2019 has been a great year for children’s books so far. We are seeing so many own-voices books, although there is still a long way to go. Some of my favorites from the first half of the year have a common theme—LGBTQ+. I host a bi-weekly Baby & Toddler Storytime so I am always on the lookout for new board books. I’m also an avid reader of middle-grade fiction. Below are some of my favorites!
Two board books that recently arrived at the library are My Two Moms and Me and My Two Dads and Me, both by Michael Joosten. What makes these board books great are they show simple activities babies and toddlers participate in every day. They also work well with our communities because they are very city-centric. Another of my favorite board books is Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson. It not only teaches colors but shows beautiful children with their families. All three are bold and bright and show pride!
One of my favorite middle grade novels I read this year is The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake. Sunny has a weak heart but a strong personality. With open-heart surgery looming, she decides to go on a kissing mission. Even though in her mind her first kiss will be with a boy, Sunny soon starts to have feelings for the new girl in town. Sunny has a lot to deal with in this book, most of which will make you laugh and cry. In the end, Sunny realizes that wanting to kiss both boys and girls is okay and feelings are constantly changing. If you’re looking for another character-driven middle grade novel, check out Blake’s other book, Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World.
One of my favorite graphic novel series, which can be found in both the children’s and teen sections of the library (they have broad appeal for sure), is Lumberjanes. The newest volume is Time After Crime. In this book, Molly is reluctant to go home where she feels she doesn’t fit in. To stall the inevitable, she makes a deal with a mysterious voice in the woods to slow down time. If you’ve read any of the previous 10 volumes, you know that this is met with disaster. Some of the best parts of this series are the friendships, the love, the diversity, and the adventures.
I’m currently in the middle of reading another LGBTQ+ middle grade novel, Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby, which was just published in May. While reading this book, it’s becoming very clear that Fig, the sixth-grade main character, is developing a crush on an older girl. The thing that sticks out to me thus far is that this is just a part of her but not the whole. Sometimes it’s important to show children that it’s normal to have these feelings without making it the center of everything.
Have you read any good LGBTQ+ children’s books lately? I’m always looking for recommendations, so feel free to leave some in the comments!