Books are often one of the first places we find ourselves. Through this new understanding comes an enduring lesson: self-acceptance. Regular trips to the library give kids the power to pull whatever grabs them from the shelves, shut the bedroom door and open the world outside. We don’t always have the language to describe ourselves when we’re kids, but books give us the words and the freedom to own them. Books help us see that every color of the rainbow is beautiful as we keep on learning about ourselves and about one another, and as our world and our culture continue to change.
In the past, LBGTQIA+ authors haven’t always made the bestseller lists, but luckily, that’s changed. Today, queer characters can be found in every genre imaginable. These 12 books explore queer issues, include representation of queer characters or are written by queer authors, but the common thread among them is they’re all stories you’ll carry with you. Books for kids, teens and adults are included because it’s never too late, or too early, to read about people and stories as wonderfully diverse as the world we live in. By no means exhaustive or inclusive of every experience, this colorful reading list gives us all a chance to find ourselves, explore another angle and amplify and support LGBTQIA+ voices and stories.
Pink, Blue, and You! by Elise Gravel
Is it okay for boys to cry? Can girls be strong? This colorful and accessible picture books thoughtfully answers questions for kids about gender stereotypes. Written with the help of transgender collaborator Mykaell Blais, this book is the perfect tool to help start an important conversation.
My Own Way by Joana Estrela
Pink or blue? It’s up to you! This book helps to teach children that there’s no “right” way to be, and encourages the reader to follow their own path.
Heartstopper, Volume 4 by Alice Oseman
Now streaming on Netflix, this popular romance series is a sweet and charming coming-of-age story about two boys that explore friendship, love and coming out.
Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram
This smart and swoon-worthy novel follows a boy band star who goes through his first break-up and his first rebound, and learns what it means to be queer in the public eye.
Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais
This uplifting, feminist coming-of-age love story is about an introverted young woman who dreams of becoming a tattoo artist in 1985, when the tattooing industry is still very much a man’s world.
Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman
A whirlwind romance between an eccentric archivist and a grieving widow explores what it means to be at home in your own body.
I’m So Not Over You by Kosoko Jackson
One of the most anticipated reads of 2022, this swoony romantic comedy about a second chance romance underlines the importance of finding a love that makes us happier and stronger, with a lot of laughs along the way.
All the Things We Don’t Talk About by Amy Feltman
An expansive portrait of a thoroughly modern family, this story of betrayal and trauma follows a neurodivergent father, his nonbinary teenager and the sudden, catastrophic reappearance of the woman who abandoned them.
Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong
In this second collection of poetry, Vuong searches for life among the aftershocks of his mother’s death.
Ma and Me by Putsata Reang
The author explores love, debt and duty in this deeply moving memoir. At just 11 months old, her family fled war-torn Cambodia. As a dutiful daughter, she works to make her mother proud, but familial struggle follows when she decides to marry a woman.
Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby
This highly anticipated memoir is from Australia’s much-loved comedian whose stand-up comedy led to her Netflix special, Nanette, and is written with her signature blistering honesty.
I Was Better Last Night by Harvey Fierstein
A poignant and hilarious memoir from the cultural icon and gay rights activist, revealing never-before-told stories of his personal struggles and conflict, sex and romance, and his fabled career.
Looking for more?