Friday, October 1, 2010

Some pro-LGBT YA books to start with

Giant thank you to YA author Zetta Elliott, who quickly pointed me to a couple sites to start looking at LGBT books for children and teens.

First there's this list of Young Adult books that feature gay and lesbian characters of color courtesy of the blog The Happy Nappy Bookseller. Turns out I've read a couple of them--The Necessary Hunger by Nina Revoyr, all of whose books I've loved, and A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar. One or two others I've heard of, the rest are new titles to add to my to-read list.

Then there's the blog I'm Here, I'm Queer, What the Hell Do I Read?, whose whole purpose is to provide book information "for teens (queer or not), for librarians, for teachers, for booksellers, for people with teens in their lives and for anyone interested in YA books with GLBTQ characters and themes."

I also remembered a children's book that Teresa and I gave as a gift to a 2-year-old a few years ago. The Sissy Duckling by actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein. This is a sweet, lovely book with a delicious story and wonderful message. I don't remember if the 2-year-old liked it much, but we sure did.

Queer-positive books are absolutely vital for young people--not only for LGBT youths as aids to their self-esteem, as bulwarks against the devastating vicious mistreatment they so often receive at school and elsewhere. The really big challenge is to change the consciousness of their straight peers. What will it take to stop the bashing, the bullying, the twittering, tittering, humiliating, scapegoating? It will take many things, including an uptick in the movement, but I'm also a big believer in the power of books so I have have to believe that getting these books into teens' hands, getting them to read about what life is like for their victims, might play a role in convincing them to stop victimizing.