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23 Highly Recommended LGBT Books for Teens and Tweens

In honor of recognizing the impact that LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual) individuals have on our culture and history, we asked educators, tweens, teens, and parents to recommend their favorite books celebrating the LGBTQIA+ experience. Here’s what they shared with us.

FANTASTIC FICTION

In the mood for something unique? Try these fresh takes on sci-fi and historical fiction.

Adaptation

By Malinda Lo

Ages 15+

Set in the near future, Adaptation pays homage to X-files storytelling and features a queer/questioning teenage girl searching for truth amid a vast global conspiracy.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316197984

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages

By Saundra Mitchell, Malinda Lo, Robin Talley

Ages 13+

This diverse historical fiction anthology contains stories by seventeen young adult authors who self-identify across the queer spectrum. Stories range from fairytale retellings to romance on rollerskates, traversing culture, time, and identity.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335146816

Missing school drama during summer break? These books have plenty.

Anger Is a Gift

By Mark Oshiro

Ages 14+

In his sophomore year of high school, Moss finds himself and his classmates subjected to new rules, random locker searches, intimidation, and the police officers stationed in school hallways. When the students decide to organize and push back against the administration, tragedy strikes and Moss must decide whether to be immobilized by his fear and hate or use his anger to bring positive change.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250167033

Flamer

By Mike Curato

Ages 14+

It’s the summer between middle school and high school, and Aiden Navarro is away at camp. Everyone’s going through changes—but for Aiden, the stakes feel higher. As he navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias, he finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250756145

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

By Casey McQuiston

Ages 13+

Chloe Green has spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical school administration. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler. A month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250244451

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

By Becky Albertalli

Ages 14+

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers saving his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062348685

You Should See Me in a Crown

By Leah Johnson

Ages 12+

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, and too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay—Liz has a plan to get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and then become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down… until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781338503296

Feel like cheering for LGBTQIA+ middle schoolers discovering themselves? These books deserve a whole cheerleading squad.

A High Five for Glenn Burke

By Phil Bildner

Ages 10+

A heartfelt and relatable novel weaving the history of Glenn Burke—the first professional baseball player to come out as gay—into the story of a middle-school kid learning to be himself.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250763280

The Best at It

By Maulik Pancholy

Ages 8+

Twelve-year-old Rahul Kapoor, an Indian-American boy growing up in small-town Indiana, struggles to come to terms with his identity. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his grandfather gives him advice: find one thing you’re really good at and become the BEST at it.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062960511

Zenobia July

By Lisa Bunker

Ages 10+

The critically acclaimed author of Felix Yz crafts a bold and heartfelt story about a trans girl solving a cyber mystery and coming into her own.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780451479402

REAL LIFE

In the mood for inspiring stories of LGBTQIA+ shining stars?

All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto

By George M Johnson

Ages 14+

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780374312718

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen

By Jazz Jennings

Ages 12+

Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780399554674

Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger

By Kelly Cogswell

Ages 14+

Eating Fire is a witty and urgent coming-of-age memoir spanning two decades, from the Culture War of the early 1990s to the War on Terror. Cogswell’s story is an engaging blend of picaresque adventure, a how-to activist handbook, and a rigorous inquiry into questions of identity, resistance, and citizenship.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780816691166

When We Rise: My Life in the Movement

By Cleve Jones

Ages 14+
A vibrant memoir from Cleve Jones, a hero to the LQBTQIA community, telling the story of a full and transformative American life.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316315418

Want to learn more about the history of gay rights? These books tell authentic stories.

Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the Aids Crisis

By Kevin J. Mumford

Ages 15+

Traces the major movements of the times—from civil rights to black power to gay liberation to AIDS activism—and how they shaped the history of black gay men from the 1950s to the 1990s.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781469652214

Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets

By Gayle E Pitman

Ages 10+

Recounts the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ+) community in reaction to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781419737206

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives

By Dashka Slater

Ages 12+

This riveting nonfiction book for teens about race, class, gender, crime, and punishment, tells the true story of an agender teen who was set on fire by another teen while riding a bus in Oakland, California.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780374303235

The Stonewall Reader

By New York Public Library, Jason Baumann, Edmund White

Ages 15+

This anthology chronicles the tumultuous fight for LGBTQ rights in the 1960s and the activists who spearheaded The Stonewall uprising, considered the most significant event in the gay liberation movement, and the catalyst for the modern fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in the United States.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780143133513

Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism

By Uriel Quesada, Letitia Gomez, and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz.

Ages 14+

Queer Brown Voices is the first book published documenting the efforts of LGBT Latina/o activists.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781477307304

Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World

By Sarah Prager

Ages 13+

Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062474322

What Is the AIDS Crisis? (What Was)

By Nico Medina, Tim Foley

Ages 8+

In this addition to the New York Times bestselling series, readers learn how incredible activists made the public aware of AIDS and spurred medical breakthroughs.

https://www.fbmarketplace.org/what-is-the-aids-crisis

Need LGBTQIA+ encouragement from those who know what you’re going through? This book is for you.

It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living

By Dan Savage, Terry Miller

Ages 14+

A collection of essays from celebrities, everyday people, and teens who posted videos of encouragement.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780452297616

Ready to be mesmerized? The pictures in this book will do the trick.

Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus

By Rachelle Lee Smith, Candace Gingrich, Graeme Taylor

Ages 12+

In this photographic essay, a diverse group of queer young people, ages fourteen to twenty-four, explore a wide spectrum of their unique experiences.

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781629630410

Kamyra Harding

Kamyra Harding is a reading addict and mistake maker. She uses humor and belly button gazing to share her insight into marriage, children and trying hard to get it all right. You can find her on social media as the Try Hard Mommy

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