Middle Grade LGBTQIA+ Books for Pride Month

By: Shanleigh Klassen

June is Pride Month where we celebrate and continue to advocate and fight for equality, increased visibility, freedom, and diversity of all people under the LGBTQIA+ banner. It’s been so heartening to see a boom in middle grade books featuring queer stories over the past few years and we are eager to see much more in the near future.

Pride started out as an uprising at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969 and since then, cities, countries, and people all over the world join together every June to honor the work and the fight for equality, though there is still much more work to be done.

Read on below for just some of the incredible books that have come out in the past year that features, focuses, and highlights stories of LGBTQIA+ kids and their families. It’s important for everyone to see themselves in the stories they read, so make sure you pick up a great book this month and support the authors and artists that make these stories possible.

Our June book is an inspiring contemporary mystery set at a super fun summer camp that’s all about friendship and finding yourself. This book features a wonderful cast of characters from across the gender spectrum, and we truly cannot wait for you to meet them.

**Curious to know what book we’re featuring this month? Take a look at our spoiler page HERE**


     Book cover for Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas. Two faces are featured, one of a white child with short red hair facing upright and another of a Black child with short brown hair wearing white glasses upside down on the either side of the image. In between is a friendly neighbourhood during the day.   Book cover for Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow. A rollercoaster cart flies along tracks, highlighting two children with their arms in the air. The child on the left is white with long blonde hair wearing a pink shirt and the child on the right is Indian with long black hair wearing a teal shirt.  Book cover for Both Can Be True by Jules Machias. Cover shows two kids in purple tones, one with longer hair hanging upside down from top left side, one with shorter hair holding a small white dog at bottom right hand corner. Background colour is light blue.   Book cover for Obie Is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar. A tween is shown swimming a front stroke from below the water level.  Book cover for The Insiders by Mark Oshiro. Two images forming a 'V' show three children of various skin colours running down the hallways of a school, with multi-coloured lockers behind them. The background colour is a bright yellow with the text and author name in red.

  • Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas
    Brian has always been anxious, and after he and his brother are placed in foster care he’s started having panic attacks. Though Ezra can see Brian is struggling, he worries if he’s too nice his friends will realize that he has a crush on him. When Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out.

  • Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow
    A week-long amusement park road trip with funnel cakes and Lazy River rides becomes a true roller coaster of emotion when Dalia realizes she has more-than-friend feelings for Rani, the new girl from her swim team.

  • Both Can Be True by Jules Machias
    Ash knows they have little control over how others perceive them, while Daniel lacks control of his emotions. The two bond and join forces to save a dog’s life, but wind up saving each other in this exploration of identity, gender fluidity, and the power of friendship and acceptance.

  • Obie Is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar
    Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects, but it's time to find where he truly belongs. Though things are strange at his new pool, Obie is ready to prove he can be one of the fastest boys in the water — to his coach, his critics, and his biggest competition: himself.

  • The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
    At Héctor's old school, being gay didn't feel like being different, but here in Orangevale, he's immediately targeted by the school bully. Which is how he discovers that the school’s janitor's closet is much more than it appears in this incredible story filled with compassion, humor, and friendship.


     Book cover for This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby. Eight different children of various nationalities and races surround the title text, each displaying various Pride flags such as Trans, Aro/Ace and Bi. Below the title font, four of the children hold aloft the inclusive Pride flag.  Book cover of Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdom by Jamar J. Perry. Image shows a young Black boy staring at a floating, glowing book. Behind the boy is an portal that looks onto a castle with dragons flying around it.  Book cover for The Best Liars in Riverview by Lin Thompson. A white child with red hair in a braid watches from the shore as a Black child with short dark hair flows down the river on a wooden raft. The white child wears a white shirt and hides their hand with crossed fingers behind their back.  Book cover for Ellen Outside the Lines by A J Sass. Image shows a young white girl with red hair among a blue sky with playing cards flying all around. Below her is a brightly coloured cityscape of Barcelona with four silhouetted figures running along.  Book cover for Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth LaPensée, illustrated by KC Oster. A young Anishinaabe child wearing a blue hoodie and jeans chases after a bounding white rabbit. Behind the child is an Anishinaabe adult wearing a top hat standing in front of a white cloth laden table, and behind them is a pale-skinned adult wearing a red suit with three robots with hearts on their facescreens.

  • This Is Our Rainbow edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby
    The first LGBTQIA+ anthology for middle graders features stories for every letter of the acronym, including realistic, fantasy, historical, and sci-fi stories from some of the most exciting authors in the industry.

  • Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry
    When Cameron Battle and his two friends are transported to the fabled kingdom of his childhood stories, he must discover if he is ready to be the hero this kingdom needs. Inspired by West African and Igbo history and mythology, this exciting new fantasy series celebrates the triumphs and challenges of a boy finding his truth path to greatness.

  • The Best Liars in Riverview by Lin Thompson
    Aubrey and Joel are like two tomato vines that grew along the same crooked fence — weird, yet the same kind of weird. But then Joel disappears and though Aubrey doesn’t know where he went, they might know how to find him.

  • Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass
    Ellen is comfortable with her categorical and well-defined life: she attends temple every Friday and Saturday, and she only has crushes on girls never boys, But when a school trip to Barcelona and a new nonbinary classmate challenges Ellen’s rigidly defined world, she learns to embrace how life doesn't always stick to a binary.

  • Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth LaPensée, illustrated by KC Oster
    Aimée, a non-binary Anishinaabe middle-schooler, is on a class trip when they accidentally wander off. Suddenly they find themself in an alternate dimension filled with traditional Anishinaabe figures in a story inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


     Book cover for In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington. Two Black children relax in a red canoe on blue body of water.  Book cover for Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff. Two white children, one with long light brown hair with a yellow shirt and purple skirt and the other with short dark brown hair wearing a white and red baseball shirt and jeans, sit in a yellow-colored room on the floor next to each other.  Book cover for The Real Riley Mayes by Rachel Elliott. A white child with short blonde hair stands at the top of the image. They are leaning down and draw cartoonish versions of the events of the story.  Book cover for Every Bird a Prince by Jenn Reese. Image shows a young white child on a bicycle in front of a glowing portal in the trunk of a massive tree. Birds are shown flying towards the glowing portal door.  Book cover for Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao. Image shows a young modern-looking Chinese boy standing back-to-back with an older Chinese man in traditional clothing. Behind the two is a dragon shaped out of blue water.

  • In the Key of Us by Mariama J Lockington
    At music camp, Zora and Andi are the only two Black girls in a sea of mostly white faces. In kayaks and creaky cabins, the two begin to connect, unraveling their losses, insecurities, and hopes for the future.

  • Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff
    To Annabelle, Bailey is a breath of fresh air and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Bailey has a cute smile. But then Annabelle’s life is turned upside down when she learns that both her father and Bailey have something big in common, allowing Annabelle to see her family and community in a whole new light.

  • The Real Riley Mayes by Rachel Elliott
    Though fifth grade isn’t exactly Riley’s vibe, things start to look up when she befriends Cate and new kid Aaron. But when a bully spreads a rumor about her, Riley’s curiosity about Aaron's two dads and her celebrity crush on her favorite comedian suddenly make more sense in this graphic novel that’s both funny and full of heart.

  • Every Bird a Prince by Jenn Reese
    Eren’s life is confusing enough when a strange, magical bird requests her help to save their forest kingdom from an ancient foe. Though reluctant to get involved, Eren must find the bravery to save all those she holds dear and to explore who she is becoming.

  • Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao
    Zach is tasked by the spirit of the First Emperor of China (bound into Zack’s AR gaming headset) to heist magical artifacts from across China and defeat figures from history and myth to prevent the world from being overrun by the spirits of the underworld.


     Book cover for Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper. A white child with short brown hair wears a light blue hoodie and stands in the middle of an empty town street at sunset. Bright colours swirl around the figure.  Book cover for The One Who Love You the Most by medina. A Latinx tween with their long dark hair in a braid draped over their shoulder stands in front of a mirror wearing a light blue suit. Hanging on the door behind them are white and black binder.  Book cover for The Science of Being Angry by Nicole Melleby. Image shows two figures on the left and right side looking towards the center figure. The center figure emits a red-orange aura that flows outwards into light and dark blues.  Book cover for Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino. Image shows two kids, a Black child wearing a pink sweater and a white child wearing a black shirt with a pizza logo on the back, with their backs to the viewer and looking upwards. In the background is a pale blue cityscape showing the Statue of Liberty.  Book cover for The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali. A white child with light brown hair wears an orange tshirt with the inclusive Pride flag depicted. Surrounding the child are various letters and newspaper clippings.

  • Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper
    Jake is starting to enjoy life as his school's first openly gay kid when his father decides to hang a comically large pride flag in their front yard. Suddenly, a few people are concerned the flag will lead to something truly outlandish: a pride parade. Now Jake and his friends are determined to try to bring Pride to their small town, with approval or not.

  • The One Who Loves You the Most by medina
    Gabriela is trying to find their place in the world and in their body, which feels less and less right with each passing day. But a new year will bring a school project, trans and queer friends, and purpose in this story about finding oneself and one's community, at last.

  • The Science of Being Angry by Nicole Melleby
    Joey is angry all the time and she doesn’t understand why — she has two loving moms and supportive siblings so she’s never without company. But as her anger continues to overwhelm her, Joey begins a journey to discover what makes a family and what makes us who we are.

  • Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino
    Sam and their best friend TJ take a stand against the "Dead Straight Cis White Men" as they discover and explore the rich queer history of their Staten Island borough — a history that no longer needs to be quiet as long as there are good people to stand up for it.

  • The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali
    Told partially from the perspective of modern-day Amos and partially in letters to a 19th-century trans soldier, this story revolves around first crushes, queer history, allyship, and finding yourself in the world around you.