of you have asked: what are some good books in addition to my own about gay teens?
is a list of some of the best gay teen novels, poetry anthologies, and nonfiction
books with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters and themes.
Bait, Alex Sanchez,
Simon & Schuster.
Diego keeps getting into trouble because of his explosive temper until
he finally finds a probation officer who helps him get to the root of
his anger so that he can stop running from his past. Winner, 2009
Florida Book Award and 2010 Tomas Rivera Mexican-American Children's
Boyfriends with Girlfriends, Alex Sanchez.
After meeting online, Sergio and Lance make a date to get together in person,
bringing along their respective best friends, Kimiko and Allie. The first
meeting is sweetly awkward, and while the boys hit it off all right, there’s a
problem. Sergio is bisexual, and Lance isn’t sure he can handle that or whether
he even believes it is possible to be attracted to both boys and girls.
Actually, there are two problems. Kimiko is a lesbian and crushes on Allie who,
though she has a devoted boyfriend, is questioning and finds herself
increasingly attracted to her new friend. How will these four engaging kids
resolve the mixed messages their hearts are sending to their brains?
Bullied, Jeff Erno.
Closeted Bryan wonders why Christian Michaelson doesn't just try to blend in if
he hates being bullied so much. Star athlete David isn't a homophobe—after all,
he's not afraid of anything. Jonathan, a Christian fundamentalist, must weigh
the Bible against peer pressure and what he knows is right when he discovers his
childhood friend is gay. Bully victim Chase Devereaux finds an unexpected ally
in a brave fellow student.
Down to the Bone, Mayra Lazara Dole, HarperTeen. "When
a nun at her Catholic school confiscates and reads aloud in class a note
to Laura Amores from another girl, declaring her love, the teen is
kicked out of her school and her home. Soon after, Laura's devoted
girlfriend yields to family pressure and accepts a marriage proposal.
Abandoned, heartbroken, and confused, Laura takes refuge with another
friend and struggles to find a home and identity in both the straight
and the gay world. Her story isn't uncommon in the queer-teen-lit canon,
but Dole's infusion of lively, spicy Cuban-American culture set against
a hot Miami setting makes it rise above other titles in the genre."
(School Library Journal)
Dumb Jock, Jeff Erno.
Afforded the opportunity to assist the town's high school football hero Brett
Willson, Jeff embarks upon the challenge of educating the world's dumbest jock.
The ensuing relationship that develops between the two young men proves far more
challenging, however, than any tutoring session. Their budding friendship helps
bring Jeff out of his shell and reveals a much deeper side of the dumb jock.
Hit the Road, Manny: A Manny Files Novel, Christian Burch,
Simon and Schuster (sequel to The Manny Files)
When Dad parks a rented RV in the Dalinger's driveway, Keats piles in
with the rest of his family -- and the Manny, of course -- bound for the
open road. From the big skies of farm country to the bright lights of
Las Vegas, this, in typical Manny fabulousness, is an all-American
adventure filled with more Glamour-dos than Glamour-don'ts. But a
stopover at the manny's childhood home is making the Manny feel not so
fabulous. Why can't his parents ever accept him for who he is? And
Keats, at first, sees their point. Why does the manny always have to be
How They Met & Other Stories, David Levithan, Knopf
18 stories, all about love, and about all kinds of love. From the aching
for the one you pine for, to standing up and speaking up for the one you
love, to pure joy and happiness, these love stories run the gamut of
that emotion that at some point has turned every one of us inside out
and upside down. What is love? With this original story collection David
Levithan proves that love is a many splendored thing, a varied,
complicated, addictive, wonderful thing.
I am J, Cris Beam.
Growing up, J (born as Jennifer) always thought of himself as a boy stuck in the
body of a girl.
My Invented Life,
Lauren Bjorkman, Henry Holt
With Roz and Eva everything becomes a contest—who can snag the best role
in the school play, have the cutest boyfriend, pull off the craziest
prank. Still, they’re as close as sisters can be. Until Eva deletes Roz
from her life like so much junk e-mail for no reason that Roz
understands. She has a suspicion about Eva. In turn, Eva taunts Roz with
a dare, which leads to an act of total insanity in Lauren Bjorkman’s
hilarious debut novel.
Pat Schmetz, Carolrhoda Books
Back in grade school, Maxie and Rick were best friends. Rick would design crazy
inventions, and Maxie, the artistic one, would draw them. Then something
terrible happened to Rick, and he vanished from her school and her life. Years
later, he shows up at Maxie's high school. In some ways he's the same person she
once knew. But in other ways - frightening ones - he's very, very different.
Nothing Pink, Mark Hardy, (Front Street Books).
A tender story of first love set in
late-1970s Virginia. Short
yet forceful, moving and heartwarming.
Love & Lies: Marisol's Story, Ellen Wittlinger, Simon and
In this long-anticipated companion novel to the Printz Honor Book Hard
Love, which critics called "A bittersweet tale of self-expression and
the struggle to achieve self-love," Ellen Wittlinger offers a novel just
as emotionally honest and deeply felt.
Out of the Pocket, Bill Konigsberg, Dutton
Star quarterback Bobby Framingham, one of the most talented high school football
players in California, knows he’s different from his teammates. They’re like
brothers, but they don’t know one essential thing: Bobby is gay. Can he still be
one of the guys and be honest about who he is? When he’s outed against his will
by a student reporter, Bobby must find a way to earn back his teammates’ trust
and accept that his path to success might be more public, and more difficult,
than he’d hoped. An affecting novel about identity that also delivers great
Sprout, Dale Peck.
Sprout Bradford has a secret. It’s not what you think—he’ll tell you he’s gay.
He’ll tell you about his dad’s drinking and his mother’s death. The green
fingerprints everywhere tell you when he last dyed his hair. But neither the
reader nor Sprout are prepared for what happens when Sprout suddenly finds he’s
had a more profound effect on the lives around him than he ever thought
The Vast Fields of Ordinary, Nick Burd.
The story of Dade, a gay Midwestern teenager, whose journey of
self-acceptance takes place during the summer before his first year of
college. Dade grapples with coming out, his parents impending divorce,
and his nascent sexual relationships.
What They Always Tell Us, Martin Wilson, Random House
James and Alex have barely anything in common anymore—least of all their
experiences in high school, where James is a popular senior and Alex is suddenly
an outcast. But at home, there is Henry, the precocious 10-year-old across the
street, who eagerly befriends them both. And when Alex takes up running, there
is James’s friend Nathen, who unites the brothers in moving and unexpected ways.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green & David Levithan.
Will Grayson's best friend since fifth grade, nicknamed Tiny Cooper, is bigger
than life in terms of his physical stature and his personality—the "world's
largest person who is really, really gay." Tiny, while seeking the boy of his
dreams, has been through the trauma of myriad short-lived romantic relationships
and Will has supported him each time his heart is broken. Now, Tiny decides it's
Below is a bibliography, compiled with the help of James Howe, author of
The Misfits and Totally Joe. Thanks, Jim!
FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Positively Not by David LaRochelle (Scholastic, 2005)
Steve is a 16 year old with two things on his mind: sex and getting his driving
license. However, he's not thinking about girls when he's thinking about sex.
Could he be gay?
Alt Ed by Catherine Atkins (Penguin Putnam Books, 2003)
Participating in a special after-school counseling class with other troubled
students, including a sensitive gay classmate, helps Susan, an overweight tenth
grader, develop a better sense of herself.
I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence,
edited by Marion Dane Bauer (Harper)
collection of short stories written by 16 respected young adult authors, this
is an essential book to put in the hands of any teenager dealing with his or her
own sexuality or having a gay parent or friend. The stories cover the gamut of
takes on gayness. The title story by Bruce Coville tells of a gay
teenage boy who receives a gift from Melvin, his fairy godfather:
For the boys eyes only, Melvin turns every gay person blue for a day so
that the boy can see hes not alone. What the boy discovers is that there
are an amazing variety of shades of blue.
Arizona Kid, by Ron Koertege
straight teenage boy spends the summer living with his gay uncle in Arizona while
working at a horse ranch and experiencing his first love relationship. The uncles
story is a backdrop to the boys story, but its very well handled,
and the uncle is extremely likeable. At times, the messages about being gay, while
strongly positive, are a little didactic. Koertge is an interesting writer who
uses humor effectively.
Ash by Malinda Lo (Little, Brown and Company, 2009)
A new telling of the Cinderella story, Ash is left with her wicked stepmother
and absorbed in grief over her father’s death. The king’s huntress takes the
place of prince charming.
Shorts, by Chris Crutcher (Dell)
short story collection, including two wonderful stories with gay themes and characters:
A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune, which tells the story
of a fat teenage boy, the brunt of jokes in school, whose divorced parents are
remarried his father to a man and his mother to a woman; and, In
the Time I Get, the story of a high school athlete who must confront his
own bigotry toward a gay man who is dying of AIDS. Many of Crutchers novels
and stories are sports-related, and are incredibly deep and insightful about the
lives of teens. A must-read novel is Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes.
by Francesca Lia Block (Harper)
McDonald, a 16-year-old boy living in Los Angeles, comes to terms with being gay
after he receives surreal storytelling visitations. Like most of Blocks
works, this book combines gritty realism with fairy-tale elements; the ultimate
messages are self-acceptance and finding love and family in your own way and in
your own time. Other books in this series (overlapping characters) are Weetzie
Bat, Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, and Missing Angel Juan. All five
books have been published in one trade paperback volume called Dangerous Angels.
A collection of short stories by Block, Girl Goddess #9, has a wonderful story
about a teenage boy telling his girlfriend he is gay called Winnie and Cubby,
originally published in Am I Blue? as Winnie and Tommy. All of this
authors books are highly recommended.
Don't Shatter: Poets on the Beginning of Desire
by T. Cole Rachel
(Editor), Rita D. Costello (Editor) (Soft Skull)
This anthology navigates
the rocky waters of teenage sexuality and confusion with insight, clarity, and
understanding. The poems were written by adults who keenly remember the turmoil
and excitement of their own adolescent sexual explorations but now have the perspective
and sense of self that come with growing up.
The Bermudez Triangle, by Maureen Johnson (Razorbill)
Mel, Avery, and Nina--the Bermudez
Triangle--have been inseparable girlfriends since childhood. Then, the summer
before senior year, while Nina is at Stanford for a leadership institute, Mel
and Avery realize that their feelings for each other may be more than
friendship. Johnson deftly portrays Mel's struggle to come to grips with her
homosexuality, Avery's confusion and uncertainty about hers, and Nina's hurt and
frustration at being left out and losing the comfort of old routines.
Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters (Little Brown & Co., 2006)
Nick’s life spins into turmoil when his mother and her wife announce that they
Meets Boy by David
Levithan (Alfred A. Knopf)
A hilarious and delightful story about one
teenager's sophomore year in a kind of utopia, where tolerance reigns and shame
is banished. The world in which Paul lives is utterly devoid of homophobia. It's
Paul's love life that's complicated.
Strong Love by
Lutz Van Dijk (Henry Holt)
and heartbreaking, this novel is based on the true story of a love affair between
a 16-year-old Polish boy whose brother is active in the resistance and a Nazi
Us From Evie, by M.E. Kerr (Harper)
Parr Burrman and his family face some difficult times when word spreads through
their rural Missouri town that his older sister is a lesbian, and she leaves the
family farm to live with the daughter of the towns banker. 18-year-old Evie
Burrman is one of the most inspiring lesbian characters in young adult fiction.
Eagle Kite, by Paula Fox (Orchard)
father of 13-year-old Liam Cormac has AIDS, and Liams family cannot talk
about it until Liam reveals a secret he has tried to deny ever since he saw his
father embracing another man at the beach. The Eagle Kite has been praised for
its perceptive, transcendent prose, honest portrayal of tangled emotional issues,
and palpable dramatic tension. Fox is an outstanding writer for children and young
adults. This is the only book of hers that deals with gay-related issues.
Theresa Nelson (Orchard)
Slim McGranahan watches over her father, a disarmingly charismatic man, as his
struggles with AIDS reaches its climax. Slim lives with her father, Mack, and
Macks devoted companion and lover, Larry. One of the books most important
contributions to literature is the way it portrays the love and tenderness among
the three members of the McGranahan household.
Empress of the World, by Sara Ryan (Puffin)
Nicola Lancaster is spending eight weeks at
the Siegel Institute Summer Program for Gifted Youth, a hothouse of smart,
articulate, intense teenagers. She soon falls in with Katrina, Isaac, Kevin . .
. and Battle, a beautiful blonde dancer, and everything Nic isn't. The two
become friends-and then, startlingly, more than friends. What do you do when you
think you're attracted to guys, and then you meet a girl who steals your heart?
Fade to Black by Alex Flinn (HarperCollins, 2005)
Alex Crusan faces harassment and prejudice when it is discovered that he is
the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, by Jacqueline Woodson (Scholastic)
13-year-old Melanin Sun’s comfortable, quiet life
when his mother reveals she has fallen in love with a woman. Adding even greater
dimension to this story is the fact that Melanin and his mother are black, while
the woman his mother has fallen in love with is white. Wonderfully written, as
are all of Woodson’s books. While only a few of the author’s books deal with gay
or lesbian characters, almost all deal with issues of race.
Geography Club, by
Brent Hartinger (Harper)
The novel is a fastpaced, funny, and trenchant portrait of contemporary teenagers
who may not learn any actual geography in their latest school club, but who learn
plenty about the treacherous social terrain of a typical American high school
and the even more dangerous landscape of the human heart. Also, check out the
sequels, The Order of the Poison Oak, and Split Screen.
Getting It, by Alex
Sanchez (Simon & Schuster)
It's embarrassing enough that Carlos Amoroso is fifteen and the only
virgin among his friends, but he's never even really kissed a girl. The object
of Carlos's desire, Roxy Rodriguez, is popular and hot--and has no idea that
Carlos is alive. But watching a TV show one night gives Carlos an idea: What if
he got a makeover from Sal, the guy at school everyone thinks is gay? Asking Sal
to do him a favor is harder than it seems, because Carlos is worried that if any
of his friends see him with Sal, they'll think that he's gay too.
The God Box, by Alex
Sanchez (Simon & Schuster)
High-school senior Paul has dated Angie since middle school, and they're
good together: they have a lot of the same interests, like singing in their
church choir, and being active in Bible club. But when a new boy, Manuel,
transfers to their school, Paul has to rethink his life. Manuel is the first
openly gay teen anyone in their small town has ever met, and yet he says he's
also a committed Christian. Talking to Manuel makes Paul reconsider thoughts he
has kept hidden, and listening to Manuel's interpretation of Biblical passages
on homosexuality causes Paul to re-evaluate everything he believed. Manuel's
outspokenness triggers dramatic consequences at school, culminating in a
terrifying situation that leads Paul to take a stand.
Queen, by Tea Benduhn (Simon & Schuster)
is a carefully constructed balance between Aurin and her friends Kenney and Fred.
But when Neila joins their circle, Aurin realizes that she and Neila are becoming
more than friends. Tea Benduhn looks at a teen making decisions about her future
while trying not to lose her past.
Love, by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster)
very hip, very contemporary novel set in the world of homemade zines (magazines)
finds 16-year-old John Gio Galardi, Jr., falling in love with the
amazing Marisol Guzman, a self-proclaimed Puerto Rican Cuban Yankee Lesbian. The
two form an unlikely friendship based on zines, alienation, and dreams of escape.
John questions his own sexuality as he struggles with his unrequited love for
Marisol, who has no doubts at all about who she is. Hard Love is an absorbing
book about loss, love, trust, family, transformation, and, interestingly, authorship.
I Lied, by M.E. Kerr (Harper)
in the Hamptons on the estate of a famous rock star, 17-year-old Lang tries to
decide how to tell his longtime friends that he is gay, while struggling with
an unexpected infatuation with a girl from France.
Hero, by Perry Moore (Hyperion)
A gay teen hero in a high-concept fantasy marks a significant expansion
of GLBTQ literature into genres that reflect teens' diverse reading
interests; given the mainstream popularity of comics-inspired tales, the
average, ordinary, gay teen superhero who comes out and saves the world
will raise cheers from within the GLBTQ community and beyond. (from
House You Pass on the Way, by Jacqueline Woodson (Delacorte Press)
Staggerlee, the daughter of a racially mixed marriage, spends a summer with her
cousin Trout (a girl), she finds herself attracted to Trout and catches a glimpse
of her possible future self. This story of questioning ones sexual identity
is sensitively told and extremely moving.
If You Believe in Mermaids... Don't Tell by A.A. Philips
A deft portrayal of a pre-teen boy trying to keep secret his love of dolls,
mermaids, and dressing in girl's clothes because of his father's stern
wish for him to be "manly." Check out: http://www.believeinmermaids.net
by A.M. Homes (Random House/Vintage)
Jacks confused feelings for his father, who left him and his mother four
years earlier, are further complicated when he finds that his father is gay. Critics
have described the protagonist as a doggedly funny, endearing, and attractive
human being. Each of the gay characters is portrayed as an individual, and Jacks
father is a multidimensional person who is trying to do his best to be a good
You a Secret, by Julie
Anne Peters (Little Brown)
"Not just a gay love story, this book
transcends barriers, allowing readers of all persuasions to revel in its universal
truths about self-knowledge, acceptance, pride, and the hardships of wrestling
with the perceptions and comfort of others... - Voice of Youth Advocates
- Also, check out her novel about a transgender teen, Luna, a National
Book Award finalist!
Kissing Kate, by Lauren Myracle (Dutton)
Lissa thought that she and Kate, her beautiful and charismatic best friend, would
always be close. Then one summer night Kate kissed Lissa-and Lissa kissed her
back. With with a keen sense of humor, a flaky new friend, and a book on lucid
dreams, Lissa finds the bravery to examine her own desires and discovers that
falling in love can be one way of finding your footing.
Kites, by M.E. Kerr (Harper)
Kites is the first young adult novel about AIDS, written in 1985 before there
was much information available about the disease. Interestingly, it is still one
of the best books available. 17-year-old Erick Rudd tells the story of how his
family reacts when they find out about his older brother Petes homosexuality
and debilitating illness at the same time.
and Sex, Ten Stories of Truth,
edited by Michael Cart (Simon & Schuster)
groundbreaking volume in which some of the finest writers for adults and teens
have contributed original stories on the various aspects of love and sexuality.
Three of the stories are gay-related.
Man Without a Face, by Isabelle Holland (Harper)
fatherless 14-year-old boy develops an unusual relationship with the man living
near his summer home who helps him prepare his entrance exams to boarding school.
This is a wrenching story, beautifully written. The man, who is badly scarred,
reveals a secret to the boy a secret that was completely disregarded in
the otherwise excellent movie adaptation starring Mel Gibson.
Misfits, by James Howe (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster)
in the seventh grade, this novel is for older elementary as well as middle school
and early high school age readers. Among the four misfits of the title is Joe
Bunch, who at twelve knows hes gay and figures its up to the rest
of the world to deal. Having always been somewhat outrageous, hes used to
being called faggot and fairy. What he isnt used
to is his growing desire to have a boyfriend at a time when others around him
are beginning to date. With the three other misfits, Joe forms a political
party to end name-calling in his school.
Fathers Scar, by Michael Cart (Simon & Schuster)
his freshman year of college, as he enters into his first relationship as a gay
man, Andy Logan reflects on his early years with an abusive, alcoholic father,
an ineffectual mother, and a cruel grandmother in a bigoted community in the 1960s.
The important theme of healing from unforgivable humiliation and pain is handled
beautifully. A heartrending book.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (MTV/Pocket
Charlie talks about his life in a series of letters to an unnamed recipient. An
outcast, Charlie finds refuge in a group of older teens who take him under their
wing. Included in the group is a boy who is gay and having his first love relationship
with a closeted fellow student. Charlies story is wonderfully told and incredibly
compelling. This book is a crossover book for the adult and young
the Fringe, edited by Donald R. Gallo (Dial)
on the Roof Naked by Francess Lantz, the story of a gender-different teenage
girl, is a standout in this excellent collection by eleven critically acclaimed
young adult writers dealing with the outsider experience.
of the Shadows, by Sue Hines (Avon)
this first novel by Australian author Sue Hines, two teenagers struggle to maintain
their friendship while hiding secrets they fear will destroy their connection.
Rowanna Preston, whose mother was recently killed by a drunken driver, is living
with Deb, her mothers lover. Jodie Waters, a new student, is not only in
the closet about her sexual identity but also hiding her attraction to Ro. A fascinating
book in that one of its main characters must come to terms not only with her feelings
about her mothers sexual identity but her best friends as well.
Parrotfish, by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster)
Angela Katz-McNair has never felt quite right as a girl. Her whole life
is leading up to the day she decides to become Grady, a guy. While
coming out as transgendered feels right to Grady, he isn't prepared for
the reaction he gets from everyone else. His mother is upset, his
younger sister is mortified, and his best friend, Eve, won't acknowledge
him in public. Why can't people just let Grady be himself?
by Kate Walker (Houghton Mifflin)
Peter is a
15-year-old Australian boy, aspiring photographer and avid dirt-bike rider, with
the usual hang-ups about ‘fitting in’, sex, and what he wants to do with his
life. Then he meets David, who is gay. Peter’s never met anyone like him before.
Peter, whose experience with girls is minimal, feels increasingly drawn to the
: Stories about Hate, Ignorance, Revelation, and Transformation, edited
by Daphne Muse (Hyperion)
is an uneven collection of stories and excerpts from longer works, but it contains
two outstanding short stories:
Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune, by Chris Crutcher (See: Athletic
Shorts, above), and X:
A Fabulous Childs Story, by Lois Gould, a fable about a child whose
gender is unknown. The child is simply referred to as X.
Alex Sanchez (Simon and Schuster)
love triangle between three teenage boys, each at a different stage of coming
out. 17-year-old basketball player Jason Carillo has a girlfriend, but he dreams
about guys. When he finally musters enough courage to attend a local meeting for
gay teens, he is shocked to find two of his classmates there the flamboyant
Nelson Nelly Glassman (who everyone at school knows is gay) and quiet,
shy Kyle Meeks, who looks too normal to be gay. This novel is very
contemporary with its references to GSAs, safe sex, and teen support groups. Dealing
frankly with the sex lives (or lack thereof) of its characters, this book will
appeal to kids who want an honest look at what it is to be a gay teen today.
by Alex Sanchez (Simon and Schuster)
Second book of the Rainbow trilogy. As
their high school days draw to a close, three friends move toward one of life's
most defining crossroads, each will be compelled to choose his own direction --
and prepare for the consequences.
by Alex Sanchez (Simon and Schuster)
Conclusion of the Rainbow trilogy. During an eye-opening post-graduation summer
road trip, Jason, Kyle, and Nelson, each also embarks on a personal journey
across a landscape of love, sexuality, homophobia, and above all, friendship.
by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster)
Penney, an oddball teen who works at the town dump, befriends Ken Baker when he
and his parents first move to Cape Cod. While none of the adolescent characters
are gay, there are gay secondary adult characters.
Secret Edge by Robin
In many ways, Jason Peele is like any other teenager.
He hits the books, hangs with his friends, flirts with girls, and omits the full
truth of his life from his Aunt Audrey and Uncle Steve, who've raised him since
his parents died. But there's one way that Jason is very different: when he dreams
at night, it isn't about girls; it's about David Bowie. At sixteen years old,
Jason is just beginning to understand that he might be gay.
So Hard to Say,
Sanchez (Simon and Schuster)
Frederick is the shy new boy and Xio is the bubbly chica who lends him a pen on
the first day of class. They become fast friends-but when Xio decides she wants
to be more than friends, Frederick isn't so sure. He loves hanging out with Xio
and her crew, but he doesn't like her that way.
Thinking Straight by Robin
Taylor Adams is shipped off to
Straight to God, an institution devoted to “deprogramming” troubled
teenagers of their vices—whether those vices are drugs, violence, or, in
Taylor’s case, other boys. Every movement is monitored, privacy is
impossible, and no one is quite who they first appear to be. Here,
Taylor will learn more than he ever dreamed about love, courage,
rebellion, and betrayal. But the most surprising lessons will be the
truths he uncovers about himself.
Joe by James Howe (Simon & Schuster)
As a school assignment, a
thirteen-year-old boy writes an alphabiography--life from A to Z--and explores
issues of friendship, family, school, and the challenges of being a gay teenager.
(An awesome sequel to James Howe's The Misfits.)
Affections, by George Shannon (Alyson)
his grandmothers death, 18-year-old Willie finds a box of old letters that
explain many family secrets including the truth about the father, presumed
dead, he has never known. Publishers Weekly said, Shannon explores how two
young men of different generations struggle to find their identities.
Dreams, by Jane Breskin Zalben (Simon & Schuster)
Glass, a sixth-grader, deals with his feelings of being different because of his
musical talent, while contending with the revelation that his school principal
and mentor, Mr. Carr, has AIDS. As some in the community turn against the much-loved
principal, Jason finds his own strength and learns to hold on to unfinished
dreams. A beautifully written book appropriate to younger readers as well as older
teens. (The publisher has it aged 10 and up.)
in a Name, by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster)
ten interlocking stories, the author addresses the rarely discussed issues of
class and identity that inform so much of teenage life. As the citizens of Scrub
Harbor struggle with whether or not to change the name of their town, the high
schoolers whose stories make up Whats in a Name struggle with their own
lives and the ways in which they see themselves and are seen. In two of the stories,
ONeill and his older football-playing brother Quincy must deal with ONeills
decision to out himself in a poem published in the school newspaper.
Some titles may be out of print.)
It Doesnt Kill You, by Margaret Bechard (Viking)
from a Hot Pink Notebook, by Todd D. Brown (Pocket Books)
on my Grave, by Aidan Chambers (Harper)
Brother Has AIDS, by Deborah Davis (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster)
by Stacey Donovan (Dutton/Puffin)
Heroes Die, by
Penny Raife Durant (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster)
by Jane Futcher (Alyson)
Lines, by Jack Gantos (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
on My Mind, by Nancy Garden (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
Moon Rising, by Nancy Garden (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
Secret, by Nancy Garden (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
in the Morning, by Nancy Garden (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
Year They Burned the Books, by Nancy Garden (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
Drowning of Stephan Jones, by Bette Green (Bantam)
Boxes, by A.M. Jenkins (Dell Laurel-Leaf)
Coyote, by Liza Ketchum (Simon & Schuster)
Days in August, by Liza Ketchum Murrow (Avon)
Rules, by Marilyn Reynolds (Morning Glory Press)
of the World, by Sara Ryan (Viking)
Hard to Hear You, by Sandra Scoppettone (Alyson)
Blue Lawn, by William Taylor (Alyson)
by William Taylor (Alyson)
Believer, by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Different : Lambda Youths Speak Out,
by Larry Dane Brimner (Watts)
Larry Dan Brimner explores teenage homosexuality by interviewing gay, lesbian,
and bisexual youths.
A New Generation of Writing about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning,
and Other Identities
Levithan (Editor), Billy Merrell (Editor) (Random House)
essays, and stories by young adults in their teens and early 20s. The book includes
a variety of writers--gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transitioning, and questioning--on
a variety of subjects: coming out, family, friendship, religion/faith, first kisses,
break-ups, and many others. This
one of a kind collection will, perhaps, help all readers see themselves and the
world around them in ways they might never have imagined.
The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens
by Kelly Huegel
(Free Spirit Publishing)
A frank, sensitive non-fiction guide written for
teens who are beginning to question their sexual or gender identity, those who
interested in GLBT issues and rights, and those who need guidance, reassurance,
or reminders that they aren't alone.
Us Out : Voices from the Gay and Lesbian Community, by
Roger Sutton (Little, Brown)
with gay and lesbian teenagers and adults, this book provides varied role models
and in the words of the Horn Book review, breaks down stereotypes and gives
human faces to a topic that needs yet greater visibility in young-adult literature.
of the Ordinary : Essays on Growing Up with Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Parents,
edited by Noelle Howey and Ellen Samuels (St. Martins Press)
collection of essays by the grown children of lesbian, gay, and transgender parents.
The essays touch on some of the most important and complicated issues facing them:
dealing with a parents sexuality while developing an identity of ones
own; overcoming homophobia at school and at family or social gatherings; and defining
the modern family.
: Role Models from the Lesbian and Gay Community, by Michael Thomas Ford
vitality and rich diversity of the lesbian and gay community are vividly reflected
in this collection of interviews with eleven out lesbians and gay men. These leaders
from such fields as medicine, the arts, sports, law enforcement, and religion
not only offer inspiration but also speak, again and again, of the rewards of
becoming the person you want to be.
Shared Heart : Portraits and Stories Celebrating Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young
People. Photographs by Adam Mastoon (HarperCollins)
this outstanding collection of photographs and personal narratives, forty young
people share their thoughts and experiences about family, friends, culture, and
coming out. Their writings reflect the soul searching, pain, and transformation
they have undergone. If theres one theme that comes through loud and clear,
its the importance of coming out as a step toward liking oneself and being
free. A great book to put in the hands of any teen struggling with sexual identity
Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by
Cris Beam (Harcourt)
When Chris Beam first moved to LA, she thought she might
put in a few hours volunteering at a school for gay and transgender kids while
she got herself settled. Instead, she found herself drawn deeply into the pained
and powerful group of trans girls she discovered. Beam's astute reporting, sensitive
writing, and passionate engagement with her characters place Transparent among
the very best narrative nonfiction.
if Someone I Know Is Gay? Answers to Questions about Gay and Lesbian People, by
Eric Marcus (Price Stern Sloan)
Eric Marcus (Is It a Choice?) candidly answers real questions from real teenagers
about everything from sex to religion. He pushes aside all the myths and misinformation
to help kids understand what being gay is really all about. If Am I Blue? is the
fiction must-read, this book is the nonfiction book to put in the hands of all
kids, to answer questions and prompt discussion.
13 : Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade, edited by Clifford
for the adult market, this collection of original essays captures that time of
adolescence when social and sexual development is at its raging worst.
Boy Named Phyllis, by Frank DeCaro (Penguin)
published for the adult market, this hilarious memoir tells what its like
to grow up gay in suburban New Jersey. The author has a very positive self-image.
of a Rock Lobster : A Story about Growing Up Gay, by Aaron Fricke (Alyson)
Fricke made national news by taking a male date to his high school prom. Published
in 1981, this book is his story, told with insight and humor, about developing
a positive gay identity in spite of the prejudice around him.
Tales Out of School, edited by Kevin Jennings (Alyson)
collection of over thirty personal memoirs, in which gays, lesbians, and bisexuals
look back at their school days. Essential reading, and a great companion book
to Queer 13, edited by the executive director of the national Gay, Lesbian, and
Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
and Me : Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned, a graphic novel by Judd
Winick (Henry Holt)
is a remarkable book that will speak directly to todays teenagers. Winick,
who is straight, recalls his close friendship with Pedro Zamora, the HIV-positive
AIDS educator who was his roommate while both appeared on MTVs The Real
BOOKS FOR YOUNGER READERS
books / books for beginning readers
Button is a Sissy, by Tomie dePaola (Harcourt) **
Sissy Duckling, by Harvey Fierstein (Simon and Schuster) **
delightful retelling of The Ugly Duckling. To be published in June 2002.
Would You Feel if Your Dad Was Gay?, by Ann Heron & Meredith Maran
Pinky and Rex series, notably Pinky and Rex and the Bully, by James
Howe (Atheneum/Aladdin/Simon & Schuster) **
and Morris but Mostly Dolores, by
James Howe (Atheneum/S&S) **
Story of Ferdinand,
by Munro Leaf (Viking) **
Has Two Mommies, by Lesléa Newman (Alyson)
Okay to be Different, by Todd Parr (Little, Brown) **
Redpost: Is He a Girl? by Louis Sachar (Random House) **
Roommate, by Michael Willhoite (Alyson)
Doll, by Charlotte Zolotow (Harper) **
These books do not deal with gay characters per se. They deal primarily with gender
behavior differences and sex-role stereotyping.
Skull of Truth,
by Bruce Coville (Pocket Books)
book is part of a fantasy series (A Magic Shop Book). In this story,
young Charlie Eggleston becomes the owner of a skull of truth, which
forces him to tell the truth at all times. Whats interesting and
highly unusual in this novel is the appearance of a closeted, gay uncle,
a secondary character who comes out of the closet in the course of the story,
forcing Charlie to deal with his feelings about his beloved uncles homosexuality.
on the Outside and
Alice Alone by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum / Simon &
of the immensely popular Alice series, these two books include secondary female
characters in eighth and ninth grade questioning their sexuality. While these
books might qualify as young adult novels, the entire series is read voraciously
by upper elementary school age girls, so is included here.
characters and themes are very rare in middle-grade novels, which are usually
aged from 8-12. The above books are not about homosexuality, but deal
with it seriously and intelligently while remaining light-hearted reads.
The following books DO deal with it forthrightly.
So Hard to Say,
Sanchez (Simon and Schuster)
The Lambda award-winning middle-grade novel about a 13 year-old boy coming to
terms with being gay and the girl who has a crush on him.
Joe by James Howe (Simon & Schuster)
The humorous and
heart-warming story of a totally out, totally loveable 13 year-old.
and Gay Voices : An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Literature for Children
and Young Adults, by Frances Ann Day (Greenwood Press)
BY JAMES HOWE DEALING WITH THEMES OF IDENTITY AND GENDER DIFFERENCES
PINKY AND REX Ready-to-Read series (Atheneum/Aladdin/Simon & Schuster).
Short chapter books featuring seven-year-old best friends Pinky and Rex. Pinky
is a boy whose favorite color is pink. Rex is a girl with a thing for dinosaurs.
The books tell stories of friendship, family, and dealing with the trials and
tribulations of being seven. Being different is a theme that runs
quietly through the series. The only book that deals with the issue directly is
Pinky and Rex and the Bully, in which Pinky is picked on for liking the color
pink and having a girl as a best friend.
Pinky and Rex Get Married
and Rex and the Spelling Bee
and Rex and the Mean Old Witch
and Rex Go to Camp
and Rex and the New Baby (about adoption)
and Rex and the Double-Dad Weekend
Pinky and Rex and the Bully
and Rex and the New Neighbors
and Rex and the School Play
and Rex and the Perfect Pumpkin
and Rex and the Just-Right Pet
and Morris but Mostly Dolores (Atheneum/S&S)
is the tale of three mice who are best friends. Dolores is the ringleader. One
day the two boy mice join the Mega-Mice all boys club and Dolores is left
to join the Cheese Puffs, the club for girls. Forced into stereotypical boy
and girl behavior, the three eventually rebel and form a club of their
own the Frisky Whisker Club, where everyone is welcome. The
sequel, Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but what about Dolores?) will be published
in the fall of 2002.
Wish I Were a Butterfly (Harcourt)
is the story of a cricket who refuses to make music because he thinks hes
ugly. It takes the wisdom of The Old One, his spider friend, to enable him to
see his own beauty.
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