LGBTQ+ Books for Tweens

In a world where LGBTQ+ representation in books is still a battleground for acceptance, it’s crucial to provide tweens with a safe and inclusive space to explore their identities. With the ongoing struggle against laws like the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” legislation and increasing attempts to ban LGBTQ+ books from schools and libraries, there has never been a more important time to celebrate and amplify queer voices. This curated list of LGBTQ+ books for tweens is designed to not only offer relatable and authentic stories for queer youth but also to serve as a powerful reminder to all kids that their experiences and identities are valid and deserving of representation.

As kids see themselves reflected in the books they read, they gain a sense of empowerment, validation, and the knowledge that they are not alone in their journey, fostering empathy, understanding, and unity among all readers. Embrace the power of stories and explore this collection of LGBTQ+ books for tweens, where young hearts and minds can find solace, inspiration, and the courage to embrace their true selves.

no no 9780385376556 The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

The Fletchers are no different from any modern American family — four brothers, various pets (some possibly imaginary), soccer, plays, and pesky neighbors. The fact that the fathers are gay and a few of the brothers are adopted? That’s just background, showing readers without telling them that there as many definitions of family as there are families.

9780593485712 Blood City Rollers by V.P. Anderson, illustrated by Tatiana Hill

This thrilling and hilarious graphic novel combines the supernatural with roller derby, creating a captivating story of self-discovery and belonging. Mina, a talented ice skater, finds herself thrust into the world of Paranormal Roller Derby after a mishap at a competition, becoming the human addition to a vampire team. As she navigates the challenges of the game, develops a crush, and embraces her unique place within her newfound queer and found family, Blood City Rollers delivers a delightful and action-packed adventure that will leave readers wanting more.

9780593646298 The School for Invisible Boys by Shaun David Hutchinson

After his best friend completely rejected him when he asked if they could be boyfriends, Hector wants nothing more than to be invisible. Then he actually does disappear and discovers a darker side of his school — one of mysteries, monsters, and another invisible boy in need of saving. A spine-tingling adventure with relatable characters, sprinkles of humor, and a dash of scary that kids are sure to love.

9781953424280 Rebel Girls Celebrate Pride: 25 Tales of Self-Love and Community by Rebel Girls and Elena Favilli

Introduce your kid to 25 inspiring rebels who live authentically, break barriers, and embrace their unique qualities. This full-color book spotlights influential women, girls, and nonbinary people who made a difference in the LGBTQ+ community. Each biography contains a QR code where you can listen to more information about that person.

9780593564318 Alex Wise vs. the End of the World by Terry J. Benton-Walker

If you want to start an adventurous, apocalyptic new series with Black queer representation and plenty of humor, this is it. Between family drama, far-away friends, and a shadowy creature stalking him, Alex feels like the world is ending — and it might be. When his sister gets kidnapped and possessed by the ancient spirit of death, Alex must use his new magical powers to fight off the four horsemen of the apocalypse and save her and the rest of the world. Alex’s summer is going to be epic!

9780593226780 Pride Parade Mad Libs by Brandon T. Snider

Celebrating Pride has never been so [adjective]! Pride Parade Mad Libs features 21 fill-in-the-blank games all about Pride. From the parade to pioneers who fought for LGBTQ+ rights and the history of Stonewall, your tween will learn while laughing all the way to the parade!

9780593379493 Obi is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar

Obie, a transgender tween, navigates the choppy waters of transition, leaving behind familiar comforts to discover where he truly belongs. As he joins a new swim team, Obie grapples with bullies, seeks support from family, and finds unexpected connections, all while striving to prove himself as one of the fastest swimmers and embracing his first crush, Charlie.

9780593523643 Crushing It by Erin Becker

Take Bend it Like Beckham and You’ve Got Mail and make it all about 8th-grade soccer, and you’ve got this wonderful tender novel about first romance, queer identity and learning how to be brave when it matters the most.

9780593484685 Answers in the Pages by David Levithan

Censorship, wit, and humor combine into a highly relatable story from beloved YA author David Levithan. It’s about a boy named Donovan who enjoys reading the adventure novel his English teacher assigned — until his mother reads it and wants to ban it from school. Donovan must decide between staying quiet (and out of the spotlight) or speaking up for what he feels is right.

9780451479402 Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker

Zenobia July is a hacking and coding prodigy who’s attending a new school as a girl for the first time. Though she’s recently lost her family of origin, she creates a chosen family in the LGBTQ+ community. Bunker’s also the author of Felix Yz, an imaginative story with several characters who are queer and gender fluid.

9780593111208 Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff

Annabelle’s predictable life takes a surprising turn when a nonbinary student arrives in town. As she navigates her first crush and comes to terms with her father’s revelation about being trans, Annabelle begins to see her community in a new light, prompting her to take a stand and fight.

9780147515797 The Best Man by Richard Peck

Archer wants to grow up to be just like the three best men he knows – his grandpa, his dad, and his uncle Paul. When Uncle Paul and Archer’s teacher, Mr. McLeod, start dating, Archer discovers the true meaning of masculinity, friendship, and love. A humorous and heartwarming read that you can’t help but love.

9780525517511 The Whispers by Greg Howard

A fantastical coming-of-age story about loss, friendship, and identity, The Whispers centers around 11-year-old Riley, who believes in wish-granting fairies known as the whispers. Riley embarks on a journey with his friend Gary to find the whispers and ask for his mom to return, and maybe also for his crush Dylan to like him back.

9780593382943 Pride: An Inspirational History of the LGBTQ+ Movement by Stella Caldwell, foreword by Layton Williams

Take a walk through the ages with this colorful history of the LGBTQ+ movement. From prominent historical figures to pushes for equality, this book gives readers an in-depth look at how society has changed over the centuries. With full-color photos, illustrations, and inspiration, it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to celebrate LGBTQ+ history.

9780525517528 Middle School’s a Drag, You Better Werk! by Greg Howard

Another excellent middle grade novel from the author of The Whispers, this book follows entrepreneurial 12-year-old Mikey Pruitt as he starts his own talent agency and represents clients in the leadup to the big talent show. Among his roster is eighth-grader Julian Vasquez — drag queen name Coco Caliente — who helps Mikey see that he, too, can be openly gay at school.

9780525553243 To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

This epistolary novel co-written by two powerhouse authors captures the budding friendship between bookish Avery Bloom and fearless Bett Devlin, whose dads fall in love and send them to sleepaway camp to get to know each other. Witty and heartwarming, To Night Owl From Dogfish subtly portrays two modern families on their way to becoming one.

9780593303979 This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us edited by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby

The entire collection presents a delightful reading experience, showcasing a diverse range of LGBTQ+ kids and their identities. Some stories put a strong focus on the main character’s identity, while in others, it simply forms a part of their overall character. This book holds significance for queer children, allowing them to read and see themselves reflected, while also giving cisgender and heterosexual children the opportunity to recognize that queer kids are, above all, kids just like them.

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