Proof that literature for children and young adults really can tackle any subject with the right approach, here are some of our very favourite books for younger readers that introduce, celebrate and tackle pertinent themes in the LGBTQI+ community.
Love Makes a Family, by Sophie Beer
A simple but beautiful board book about love in all its forms. Almost effortlessly inclusive, Sophie Beer illustrates family units of all different kinds expressing love for each other in gestures of care.
Julian Is A Mermaid, by Jessica Love
Julian Is A Mermaid£7.99
One of our all-time favourite picture books. After spotting three women dressed as mermaids, Julian tries to persuade his Nana to let him dress like one too. The results are joyous.
Nen And The Lonely Fisherman, by Ian Eagleton & James Mayhew
Boy meets merman! A fresh take on a classic love story, beautifully paired with James Mayhew’s ethereal illustration style.
Aalfred And Aalbert, by Morag Hood
These two aardvarks have everything in common, but they just keep missing each other – something has to be done! Morag Hood’s irresistibly funny picture books are a big hit with us (shout out to The Steves), but in this tender story about two companions-to-be she gently introduces their budding relationship for younger readers.
The Pirate Mums, by Jodie Lancet-Grant & Lydia Corry
Billy’s mums are not especially ordinary. Well, they’re actually sea-shanty singing, jig-dancing, parrot-owning, eye-patch wearing… you get the jist. When Billy’s teacher asks them to volunteer on their class trip to the seaside, Billy is horrified. Swashbuckling antics ensue! Plus, a valuable lesson about difference and acceptance.
Me, My Dad and The End of the Rainbow, by Benjamin Dean & Sandhya Prabhat
Archie wants to help his dad. His parents are getting divorced, but it also feels like they’re keeping a big secret from him. When his dad comes out, Archie and his friends decide to hatch a plan: a rip-roaring adventure of self-education that culminates at London Pride. Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow is a charming, funny story of friendship, family and acceptance.
Queer Heroes, by Arabelle Sicardi
From Sappho to Pedro Almodóvar, Tove Jansson to Harvey Milk — there are too many queer heroes to count! Here’s a great selection to get anyone started though, from the well-known to the unexpected.
Queer Up, by Alexis Caught
Super digestible and comprehensive guide for the curious regarding all things allyship, sexuality, gender identity! This is a book for any and every young person including what do all the letters in LGBTQ+ stand for how to be a good ally, how to talk about subjects in a sensitive way, queer history, inspiring stories and information about laws and rights!
LumberJanes (vol 1), by Noelle Stevenson
Extremely entertaining, action-packed summer camp fun for all ages! (I mean it: middle grade up to, like, adulthood.) This was one of the first graphic novel series for younger readers that really took off, but it still stands up with good representation and mayhem galore.
All Our Hidden Gifts, by Caroline O’Donoghue
All Our Hidden Gifts£7.99
A cracking young adult novel that starts off with some fairly typical teen problems – struggling with school, getting into trouble, falling out with friends – quickly descending into some fairly untypical teen problems when Maeve finds an old tarot deck in a disused school cupboard. As it turns out, she has a bit of a natural affinity for reading the tarot… What comes next is an a socially switched-on all-guns-blazing romp with excellent queer representation, mystical abductions, contemporary Irish politics and also an actually quite informative exploration of the Tarot. The sequel’s already out and there’s a third book planned so plenty to get stuck into.
Heartstopper Volume 1, by Alice Oseman
Heartstopper Volume One£10.99
We don’t need to tell you about Heartstopper, really, but we’ve had so many people tell us “I wish there had been something like this when I was a kid.” This is the first volume of the charmingly brilliant graphic novel phenomenon.
Only On the Weekends, by Dean Atta
Only on the Weekends£8.99
Dean Atta’s been making waves in the YA genre for a while with his slick, prose-poem-novels. His latest is a deliciously juicy coming-of-age, love-triangle-laced high school drama. Boy meets boy… and then meets another boy!
Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender
Felix is Black, queer and trans, and secretly worries that means his story will never end well. After receiving anonymous hate messages from another student, he hatches a plan to get payback. Felix Ever After is a compelling coming-of-age story with big helpings of romance, revenge, and self-discovery.
The Quiet At the End of the World, by Lauren James
An original and thrilling YA dystopia with a diverse cast of characters. In a post-apocalyptic London, Lowrie and Shen feel the weight of history and the burden of the future as the youngest people left on the planet.
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Lists Of Literary Distinction: Pride for younger readersProduct on sale