A couple of weeks ago, I was drawing up a list of YA novels featuring LGBTQ characters for the library where I work. As I worked on the list, I realized that figuring out which books had LGBTQ themes was a little trickier than I’d first imagined: a quick catalog search for something like “gay and teen” only turned up a few titles, even though I knew there were more on the shelves, and eventually I got sick of coming up with alternative search terms (“queer and ya,” “lesbian and teen,” “transgender” … you get the picture). It turns out that searching the catalog isn’t the best way to find LGBTQ books. Luckily, there are some great resources available that are much quicker and more user-friendly. You can always just Google, of course, but these blogs, lists, and awards are a quick, easy way to find queer-friendly books to add to your bookshelf.
Awards & Selected Lists:
Although YALSA doesn’t have a queer-specific award, YALSA’s parent organization, the American Library Association, does! In fact, they have a whole family of LGBT awards called the Stonewall Awards. The award for YA books is officially called the Stonewall Book Award-Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, but it’s usually just referred to as the Stonewall. This year the award went to Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy, and four honor titles were named: a+e 4ever, Money Boy, Pink, and with or without you. You can also check out the list of previous winners to find wonderful reads from previous years.
Another ALA-sponsored resource is the Rainbow List. It’s a joint project between the GLBTRT (that’s the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table!) and the Social Responsibilities Roundtable. Every year, the Rainbow Project Committee compiles a list of great LGBT fiction for children and teens. You can check out the 2012 list to see the committee’s most recent picks, or browse older lists to find books you might have missed when they were published.