Rainbow Revolutionaries: Fifty LGBTQ+ People Who Made History

Rainbow Revolutionaries: Fifty LGBTQ+ People Who Made History


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One of Time Out's “LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month,” this groundbreaking, pop-culture-infused illustrated biography collection takes readers on an eye-opening journey through the lives of fifty influential queer figures who have made a mark on every century of human existence.

Rainbow Revolutionaries brings to life the vibrant histories of fifty pioneering LGBTQ+ people from around the world. Through Sarah Prager’s (Queer, There, and Everywhere) short, engaging bios, and Sarah Papworth’s bold, dynamic art, readers can delve into the lives of Wen of Han, a Chinese emperor who loved his boyfriend as much as his people, Martine Rothblatt, a trans woman who’s helping engineer the robots of tomorrow, and so many more!

This book is a celebration of the many ways these heroes have made a difference and will inspire young readers to make a difference, too. Featuring an introduction, map, timeline, and glossary, this must-have biography collection is the perfect read during Pride month and all year round.

Biographies include:

Adam Rippon, Alan L. Hart, Alan Turing, Albert Cashier, Alberto Santos-Dumont, Alexander the Great, Al-Hakam II, Alvin Ailey, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Banneker, Billie Jean King, Chevalière d'Éon, Christina of Sweden, Christine Jorgensen, Cleve Jones, Ellen DeGeneres, Francisco Manicongo, Frida Kahlo, Frieda Belinfante, Georgina Beyer, Gilbert Baker, Glenn Burke, Greta Garbo, Harvey Milk, James Baldwin, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, José Sarria, Josephine Baker, Juana Inés de la Cruz, Julie d'Aubigny, Lili Elbe, Ma Rainey, Magnus Hirschfeld, Manvendra Singh Gohil, Marsha P. Johnson, Martine Rothblatt, Maryam Khatoon Molkara, Natalie Clifford Barney, Navtej Johar, Nzinga, Pauli Murray, Renée Richards, Rudolf Nureyev, Sally Ride, Simon Nkoli, Stormé DeLarverie, Sylvia Rivera, Tshepo Ricki Kgositau, Wen of Han, We’wha

*A Junior Library Guild Selection*

Editorial Reviews

Book Riot

Filled with exciting, inspiring and heartbreaking stories, this is a wonderful reminder of  LGBTQ+ peoples’ contributions to history. 

Boston Globe

"[A] lively look for middle grade readers at queer figures, present and past, who made an impact on the world...each accompanied by a dynamic portrait illustration by artist Sarah Papworth."

San Francisco Chronicle

Conquerors and conductors, artists and athletes, dancers and doctors, techies and showbiz types — together they emerge from the shadows of history into present light.


This book is phenomenal!


[W]ill have the effect of inspiring young readers. For middle-grade readers, it will likely be a compelling volume.

San Francisco Chronicle

Conquerors and conductors, artists and athletes, dancers and doctors, techies and showbiz types — together they emerge from the shadows of history into present light.

School Library Journal


Gr 3–7—This middle grade resource profiles 50 LGBTQ+ people. Each double-page spread contains a full-page illustration of the person rendered in a folk art style. The single page of text offers background information detailing the person's life, such as why they are included in the book as well as their personal accomplishments. The text is easy to understand, making it accessible to a wide range of readers. A variety of individuals are represented and span cultures, time periods, and occupations. Historical and modern figures are included. There are sports heroes (Billie Jean King), mathematicians (Benjamin Banneker), dancers, artists, political figures (Alexander the Great and Georgina Beyer), soldiers, and inventors. Readers will enjoy the ease of dropping in and reading a little bit here and there, but some middle schoolers may be put off by the impression that it is a picture book. VERDICT A browsable guide for middle school readers looking to get an overview of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout history.—Debbie Tanner, S D Spady Montessori Elem., FL

Kirkus Reviews

This colorful compendium covers 50 boundary-breaking LGBTQ+ figures from across history and around the globe.

Starting at A with Adam Rippon, each hero receives a straightforward one-page biography that includes an account of how they changed the world, broke a barrier, or fought for LGBTQ+ rights and is accompanied by vivid, blocky illustrations. This list of potential role models includes big names like Harvey Milk as well as some that may be unfamiliar to many Americans, like Simon Nkoli. The selection showcases a diversity of races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities, with some gaps; for example, the glossary explicitly includes intersex people, yet none are identified as such within the text of their biography, and the only East Asian included is from the second century B.C.E. Stylistically, many of the sentences are wordy and sometimes awkward, including unclear or unusual constructions and tone shifts. Add a handful of cringeworthy word choices, such as “between her legs” and an instance of “female” used as a noun, and readers may find themselves shaking their heads. Nevertheless, this does not diminish the book’s fundamental value as a resource for young people. Prager presents each figure with enthusiasm and provides lots of interesting details that allow readers a glimpse into that person’s world, be it 1970s San Francisco or 1600s Mexico.

An exciting if uneven volume that offers much to inquisitive kids seeking LGBTQ+ information. (timeline, LGBTQ+ flags and symbols, selected bibliography) (Collective biography. 8-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062947758
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/26/2020
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 182,598
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews