Middle Grade LGBTQIA+ Books for Pride MonthBy: 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**
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.
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.
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.
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.