An updated guide to LGBTQIA+ books for children and teens

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/20/2023


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing & Media

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Books for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, asexual, and intersex readers and their allies continue to thrive and evolve in reflection of the variety of families and individual identities today. Deemed "an essential purchase" in a starred review by School Library Journal, the new second edition of “LGBTQIA+ Books for Children and Teens,” published by ALA Editions, highlights the best lit for young people while also addressing urgent topics such as the rise in book challenges. Authors Kathleen Breitenbach and Liz Deskins offer library workers and teachers the information and tools they need to build a diverse, inclusive collection and confidently share it with the patrons they support. This resource:

  • provides hundreds of annotated book entries, complete with author and illustrator, publisher, date of publication, descriptions of each book’s LGBTQIA+ representation, and helpful prompts to foster discussion;
  • surveys the current censorship push against books with LGBTQIA+ topics, themes, and characters, discussing its effect on young people and how to deal with objections and book challenges head on;
  • includes interviews with noted authors that explain not only why they write for children, but what they feel librarians and teachers should understand when working with queer children and their classmates;
  • spotlights picture books for young children that depict kids, parents, and families with a variety of gender and sexual dynamics;
  • introduces books for middle-grade readers, focusing on titles with young people who are questioning and finding themselves while searching for where they belong;
  • shares books for teens that range from stories touching on mental health and other issues that develop as youth start high school to others that explore housing insecurity and other concerns that impact older teens; and
  • shares ideas for programming and marketing, advice on outreach to stakeholders, and best practices for supporting LGBTQIA+ students.

Breitenbach (they/them) has been the Teen Librarian at the Hamilton Township (NJ) Public Library since 2009 and is the 2022–2023 Past Chair of the Rainbow Round Table. They have also served on the Rainbow Book List Committee and the Stonewall Book Awards Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Committee for the Rainbow Round Table; chaired YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults; and spoken on LGBTQIA+ issues and youth literature in webinars and conference programs. Deskins was a school librarian for 30 years, teaching at the elementary, high school, and college levels. Now retired, she is an adjunct professor for Kent State University. A past president of Buckeye Children and Teens Book Awards as well as past president of OELMA (Ohio Educational Library Media Association), she has also served on numerous committees and task forces for AASL and ALSC. Her other publications include “Linking Picture Book Biographies to National Content Standards: 200+ Lives to Explore” and “Content-Area Collaborations for Secondary Grades.”

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