Rainbow lit for kids is on the rise and I for one could not be more thrilled about it. You may have already caught that this year yielded five great Middle Grade novels with representation all over the LGBT spectrum, and now we’re rounding it out with some picture books and even more Middle Grade that are perfect choices for Pride month, including a few to look forward to this fall!
Pride Colors, by Robin Stevenson
This sweet and gentle board book does double duty of teaching babies and toddlers colors while surrounding them with bright photographs of diverse families and affirmations that assure of love regardless of gender or orientation. Stevenson has a wealth of queer books in her catalog, and this is the perfect way to be introduced from the very beginning to an accepting and love-filled life.
Maiden & Princess, by Daniel Haack, Isabel Galupo, and Becca Human
Last year saw Haack’s debut picture book, Prince & Knight, illustrated by Stevie Lewis, and now girls have their turn as he teams up with Isabel Galupo and illustrator Becca Human to create this royal tale of a brave maiden who’s invited to the prince’s ball, but is conflicted about whether to attend when she views the prince more as a brother than as a possible love interest. On the advice of her mother, the maiden attends, and finds that indeed there is love to be found after all…just not with the prince. (The icing on the royal wedding cake? The king and queen smile upon the love match as well.)
The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets, by Gayle E. Pitman
This non-fiction title with a foreword by Fred Sargeant celebrates the 50th anniversary of the protest that launched the LGBTQ+ movement by providing a history of Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, the notable activists, and what exactly happened during those fateful demonstrations in June, 1969. Full of photographs and images of relevant objects and documents and organized by this memorabilia in chapters of “Before the Riots,” “The Riots,” “Liberation,” and “The Aftermath,” this is a neat way to present an important and complicated subject to the Middle Grade set.
When Aidan Became a Brother, by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita
Once upon a time there was a child everyone thought was a girl, until that child was old enough to reveal that they had all made a mistake. Now that Aidan’s settling into his real identity, when his mother announces that she’s expecting, he knows that he has to help to make sure that his future sibling doesn’t go through the same thing. Together with his parents, they pick a gender neutral name, design a gender neutral nursery, and get ready to welcome the baby into their family, all while Aidan sharpens his big brother skills to be the best that he can be! This warmhearted picture book isn’t just a must read for young children still discovering themselves, but for the adults that influence the world in which they live.
Redwood and Ponytail, by K.A. Holt (October 1)
Tam is a jock, Kate is a cheerleader, and each is sure that the other is a perfect stereotype who isn’t worth getting to know. But when they repeatedly bump into each other, they aren’t given a choice, and they’re forced to see that each is far more than they’d previously thought. This novel in verse is about two girls falling for each other while figuring out who they are and who they want to be, a simple love story made complicated by the fact that they’re both girls and the world isn’t simple when it comes to that at all.
The Best At It, by Maulik Pancholy (October 8)
This warm, quirky, and quietly groundbreaking debut—the first in my knowledge base to both star and be authored by a gay guy of color—bursts with the personality of Rahul, a boy who’s great at being a son and grandson, a best friend, and…well, he’d really like to figure out what else. Rahul struggles to try his way through new things to figure out what he might be the best at, hoping to find a kind of stardom to bring better attention than that of the class bully, not to mention a distraction from the boy he really needs to stop staring at. But while he takes a few hits, Rahul finds there’s plenty of truth to be found about who he is, and no one’s better at being him.
Hazel’s Theory of Evolution, by Lisa Jenn Bigelow (October 29)
Speaking of breaking boundaries, the author of Drum Roll, Please is back with the first Middle Grade (that I know of, at least!) to feature a main character on the ace spectrum. Hazel’s also got two moms, one of whom is pregnant again following two miscarriages. With so much already up in the air as she enters a new school and worries about being unable to make friends, the idea of one more unknown feels like too much for Hazel to handle. Though she spends most of her time with animals and books, Hazel knows neither one is going to hold the answers she needs, but spending a little more time exploring herself and her scary new world just might.
What books are you excited about for Pride Month?