Five to Follow – LGBTQ Book Blogs You Should be Following

If you’re looking for great recommendations to share with your patrons, add to your collection, or simply enjoy yourself, book blogs are a fantastic resource to explore. Here are just a handful of the many amazing LGBTQ-themed book blogs that have taken the internet by storm. Be sure to check them out, and let us know which book blogs you love to follow!

I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell Do I Read?

If you work with or support queer young people, or simply want to improve the diversity of your YA collection, this is definitely the blog for you. Positive, respectful, supportive and inclusive, “it’s for teens (queer or not), for librarians, for teachers, for booksellers, for people with teens in their lives and for anyone interested in YA books with GLBTQ characters and themes. What books are already out there? What’s new? Your answers are here.”

LGBTQ Reads

This carefully curated collection of LGBTQ+ titles spans the whole gamut of queer literature, from picture books to adult selections, but with an emphasis on Young Adult / New Adult fiction, and is maintained by YA author Dahlia Adler.

The Lesbrary

The Lesbrary focuses on lesbian/bisexual books, with a dedicated and diverse group of reviewers providing feedback on a wide variety of titles celebrating literature by and about queer women.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

OK, we might be a bit biased here (Casey is one of our awesome group members), but if you’re looking for queer book reviews and recommendations with a Canadian focus, this is definitely the blog for you.

Gay YA

As the name suggests, GayYA.org is dedicated to everything LGBTQIA+ in YA! Its mission “is to empower authors to write LGBTQIA+ characters, help ensure that what’s being published contains positive and affirming representation, and enable all teens to find themselves on the page! We pursue these goals with things like sharing best practices for librarians and teachers on how to get LGBTQIA+ YA books into the hands of teens, critiquing problematic narratives, and holding space for authors to talk about writing LGBTQIA+ characters.” Sounds good to us!

What are some of your favourite LGBTQ+ book blogs?

#DiverseKidLit Blog Hop

For school and public librarians, blogs can be a great way to discover new diverse children’s materials. The #diversekidslit book-sharing meme, founded by Katie, the teacher behind the amazing book blog The Logonauts, is a fantastic resource for staff looking to diversify their collections, and connect their patrons with great books.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds. While not specifically focused on LGBTQ+ materials, the meme often includes books covering these themes.

Participants in the meme are encouraged to support the diverse blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three other blogs, and by following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. You can spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit
DiverseKidLit

The hope is that the #diversekidlit community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors!

Upcoming Themes

Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. But if you’re interested, you can start planning now …

  • Out of respect for everyone’s increased summer busyness, there will only be one hop each month for June (3rd), July (1st), and August (5th).  Twice-monthly hops will return in September.
  • The theme for the June hop (3rd) will be global books. Please share your favorite diverse books that take place in countries other than your own, and travel the world this summer!

#DiverseKidLit is hosted by a great team of book bloggers:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

The #diversekidlit Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Connect with great bloggers, learn about fantastic materials, and help spread the love for diverse children’s books with the #diversekidlit book-sharing meme!

 

29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists

The finalists for the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards have been announced! With 23 categories and over 130 books, there is certainly something for everyone to be excited about.

Lambda-Medal

Personally, I am looking forward to getting my hands on copies of Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir  by Kai Cheng Thom, Small Beauty by jia qing wilson-yang (both nominated for Best Transgender Fiction), Im Just a Person  by Tig Notaro (nominated for Best Lesbian Memoir/Biography), and Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard (nominated for Best LGBTQ Children‘s/Young Adult). What nominated books have you read/are excited about reading?

You can check out the whole nomination list here. The awards ceremony will be held on June 12th.

VPL and the Safe Place Program

The Vancouver Public Library, one of Canada’s largest public library systems, recently issued the following public statement on its website:

vpd-safe-place

Vancouver’s library has joined the Vancouver Police Department’s Safe Place program, which identifies places where members of the LGBTQ community can shelter if they experience bullying or harassment or are victims of crime.

All of Vancouver Public Library’s 21 locations around the city are part of this initiative, and the program’s identifying rainbow-coloured stickers will soon be installed on main entrance doors at library branches and the central library downtown.

Businesses and organizations in the program – which launched roughly seven months ago – pledge to provide a safe place for LGBTQ community members to shelter, be welcomed and call police if they have concerns for their safety or are victims of crime.

“VPL has a long-standing commitment to inclusiveness, a commitment that is inherent in the role of the library as a social equalizer in the community,” says chief librarian Sandra Singh.

Does your library participate in a similar “safe space” program or initiative? We’d love to hear what libraries across the province (country or world) are doing to promote safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals in our communities.

Ten Great LGBTQ+ Picture Books!

Early this week the LGBTQ Interest Group hosted a fantastic professional development workshop focusing on materials for young people. Three engaging, experienced presenters shared some great recommendations for picture books, middle grade books and YA books with LGBTQ+ content. It was a fascinating presentation, and we all walked away with heaps of inspiring ideas to put into practice.

One of our speakers, Rob Bittner, talked about LGBTQ+ themes in picture books, and shared a handful of fantastic titles. These are all brilliant books that every library, whether public or school, should consider adding to their collection! Here just ten of the books that Rob shared with us:

10,000 Dresses

Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows…Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary: “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey becomes the girl she always dreamed she’d be!

And Tango Makes Three

In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families. But Tango’s family is not like any of the others. This illustrated children’s book fictionalizes the true story of two male penguins who became partners and raised a penguin chick in the Central Park Zoo.

Call Me Tree / Llamame Arbol

In this spare, lyrically written story, we join a child on a journey of self-discovery. Finding a way to grow from the inside out, just like a tree, the child develops as an individual comfortable in the natural world and in relationships with others. The child begins “Within/ The deep dark earth,” like a seed, ready to grow and then dream and reach out to the world. Soon the child discovers birds and the sky and other children: Trees and trees/ Just like me! Each is different too. The child embraces them all because All trees have roots/ All trees belong. Maya Christina Gonzalez once again combines her talents as an artist and a storyteller to craft a gentle, empowering story about belonging, connecting with nature, and becoming your fullest self. Young readers will be inspired to dream and reach, reach and dream . . . and to be as free and unique as trees.”

Donovan’s Big Day

Donovan’s two moms are getting married, and he can’t wait for the celebration to begin. After all, as ringbearer, he has a very important job to do. Any boy or girl with same-sex parents—or who knows a same-sex couple—will appreciate this picture book about love, family, and marriage.  The story captures the joy and excitement of a wedding day while the illustrations show the happy occasion from a child’s point of view.

I Am Jazz

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

Jacob’s New Dress

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

Morris has a great imagination. He paints amazing pictures and he loves his classroom’s dress-up center, especially the tangerine dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother’s hair.

The other children don’t understand–dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship his classmates are building–astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses.

One day Morris has a tummy ache, and his mother lets him stay home from school. He stays in bed reading about elephants, and her dreams about a space adventure with his cat, Moo. Inspired by his dream, Morris paints a fantastic picture, and everything begins to change when he takes it to school.

My Princess Boy

My Princess Boy is a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. With words and illustrations even the youngest of children can understand, My Princess Boy tells the tale of 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by happily dressing up in dresses, and enjoying traditional girl things such as jewelry and anything pink or sparkly. The book is from a mom’s point of view, sharing both good and bad observations and experiences with friends and family, at school and in shopping stores.

My Princess Boy opens a dialogue about embracing uniqueness, and teaches you and others how to accept young boys who might cross traditional gender line clothing expectations. The book ends with the understanding that ‘my’ Princess Boy is really ‘our’ Princess Boy, and as a community, we can accept and support youth for whoever they are and however they wish to look.

This Day in June

In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, this title welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. Also included is a reading guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways.

Stella Brings the Family

Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family.

And this is just the beginning! There are so many fantastic LGBTQ+ themed picture books to discover and share, so get thee to a library and check them out!

Aromantic 101 with Claudie Arsenault

We’re thrilled to welcome author Canadian author Claudie Arseneault to the blog today!

Happy February 19, 2017 everyone–or, as my community as come to know it, the start of this year’s Aromantic Awareness Week!

When I was invited to guest blog here on aromanticism, I wasn’t sure what to talk about. My mind was casting for a specific topic, but in truth, aromanticism is a still fairly unknown part of the QUILTBAG, and how better to start a week meant to raise awareness than with some Important Basics™

So here we go!  Start here, and keep your eyes (and search bars) ready for the rest of week!

Aromanticism 101

The standard definition of aromanticism is that one does not experience romantic attraction. This means aromantic people don’t experience crushes or intense desire to build romantic relationships with specific people. And this definition comes with a ton of caveats! Why? Because, much like asexuality (which is no sexual attraction), aromanticism is a large, complex, and diverse spectrum of experiences. Some aromantics are repulsed by the very association of romance with them while others absolutely do want a romantic partner (or several!)—they just aren’t drawn that way to anyone in particular. Add to these demiromantics (who develop attraction after a deep connection has been established), grey-aromantics (who experience it once in a never) as well as a plethora of other spectrum identities, and you have a wide variety of experiences.

Hard to universalize, isn’t it? Impossible, even. And yet we all face the struggle of erasure and dehumanization, although it can be shaped slightly differently from one aromantic to the next. So let’s look at some common PLEASE DON’T of representation.

The DON’T of Aromanticism Representation

Don’t equate humanity to romance. Some days I can’t believe this needs to be said, but it does because it happens all the time. “Love makes us all human” or “this romantic plotline really added depth/humanity to an otherwise flat character” or any more or less subtle variant. This one shows up a lot in fantasy with the Dark Evil Villain who is Incapable of Love™. Yes, I’m looking straight at Harry Potter right now.

Don’t “teach them to love”. Storylines dedicated to teaching an aromantic character (or anyone, really) to love imply that this is a problem that needs to be fixed. Characters who need to be taught how to love are typically either a) inhuman at the beginning (robots have this a lot), or b) unhappy/evil until the aforementioned teaching happens. This is dehumanizing for aromantic people and it needs to stop.

Don’t hierarchize your love. You know how people often say two lovers are “more than friends”? It’s so common it seems benign, but when aromantic people read that, what they hear is that their relationships will never reach the highest level. They are incapable of what is deemed the most complete, thorough, beautiful, and enjoyable type or relationship there is. And that’s a goddamn lie. We are fully capable of intense, fulfilling, and intimate relationships without romance. All this hierarchy does is reinforce the idea romance is the purest–as if non-romantic love isn’t every bit as valid and important. Upholding friendship and other non-romantic relationships as equal to romance is extremely validating to a lot of aromantic people.

Don’t equate aromanticism to being cold, distant, unloving, broken.  We hear those a lot already, thank you very much. Unless your character is literally freezing, avoid those words. And yes, feeling broken is a huge part of our narratives, but I heartily advise you leave that sensible ground to us.

Don’t imply or state romance is a necessary part of storytelling. Or that it makes a story deeper, more complex, etc. This overlaps a lot with my first point. And also with maintaining a hierarchy of loves. Romance is no more necessary to good storytelling than dragons: it can be super fun, but plenty of good stories exist (or should exist!) without it!

So how do you avoid all of those as a reader? Honestly, you don’t. They’re too common. But one reason I love the fantasy and science-fiction genres is how often it centres small groups–crews on a ship, adventuring parties, magical girl teams, etc. While romance is often a feature in those stories, they still typically feature other types of strong bonds, providing me with all the Good Feels I need. Now if I could get those with canon aromantic characters to boot, I would be in business!


Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic-spectrum writer hailing from the very French Québec City. Her long studies in biochemistry and immunology often sneak back into her science-fiction, and her love for sprawling casts invariably turns her novels into multi-storylined wonders. The most recent, City of Strife, comes out on February 22, 2017! Claudie is a founding member of The Kraken Collective and is well-known for her involvement in solarpunk, her database of aro and ace characters in speculative fiction, and her unending love of squids. Find out more on her website!

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