falling in love and learning to celebrate her true self.
- Real Queer America: LGBT Stories From Red States by Samantha Allen
Since we are in red state Indiana, I had to include this book in the list. Truly the definition of looking through the window at the world, this is full of real stories from across our nation. It even includes a story from Bloomington, IN about a queer nightclub.
- Yerba Buena by Nina Lacour
This is Nina Lacour’s adult debut and has been on many 2022 most anticipated lists. As a matter of fact, this book just released on May 31st so it’s brand new! It’s about two women and their star-crossed love story. I already have this one on my TBR cart and I’m looking forward to reading it this month.
- Melissa by Alex Gino
This book was formerly published as George. It’s a transgender story for middle-grade readers. When people look at Melissa, they think they see a boy named George. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl, and Melissa really wants to play Charlotte in the school production of Charlotte’s Web.
- Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
This board book is a must-have for your kiddo’s home library. It is exactly what you think it’s about, all families look different, but as long as there’s love, that’s all that matters.
- The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
This award-winning book is a must-read! It follows Yale Tishman in 1980s Chicago during the AIDS epidemic. Another story is woven in, and we also follow Fiona as she tries to find her estranged daughter and how the AIDS epidemic affected her life.
- Bling Blaine: Throw Glitter, Not Shade by Rob Sanders
This is a heartwarming story that teaches kids about how to be an ally. Blaine loves to throw glitter at everything…at least until the bullying begins. It’s beautifully illustrated, and at the end of the book it defines what an ally is and how to be one.
- Malice & Misrule by Heather Walter
I couldn’t make this list without including this adult fantasy duology. Malice is a sapphic retelling of Sleeping Beauty. The story begins long before the villain we know becomes the villain. It’s beautiful, and you can truly escape reality when reading these books.
Happy reading! Don’t forget to check out this Indy guide to Pride.