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Top 10 Tuesday: LGBTQ Pride Month and Steph’s Top Ten LGBT YA Picks!

So it’s June, already.  Summer Reading is in full swing for many public libraries and for your lucky, lucky school librarians, you should be headed toward some much needed rest and reading time!  But June is also a very important month: LGBTQ Pride Month.  I am a huge gay rights advocate and I think to be a culturally competent librarian, you must immerse yourself in ALL cultures so that you are always able to find the right book for the right reader.  So, here are my top ten picks for LGBTQ YA reads!  

I have to start this post with Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.  I grew up in a community that was ‘sheltered’ per say but definitely everyone had their own opinion about everything.  And it was highly religious (not that there is anything wrong with being a person of faith…I am one and a proud Christian).   I had been involved in a lot of community theater so homosexuality wasn’t something I was unfamiliar with but I just had a few gay guy friends and I didn’t worry too much about their lives.

I am grateful for this book because it made me shake my views of homosexuality.  Before, I didn’t really care about my gay friends and about their struggles and I rarely even saw them outside of the theater where they were largely accepted.  Instead, it opened my eyes to a new community where gay people were…SHOCKER…just people.  They went through the same things that I did as a straight girl and then again, they went through a lot of hell to be the person they were.  Some endured too much.  Others didn’t have a problem.  But by and large, this book taught me that tolerance isn’t really enough.  It taught me about acceptance and about welcoming everyone in my life on equal levels.

So this book is and always will be my #1 LGBTQ pick.  I even was lucky enough to have a wonderful friend get this for me when he was in New York with David.  I may have cried when I opened the package.  Okay…I did.
Now, here is a a Top 10 Pick that I haven’t even read but I’m completely trusting my co-blogger’s judgement on…Karen has been RAVING about Ask the Passengers by A.S. King since she got home from TLA (Texas Library Association).  Now, A.S. King is a pretty amazing author (and my birthday buddy…March 10 FTW!) so I totally trust her work and Karen’s judgement.  (And A.S. King made sure that I note that her book is really about the Q of the LGBTQ initialism so I made sure to add my Q in the post.  Unfortunately, the pic I made already had LGBT in it….)  Since I haven’t read it…this is from Goodreads about the book:  
Astrid Jones copes with her small town’s gossip and narrow-mindedness by staring at the sky and imagining that she’s sending love to the passengers in the airplanes flying high over her backyard. Maybe they’ll know what to do with it. Maybe it’ll make them happy. Maybe they’ll need it. Her mother doesn’t want it, her father’s always stoned, her perfect sister’s too busy trying to fit in, and the people in her small town would never allow her to love the person she really wants to: another girl named Dee. There’s no one Astrid feels she can talk to about this deep secret or the profound questions that she’s trying to answer. But little does she know just how much sending her love–and asking the right questions–will affect the passengers’ lives, and her own, for the better. 

I am hoping to get a copy at ALA!  I have to read this book!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another excellent book by an amazing woman who I absolutely love to pieces is Scars by Cheryl Rainfield (finally available in e-book format!).  Scars takes a really deep look at childhood sexual abuse, cutting, and homosexuality and the effect on everyone involved but the beauty of this book is that it doesn’t focus so much on the issues as it focuses on Kendra, the characters, and her recovery.  This is what makes this a powerful read.  And as an interesting note, some of the story is autobiographical and, in fact, the arm depicted on the cover is actually Cheryl’s. 
Some of my favorite YA LGBTQ books are coming of age novels in which the teens themselves realize that they may be different and are working to either accept themselves or to help others accept them.   I think that these books are some of the better types of LGBTQ books because I feel as if many teens live in a self-discovery phase and if you read about a character that is experiencing the same thing…total connection.  Some of my favorite self-discovery books are….
Many books don’t focus on transgendered characters.  There have been several that I can name off the top of my head but one of my favorites is a newer book by Tanita S. Davis called Happy Families in which two middle grade students must learn how to cope, understand, and eventually accept their Dad’s decision to be a transgendered male.  Not to mention, this cover is PERFECT!
Now my last two picks are actually just excellent reads because they come from three of my all-time favorite authors.  The first is Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.  One night, two boys, both named Will Grayson will meet and their worlds will collide in ways that only Nerdfighters, Levithan-Lovers, oh and just all of humanity can enjoy.  Fall in love with Tiny and take my word for it.
And the last book pick that I have is Shine by Lauren Myracle.  After a gay teen is found tied to a gas pump with the pump shoved down his throat and left for dead, a small town girl decides to uncover the mystery of who tried to kill her friend. 
Many of you remember this book because of the Shine/Chime mixup during the National Book Award debacle.  Shine did not win the award BUT Lauren Myracle did have the National Book Foundation give special $5,000 grant to the Matthew Shepard Foundation at her request.  For those of you not familiar with Matthew Shepard and his story, Matthew was killed in 1998 after a horrific hate crime in which he was severely assaulted, beaten, and then left to die in a field tied to a split rail fence.

Leslea Neman recently wrote a book which will be published in September of this year, almost 14 years after Matthew Shepard’s death, called October Mourning.  It is a novel in verse and it is her response tot he events of that day.  In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month, we will be giving away an ARC copy of October Mourning via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway