I love getting reader’s advisory questions at work for LGBTQ+ literature. Picture books? Got you covered. YA? Huge list. Adult? No problem.
Middle grade? Ehhhh…
We have certainly come leaps and strides in the last several years in regards to the quantity and quality of LGBTQ+ books, but there is unfortunately still a gap in Middle Grade (ages 9-12) LGBTQ+ material. When kids have moved beyond picture books but aren’t yet ready for the teen collection, there isn’t a whole lot we can provide for them. Sure, there are a few, like George by Alex Gino, The Lottery’s Plus One by Emma Donoghue, and Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee, so it’s not like nothing exists in the genre, but there is definitely not the variety we have with other age groups.
However, 2018 is here to the rescue! We’ve got a plethora of recently released and upcoming MG LGBTQ+ books this year!
One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock (Published February 27, 2018)
A heartening story of two girls who discover their friendship is something more. But how, among their backward town, will Sam and Allie face what they know is true about themselves?
Welcome to Daniel Boone Middle School in the 1970s, where teachers and coaches must hide who they are, and girls who like girls are forced to question their own choices. Presented in the voice of a premier storyteller, One True Way sheds exquisite light on what it means to be different, while at the same time being wholly true to oneself. Through the lives and influences of two girls, readers come to see that love is love is love. Set against the backdrop of history and politics that surrounded gay rights in the 1970s South, this novel is a thoughtful, eye-opening, look at tolerance, acceptance, and change, and will widen the hearts of all readers.
P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy (Published March 6, 2018)
Eleven-year-old Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. But when her parents forbid her to even speak to Cilla, she starts sending letters. Evie writes letters about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend.
As she becomes better friends with June, Evie begins to question her sexual orientation. She can only imagine what might happen if her parents found out who she really is. She could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn’t writing back.
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (Published March 6, 2018)
When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm–and what’s worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.
Mysteriously, Ivy’s drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks–and hopes–that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?
A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers (Published March 13, 2018)
Twelve-year-old Natalia Rose Baleine Gallagher loves possibilities: the possibility that she’ll see whales on the beach near her new home, the possibility that the transgender boy she just met will become her new best friend, the possibility that the paparazzi hounding her celebrity father won’t force them to move again. Most of all, Nat dreams of the possibility that her faraway mother misses her, loves her, and is just waiting for Nat to find her.
But how can Nat find her mother if she doesn’t even know who she is? She abandoned Nat as a baby, and Nat’s dad refuses to talk about it. Nat knows she shouldn’t need a mom, but she still feels like something is missing, and her questions lead her on a journey of self-discovery that will change her life forever.
Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (Published March 27, 2018)
Twelve-year-old Caroline is a Hurricane Child, born on Water Island during a storm. Coming into this world during a hurricane is unlucky, and Caroline has had her share of bad luck already. She’s hated by everyone in her small school, she can see things that no one else can see, and — worst of all — her mother left home one day and never came back. With no friends and days filled with heartache, Caroline is determined to find her mother.
When a new student, Kalinda, arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, seems to see the things Caroline sees, too. Joined by their common gift, Kalinda agrees to help Caroline look for her mother, starting with a mysterious lady dressed in black. Soon, they discover the healing power of a close friendship between girls.
Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow (Expected Publication: June 26, 2018)
Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat.
Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse.
Now, she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods.
But this summer brings big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself falling for a girl at camp named Adeline. To top it off, Melly’s not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock ‘n’ roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?
My Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer (Expected Publication: September 15, 2018)
Ten-year-old Caspar “Caz” Cadman loves baseball and has a great arm. He loves the sounds, the smells, the stats. When his family moves from Toronto to a suburb of Seattle, the first thing he does is try out for the local summer team, the Redburn Ravens. Even though Caz is thrilled when he makes the team, he worries because he has a big secret.
No one knows that back in Toronto, Caz used to live life as a girl named Cassandra. And it’s nobody’s business. Caz will tell his new friends when he’s ready.
But when a player on a rival team starts snooping around, Caz’s past is revealed, and Caz worries it will be Toronto all over again.
Will Caz’s teammates rally behind their star pitcher? Or will Caz be betrayed once more?
A heartwarming, funny, fast-paced story about the bravery it takes to live as your true self, no matter the cost.