After a bit of a break, I’m finally back with more new releases, BUT this feature will be looking a bit different going forward. Instead of weekly posts, I will be adding a New Release Round-Up every month. These posts will still feature all the books I’m most excited about, but will only include books with LGBTQIA+ representation from here on out.
As a queer author and blogger, the continued attack on LGBTQIA+ media has weighed heavily on my heart. I will always promote diverse bookshelves and lift the voices of creators that fall into other marginalized categories, but it’s time for me to narrow my focus to my own lived experience.
We all know that representation in literature is so important, but it is especially true for young readers. When kids see characters that look like them or have similar experiences, it can have a powerful impact on their self-esteem and understanding of the world around them. And that’s why books featuring queer characters and themes are so valuable. They provide a way for LGBTQIA+ kids to see themselves reflected in the stories they read and help all kids learn about different experiences and perspectives.
So with all that said, here are all the books with queer representation that I’m most excited about this month!
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You Need to Chill! by Juno Dawson, Illustrated by Laura Hughes
A delightfully endearing debut picture book by bestselling author and activist Juno Dawson in which a sister proves to be an LGBTQ ally when answering everyone’s questions about where her brother Bill has gone.
When Bill can’t be found at school one day, the imaginations of the other children run wild. Is he on vacation? Is he lost in the park? Has he been eaten by a shark? It’s up to Bill’s sister to explain that everyone needs to chill.
Juno Dawson’s debut LGBTQ children’s book is a witty and fun-filled rhyming story about family, identity, and acceptance. Bold, joyful, and warm-hearted, this inclusive children’s book’s message shines through on every page.
The Fairest in the Land by Lesléa Newman, Illustrated by Joshua Heinsz
A heartwarming, inclusive story about self-expression and friendship, from Stonewall Honor–winning author Lesléa Newman
When it comes to playing dress-up, best friends Annabelle and Benjamin both want to be the bride, the ballerina, and the princess. Can they both be the fairest in the land? In this spirited and inclusive story about expressing our true selves with pride, two friends ultimately realize that they can both be their authentic selves—and that having two princesses means twice the fun.
Unstoppable: How Bayard Rustin Organized the 1963 March on Washington by Michael G. Long, Illustrated by Bea Jackson
Bayard Rustin was a troublemaker. He spent his life disrupting racism and prejudice with nonviolent direct action. He organized protests against war, nuclear weapons, racial segregation and discrimination. He was a friend and mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., and he was unapologetically gay and Black.
When Bayard and his mentor, A. Philip Randolph, set out to organize the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Bayard was targeted by those who wished to see the movement fail. But Bayard Rustin would not be stopped. With the support of Dr. King and future congressman John Lewis, Bayard organized the largest protest in civil rights history.
This stunning picture book ,written by Rustin scholar Michael G. Long and illustrated by the New York Times bestselling artist Bea Jackson, tells the incredible story of how Bayard Rustin led over 250,000 people to the doorstep of the United States government demanding change.
ABC-Deconstructing Gender by Ashley Molesso, Illustrated by Chess Needham
Be affectionate, beautiful, courageous, and more in this gender-bending ABC book.
Daryl is so affectionate. Alex is gentle with the family cat. Sage and Kaylin are super strong. And Ira yearns to do ballet like their older brother. Demystify gender stereotypes while learning your ABCs in this bright, celebratory debut picture book by stationery company Ash + Chess, who bring not only their quirky artistic flavor but also their personal perspectives as a queer couple to this empowering book for younger kids. This hardcover picture book is rendered in bright, bold colors and patterns and uses neon pink hues throughout. As a bonus, remove the book’s jacket to reveal a cool ABC poster on the opposite side that can be displayed at home, in schools, at libraries, or anywhere!
Flower Girl by Amy Bloom, Illustrated by Jameela Wahlgren
From celebrated and best-selling author Amy Bloom comes a jubilant story of self-love, individuality, and gender expression.
Nicki’s favorite aunt is getting married, and Nicki is excited to be the Flower Girl: she is all in for love and pretty petals. But when the family goes shopping to find outfits for the wedding, Nicki doesn’t feel like herself in any of the dresses her mom and aunt pick out for her, and all her happiness and excitement for the wedding evaporates. Nicki must find her voice―and her own style of expression to match it―to make Aunt Carmela’s big day absolutely perfect.
Infused with intelligence and charm and complemented by art by Jameela Wahlgren that’s as warm and tender as a hug, Flower Girl celebrates the magic of finding the clothes that help us shine.
Door by Door: How Sarah McBride Became America’s First Openly Transgender Senator by Meeg Pincus, Illustrated by Meridth McKean Gimbel
A nonfiction picture book about Delaware State Senator Sarah McBride, who dreamed of making a difference as a kid and grew up to become the highest-ranking openly transgender political official in America.
As a kid, Sarah McBride dreamed of running for office so she could help people in her community. When her friends asked for bicycles for Christmas, Sarah asked for a podium. Her friends and family encouraged her to follow this path, but there was one problem: they saw Sarah as a boy, and Sarah knew she was a girl. Every night, she’d replay the day in her head, watching how it would have played out if she was able to live as the girl she knew herself to be.
In college, she finally came out as Sarah, and in 2020 she won her election to become a Delaware State Senator, making her the highest-ranking trans political official in the country and a hero to kids everywhere who want to live their dreams and be themselves!
Dad and Daddy’s Big Big Family by Seamus Kirst, Illustrated by Karen Bunting
Follow along as Harper learns how all these families are unique…and still part of Harper’s big big family!
Harper is going to her first family reunion! She meets so many people. There’s her second cousin Noah. And her cousin Lisa, who lives with her husband and stepkids. Then there’s Great Aunt Trudy who is raising her grandkids. And so many more! Dad and Daddy tell her they’re all part of the same family, but they’re all so different! And do families need to live together? Will she and Noah have to share a room?
I Am a Rainbow! by Mark Kanemura and Steve Foxe, Illustrated by Richard Merritt
A professional dancer, LGBTQIA+ advocate, and social media star shares this inspiring picture book based on his childhood in Hawaii and encourages readers to find safe spaces that allow them to shine bright.
Mark loves putting on shows, dressing up, and dancing! But what makes him happy at home gets him teased at school. To remind Mark that his unique light makes the world a brighter place, his parents surprise him with a beautiful, flowing cape. Wearing it, he feels invincible and free to shine all over Honolulu! It even gives him the courage to befriend some kids who are just as colorful as he is. When the cape goes missing, Mark loses his new confidence. How will he ever shine again?
Mark’s relatable, real-life inspired story paired with Richard Merritt’s bright and energetic illustrations is a celebration of self-acceptance.
Cinda Meets Ella: A Fairly Queer Tale by Wallace West
In this western-style twist on Cinderella and follow up to Mighty Red Riding Hood, Cinda finds a partner in nonbinary Ella at a high-stakes rodeo-style contest!
Cinda sure loves a good adventure…but her life’s been nothing but miserable since awful Aunt Hildy and her boys tromped in and took over. So when a mysterious Rider calls a roping-and-riding contest at the Rancho Del Reina, she sure as heck’s gotta enter. That cash prize’ll buy back her freedom! Can she giddyap and grab the gold—and Ella Del Reina’s attention—before sundown?
Told in Wallace West’s distinctive, chuckle-inducing read-aloud style bursting with southwestern flair, here is a story that shows readers a different but equally satisfying kind of happily ever after.
Duck, Duck, Tiger by Brittany R. Jacobs
Lili has noticed that she’s different from everyone around her… like she’s a tiger when everyone else seems to be a duck. Should she announce her discovery? She worries that the world doesn’t like tigers. What if no one likes tigers? Inspired by the author’s childhood and lived experiences, Duck, Duck, Tiger is a picture book which explores the difficulties those with marginalized identities face from an early age. Lili’s journey from uneasy feelings to understanding and pride will resonate with readers struggling with their own sense of otherness, championing inclusion.
We Are One by Jackie Azúa Kramer, Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa and Niña Mata
From an award-winning author, a New York Times bestselling artist, and a Coretta Scott King Honor artist, lyrical text about how we are all one is paired with beautiful illustrations of two girls and their families.
Two girls―one from a city who lives with her mom, and one who lives by the beach with her dads and brother―come together at a lantern festival in a beautiful story of how we are all one, whether near or far, friend or newcomer.
From an award-winning trio, this celebration of community, friendship, and the natural world features poetic, lyrical text paired with a vibrant visual tale of two characters, each illustrated by a different artist.
Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson
Ellie Engle doesn’t stand out. Not at home, where she’s alone with her pet fish since her dad moved away and her mom has to work around the clock . Not at the bakery, where she helps out old Mr. Walker on the weekends. And definitely not at school, where her best friend Abby—the coolest, boldest, most talented girl in the world—drags Ellie along on her never-ending quest to “make her mark.” To someone else, a life in the shadows might seem boring, or lonely. But not to Ellie. As long as she has Abby by her side and a comic book in her hand, she’s quite content.
Too bad life didn’t bother checking in with Ellie. Because when a freak earthquake hits her small town, Ellie wakes up with the power to bring anything back to life with just her touch. And when a video of her using her powers suddenly goes viral, Ellie’s life goes somewhere she never imagined—or wanted: straight into the spotlight.
Surviving middle school is hard enough. Surviving middle school when paparazzi are camped out on your front lawn and an international pop singer wants you to use your powers on live tv and you might be in love with your best friend but she doesn’t know it? Absolutely impossible.
A Child’s Introduction to Pride: The Inspirational History and Culture of the LGBTQIA+ Community by Sarah Prager, Illustrated by Caitlin O’Dwyer
The history of the LGBTQIA+ community has often been overlooked, but it’s one that is filled with heroes, struggles, triumph, and joy. A Child’s Introduction to Pride is full of remarkable stories of groundbreaking events and inspirational people, featuring profiles of dozens of queer icons from various time periods and walks of life. Young readers will meet members of the community who have made big contributions to politics—like Harvey Milk and Marsha P. Johnson—as well as important people from the worlds of sports, music, literature, dance, science, and more. Kids will also be introduced to key terms like “gender” and “identity” while learning about the importance of coming out and what it means to be a good ally.
In addition to learning about the history of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement, A Child’s Introduction to Pride offers a kid-friendly guide to understanding pronouns and intersectionality, as well as explorations of “gayborhoods,” and a pull-out poster with a timeline of important events from ancient times to the modern era. Featuring charming illustrations and a lively design that honors the vibrancy and inclusive nature of the wide-ranging LGBTQIA+ community, A Child’s Introduction to Pride is a celebration of a movement that readers of all ages will love.
Joy, to the World by Kai Shappley and Lisa Bunker
A young Dumplin’ meets Melissa in this joyful and energetic middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl living her life to the fullest, celebrating her love for sports and fighting for her right to cheer.
Joy, a twelve-year-old trans girl, just moved to Texas with her mother and older brother. Her family has accepted Joy as the girl she is early in her transition, with little fuss, leaving Joy to explore her love of sports, competition, teamwork, school spirit, and worship.
But when she is told she’s off the cheerleading team, Joy wants to fight for her right to cheer. As her battle with the school board picks up momentum, Joy attracts support from kids all around the country . . . she even gets the attention of her hero, trans activist Kai Shappley.
Inspired by Kai’s own life, Joy, to the World is a timely story of living life to the fullest, celebrating and centering trans joy, courage, and resilience.
Protest!: How People Have Come Together to Change the World by Alice and Emily Haworth-Booth
Protest has changed the planet – from Roman times to today, ordinary people have stood up for what they believe in and made the world a better place. Children are more likely now than ever before to make a peaceful stand against what they believe is wrong in the world. The time is right for a book that sets out the history of protest and how it has changed our society.
Illustrated by award-winner Emily Haworth-Booth, and written by Emily and her sister Alice, this book covers the global history of protest from 1170 BCE, when workers on the pyramids in Egypt went on strike for more food, to the present day, with the school strikes for climate. From the women’s march in Rome, through the peasants’ revolt, the abolitionist movement and the suffragette movement right through to Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter.
Also included are the Native American Ghost Dance, the Abolitionist Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement, anti-nuclear movement, the Stonewall riots, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Arab Spring, Hong Kong umbrella protests and much more. The book covers civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQI+ rights, anti-apartheid, environmental campaigns and more.
Hispanic Star: Sylvia Rivera by Claudia Romo Edelman and J. Gia Loving, Illustrated by Cheyne Gallarde
Read about Sylvia Rivera, who is among the most groundbreaking, iconic Hispanic and Latinx heroes who have shaped our culture and the world in Hispanic Star: Sylvia Rivera, co-written with J. Gia Loving, from Claudia Romo Edelman’s gripping Hispanic Star biography series for young readers.
Meet Stonewall uprising veteran Sylvia Rivera―once just a kid from New York City. A transgender Latina, Sylvia became an influential gay liberation and transgender rights activist who fought especially for transgender people of color. In the 1970s, Sylvia and Marsha P. Johnson founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group devoted to providing services and advocacy for homeless LGBTQ+ people. Nearly two decades after her passing, Sylvia and her legacy continue to have an impact on the LGBTQ+ rights movement and remain an inspiration for marginalized queer people everywhere.
Hispanic Star proudly celebrates Hispanic and Latinx heroes who have made remarkable contributions to American culture and have been undeniable forces in shaping its future. If you can see it, you can be it.
The Song of Us by Kate Fussner
This stunning debut and wholly original queer middle grade novel-in-verse retelling of “Orpheus and Eurydice” adds a new chorus to the songs of great love, perfect for fans of Other Words for Home and Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World.
Love at first sight isn’t a myth. For seventh graders Olivia and Eden, it’s fate. Olivia is a capital-P Poet, and Eden thinks she wants to be a musician one day, but for now she’s just the new girl. And then Eden shows up to Poetry Club and everything changes.
Eden isn’t out, and she has rules for dating Olivia: don’t call. Don’t tell her friends. And don’t let anyone know they’re together.
But when jealousy creeps in, it’s Olivia’s words that push Eden away. While Eden sets out to find herself, Olivia begins a journey to bring Eden back—using poetry. Both Olivia and Eden will learn just how powerful their words can be to bring them together . . . or tear them apart forever.
Camp QUILTBAG by Nicole Melleby and AJ Sass
From the acclaimed authors of Hurricane Season and Ana on the Edge, an unforgettable story about the importance of and joy in finding a community, for fans of Alex Gino and Ashley Herring-Blake.
Twelve-year-old Abigail (she/her/hers) is so excited to spend her summer at Camp QUILTBAG, an inclusive retreat for queer and trans kids. She can’t wait to find a community where she can be herself—and, she hopes, admit her crush on that one hot older actress to kids who will understand.
Thirteen-year-old Kai (e/em/eir) is not as excited. E just wants to hang out with eir best friend and eir parkour team. And e definitely does not want to think about the incident that left eir arm in a sling—the incident that also made Kai’s parents determined to send em somewhere e can feel like emself.
After a bit of a rocky start at camp, Abigail and Kai make a pact: If Kai helps Abigail make new friends, Abigail will help Kai’s cabin with the all-camp competition. But as they navigate a summer full of crushes, queer identity exploration, and more, they learn what’s really important. Camp QUILTBAG is a heartfelt story full of the joy that comes from being and loving yourself.
Skating on Mars by Caroline Huntoon
A heartwarming debut from author Caroline Huntoon about a young figure skater discovering who they are on and off the ice.
Life isn’t easy on twelve-year-old Mars. As if seventh grade isn’t hard enough, Mars is also grappling with the recent death of their father and a realization they never got to share with him: they’re nonbinary. But with their skates laced up and the ice under their feet, all of those struggles melt away. When Mars’ triple toe loop draws the attention of a high school hot shot, he dares them to skate as a boy so the two can compete head-to-head. Unable to back down from a challenge, Mars accepts. But as competition draws near, the struggles of life off the rink start to complicate their performance in the rink, and Mars begins to second guess if there’s a place for them on the ice at all.
Skating on Mars is a tender examination of grief and a hopeful middle grade tale of self-discovery.
Shakti by SJ Sindu, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
Shakti is used to being the new girl at school. She and her two moms have moved more times than she can count. With her unborn baby brother on the way, Shakti hopes her family has found their forever home in Amherst, Massachusetts, and that she can finally make friends.
On her first day of seventh grade, she meets Xi and they bond over their shared passion for manga (and pizza with mayo). But the three meanest girls in school—Harini, Emily, and Kelly (aka “HEK”)—are determined to make life miserable for Shakti and her new friends.
When Shakti and Xi discover HEK casting spells in the woods, they fear what might happen to the other kids at school. Drawing on ancient Indian magic, Shakti seeks the aid of Durga Ma to stop HEK. But instead, Shakti accidentally conjures Kali Ma, the destroyer—Durga Ma’s dangerous twin. Kali Ma punishes HEK by transforming them into monsters and curses the entire town. As more and more people begin to fall ill, including Shakti’s mom, will Shakti be able to harness her own strength, power, and empathy to save those she loves—and put an end to all the hate?
Tegan and Sara: Junior High by Tegan and Sara Quin, Illustrated by Tillie Walden
Before Tegan and Sara took the music world by storm, the Quins were just two identical twins trying to find their place in a new home and new school. From first crushes to the perils of puberty, surviving junior high is something the sisters plan to face side by side, just like they’ve always faced things. But growing up also means growing apart, as Tegan and Sara make different friends and take separate paths to understanding their queerness. For the first time ever, they ask who one sister is without the other.
Set in the present day, this effervescent blend of fiction and autobiography, with artwork from Eisner Award–winner Tillie Walden, offers a glimpse at the two sisters before they became icons, exploring their shifting relationship, their own experiences coming out, and the first steps of their musical journey.
A prequel of sorts to the authors’ bestselling adult memoir High School, now an 8-episode Freevee television series!
Did I miss any books coming out in May that you’re looking forward to? Be sure to share in the comments!
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