Ten Books for Young People Featuring LGBT+ Characters

Ten books from 2016 and 2017 feature Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender characters, and characters of additional identities, in wonderful ways. Of course, more than what I’ve read exists, so feel free to mention titles in the comments. I’ve attempted to indicate identities in the descriptions, though the nature of naming characters as specifically gay or bisexual, for example, is limiting, and I generally try to avoid doing so.

 

Sparkle Boy – Ages 4 to 7
Leslea Newman and Maria Mola
June 2017
Features a gender-nonconforming child and the child’s sister, who decides to defend her sibling against potential bullies. What a celebration of supportive parents as well.

The Magic Misfits – Ages 8 to 10
Neil Patrick Harris
November 2017
Highlights a same-sex gay male couple who adopt children and support their positive self esteem. The magic in the book is all about sleight of hand and how wanting to do and be good turns what could be a harmful skill into a helpful one.

This Would Make a Good Story Someday – Ages 8 to 12
Dana Alison Levy
May 2017
Touching, adorable story about a same-sex couple of two women and their children on a cross-country train trip. Great creative sibling support at the end is very memorable. To boot, the book’s a companion to the Family Fletcher novels.

The Other Boy – Ages 9 to 13
M. G. Hennessey
September 2016
A heart-wrenching story of a baseball-loving boy who has been transitioning with the help of a doctor and prescriptions. His past is rudely revealed at his new school, just when he thinks all might be well. Doesn’t shy away from realistic messy family and friend moments.

Posted – Ages 10 to 14
John David Anderson
May 2017
Supporting differences shines well in this middle-school novel about friends at their lunch table, who is allowed at it, and who remains when differences of opinion rise. Features a gay male who is picked on and a girl who does not conform to her peers’ ideas of what it means to be feminine.

Alan Cole Is Not a Coward – Ages 10 to 14
Eric Bell
September 2017
Family drama and school worries challenge the main gay male character, but he learns to be himself, face his crush, speak to his family, and come out in this realistic drama. The sibling-as-bully aspect is poised to inspire much discussion.

Girl Mans Up – Ages 14+
M-E Girard
September 2016
A high school girl from a Portuguese family living in Canada finally meets another girl to date, though friends and family offer a mixed bag regarding support — ranging from anger to manipulation to unquestioning love. Realistic portrayals of obtaining an abortion, worrying about the appropriateness of clothing and hair style choices, gauging family respect, and weighing the worth of maintaining friendships abound.

Highly Illogical Behavior – Ages 14+
John Corey Whaley
May 2016
An agoraphobic gay teen who hasn’t left his house in years finally has friends, though he is not aware that the new friendships were inspired by a need for a case study. Moving depictions of a grandparent-grandchild relationship provide additional depth.

Autoboyography – Ages 14+
Christina Lauren
September 2017
The gay male teen protagonist falls for a Mormon/LDS guy, despite knowing that the church’s position on same-sex relationships is not a glowing one. Being true to yourself wins out — but not without much family and friend strain.

Meddling Kids – Older Teens
Edgar Cantero
July 2017
Written for adults, but ripe for older teens to appreciate, the novel imagines that a gang of kids similar to those from Scooby Doo cartoons has grown up to be somewhat of a mess. The friends reassemble to revisit their last case, the one they thought they’d solved so well years before. Features a woman admitting her feelings for another woman.

Remember — these are ten books from 2016 and 2017 featuring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender characters, and characters of additional identities, in wonderful ways that I’ve been able to read. Feel free to mention additional LGBT+-supportive titles in the comments.

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