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The Insiders

Mark Oshiro

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year * An ALA Rainbow Book List Top 10 Title for Young Readers

Three kids who don't belong. A room that shouldn't exist. A year that will change everything.

Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Meg Medina, this debut middle grade novel from award-winning author Mark Oshiro is a hopeful and heartfelt coming-of-age story for anyone who's ever felt like they didn't fit in.

San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn't mean feeling different. At Héctor's new school, he couldn't feel more alone.

Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor's closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he's stumbled into a room that shouldn't be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country--and opens the door to a life-changing year full of friendship, adventure, and just a little bit of magic.

"Sometimes hilarious, sometimes devastating, but always full of heart, The Insiders carves out a space for us all to be our true selves." --Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

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King and the Dragonflies

Kacen Callender

A 2021 Coretta Scott King Honor Book!

Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Young People's Literature!

Winner of the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry!

 

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.

 

FOUR STARRED REVIEWS!

Booklist

School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

The Horn Book

 

 

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

 

 

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. You don't want anyone to think you're gay too, do you?

 

 

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King's friendship with Sandy is reignited, he's forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother's death.

 

 

 

The Thing About Jellyfish meets The Stars Beneath Our Feet in this story about loss, grief, and finding the courage to discover one's identity, from the author of Hurricane Child.

 

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The Best at It

Maulik Pancholy

From award-winning actor Maulik Pancholy comes a hilarious and heartfelt middle grade debut about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own. One of Time Out's "LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month," this is perfect for fans of Tim Federle's Nate series. A Stonewall Honor Book!

Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather, Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you're really good at and become the BEST at it.

Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul's brain. While he's not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won't be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge.... But what if he discovers he isn't the best at anything?

Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth.

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Star-Crossed

Barbara Dee

Twelve-year-old Mattie wrestles with her crush on Gemma as they participate in their school production of Romeo and Juliet in what School Library Journal calls “a fine choice for middle school libraries in need of an accessible LGBTQ stories.”

Twelve-year-old Mattie is thrilled when she learns the eighth grade play will be Romeo and Juliet. In particular, she can’t wait to share the stage with Gemma Braithwaite, who has been cast as Juliet. Gemma is brilliant, pretty—and British!—and Mattie starts to see her as more than just a friend. But Mattie has also had an on/off crush on her classmate Elijah since, well, forever. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls?

If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things offstage are beginning to resemble their own Shakespearean drama: the cast is fighting, and the boy playing Romeo may not be up to the challenge of the role. And due to a last-minute emergency, Mattie is asked to step up and take over the leading role—opposite Gemma’s Juliet—just as Mattie’s secret crush starts to become not-so-secret in her group of friends.

In this funny, sweet, and clever look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to become a lead player in her own life.

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Rick

Alex Gino

From the award-winning author of George, the story of a boy named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend.

 

Rick's never questioned much. He's gone along with his best friend, Jeff, even when Jeff's acted like a bully and a jerk. He's let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn't given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.But now Rick's gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school's Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that . . . understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world . . . and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be.

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Growing Up Trans

Lindsay Herriot

What does it mean to be young and transgender today?

Growing Up Trans shares stories, essays, art and poetry created by trans youth aged 11 to 18. In their own words, the works illustrate the trans experience through childhood, family and daily life, school, their bodies and mental health. Together the collection is a story of the challenges, big and small, of being a young trans person. At the same time, it's a toolkit for all young people, transgender or not, about what understanding, acceptance and support for the trans community looks like. In addition to the contributed works, there are questions and tips from experts in the field of transgender studies to challenge the reader on how to be a trans ally.

Growing Up Trans came out of a series of workshops held in Victoria, British Columbia, to bring together trans youth from across the country with mentors in the community.

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Spin with Me

Ami Polonsky

From the author of the critically acclaimed Gracefully Grayson comes a thoughtful and sensitive middle-grade novel about non-binary identity and first love, Ami Polonsky's Spin with Me.

In this elegant dual narrative, Essie is a thirteen-year-old girl feeling glum about starting a new school after her professor dad takes a temporary teaching position in a different town. She has 110 days here and can't wait for them to end. Then she meets Ollie, who is nonbinary. Ollie has beautiful blue eyes and a confident smile. Soon, Essie isn’t counting down the days until she can leave so much as she’s dreading when her time with Ollie will come to an end.

Meanwhile, Ollie is experiencing a crush of their own . . . on Essie. As Ollie struggles to balance their passion for queer advocacy with their other interests, they slowly find themselves falling for a girl whose stay is about to come to an end. Can the two unwind their merry-go-round of feelings before it's too late?

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The Moon Within

Aida Salazar

The dazzling story of a girl navigating friendship, family, and growing up, an Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? for the modern day, from debut author Aida Salazar.

 

****Four starred reviews!***** "A worthy successor to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret set in present-day Oakland." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewCeli Rivera's life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend's exploration of what it means to be genderfluid.But most of all, her mother's insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It's an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?A dazzling story told with the sensitivity, humor, and brilliant verse of debut talent Aida Salazar.

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Ellen Outside the Lines

A. J. Sass

Rain Reign meets Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World in this heartfelt novel about a neurodivergent thirteen-year-old navigating changing friendships, a school trip, and expanding horizons.

Thirteen-year-old Ellen Katz feels most comfortable when her life is well planned out and people fit neatly into her predefined categories. She attends temple with Abba and Mom every Friday and Saturday. Ellen only gets crushes on girls, never boys, and she knows she can always rely on her best-and-only friend, Laurel, to help navigate social situations at their private Georgia middle school. Laurel has always made Ellen feel like being autistic is no big deal. But lately, Laurel has started making more friends, and cancelling more weekend plans with Ellen than she keeps. A school trip to Barcelona seems like the perfect place for Ellen to get their friendship back on track.


Except it doesn't. Toss in a new nonbinary classmate whose identity has Ellen questioning her very binary way of seeing the world, homesickness, a scavenger hunt-style team project that takes the students through Barcelona to learn about Spanish culture and this trip is anything but what Ellen planned.

Making new friends and letting go of old ones is never easy, but Ellen might just find a comfortable new place for herself if she can learn to embrace the fact that life doesn't always stick to a planned itinerary.

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When Aidan Became a Brother

Kyle Lukoff

Stonewall Book Award Winner, American Library Association (ALA)
Rainbow List, GLBTQ Round Table, American Library Association (ALA)
Lasting Connection Title, Book Links
Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education
White Raven Selection, International Youth Library
Best Books of the Year, School Library Journal
Notable Children's Book, American Library Association (ALA)
Editor's Choice, Booklist

This sweet #ownvoices picture book celebrates the changes in a transgender boy's life, from his initial coming-out to becoming a big brother.

Winner of the 2020 Stonewall Book Award!

When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl's room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of life that didn't fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life.

Then Mom and Dad announce that they're going to have another baby, and Aidan wants to do everything he can to make things right for his new sibling from the beginning--from choosing the perfect name to creating a beautiful room to picking out the cutest onesie. But what does making things right actually mean? And what happens if he messes up? With a little help, Aidan comes to understand that mistakes can be fixed with honesty and communication, and that he already knows the most important thing about being a big brother: how to love with his whole self.

When Aidan Became a Brother is a heartwarming book that will resonate with transgender children, reassure any child concerned about becoming an older sibling, and celebrate the many transitions a family can experience.

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It Feels Good to Be Yourself

Theresa Thorn

Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between.

This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. With child-friendly language and vibrant art, It Feels Good to Be Yourself provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity.

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Papa, Daddy, and Riley

Seamus Kirst

ALA's 2021 Rainbow Book List Selection

NCSS-CBC 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Book

One of Bank Street's 2021 Best Children's Books of the Year

STARRED REVIEW! "A must-have...this is a delightful celebration of what makes a family.... Holzwarth beautifully renders the characters in a variety of hues, making the diversity showcased throughout one of the book's defining features and adding to the emotional punch of the story. All of the families look different, but the love they share makes them the same. Absolutely recommended for all children's collections and sure to be a storytime winner." --STARRED review, Booklist

Riley is Papa's princess and Daddy's dragon. She loves her two fathers! When Riley's classmate asks her which dad is her real one, Riley is confused. She doesn't want to have to pick one or the other.
Families are made of love in this heartwarming story that shows there are lots of ways to be part of one.

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Julián at the Wedding

Jessica Love

The star of Julián Is a Mermaid makes a joyful return--and finds a new friend--at a wedding to be remembered.

Julián and his abuela are going to a wedding. Better yet, Julián is in the wedding. Weddings have flowers and kissing and dancing and cake. And this wedding also has a new friend named Marisol. It's not long before Julián and Marisol set off for some magic and mischief of their own, and when things take an unexpected turn, the pair learns that everything is easier with a good friend by your side. Jessica Love returns with a joyful story of friendship and individuality in this radiant follow-up to Julián Is a Mermaid.

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Pride

Robin Stevenson

Like the original version, this new edition of Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle celebrates the LGBTQ+ community's diversity and the incredible victories of the past 50 years—but it also has a larger focus on activism, the need to keep fighting for equality and freedom around the world and the important role that young people are playing. The new edition has been updated and expanded to include many new Proud Moments and Queer Facts as well as a profile of LGBTQ+ refugees from Indonesia, a story about a Pride celebration in a refugee camp in Kenya and profiles of young activists, including teens from a Gender and Sexuality Alliance organizing Pride in Inuvik and a trans girl from Vancouver fighting for inclusion and support in schools. There is also a section on being an ally, a profile of a family with two gay dads (one of them trans) and much, much more!

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My Maddy

Gayle E. Pitman

ALA's 2021 Rainbow Book List Top Ten Title for Young Readers

Most mommies are girls. Most daddies are boys. But lots of parents are neither a boy nor a girl. Like my Maddy.

My Maddy has hazel eyes which are not brown or green. And my Maddy likes sporks because they are not quite a spoon or a fork.

Some of the best things in the world are not one thing or the other. They are something in between and entirely their own.

Randall Ehrbar, PsyD, offers an insightful note with more information about parents who are members of gender minority communities, including transgender, gender non-binary, or otherwise gender diverse people.

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Pride Puppy!

Robin Stevenson

A young child and their family are having a wonderful time together celebrating Pride Day—meeting up with Grandma, making new friends and eating ice cream. But then something terrible happens: their dog gets lost in the parade! Luckily, there are lots of people around to help reunite the pup with his family.

This rhyming alphabet book tells a lively story, with rich, colorful illustrations that will have readers poring over every detail as they spot items starting with each of the letters of the alphabet. An affirming and inclusive book that offers a joyful glimpse of a Pride parade and the vibrant community that celebrates this day each year.

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Maiden & Princess

Daniel Haack

In this modern fairy tale, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince's royal ball, but at the dance, she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place.

"The prince is smart and strong,"

she confided in her mother.

"But if I'm being honest,

I see him as a brother."

Her mother said, "Just go!

And have a bit of fun.

The prince might not be right,

but you could meet the one."

Once in a faraway kingdom, a strong, brave maiden is invited to attend the prince's royal ball, but she's not as excited to go as everyone else. After her mother convinces her to make an appearance, she makes a huge impression on everyone present, from the villagers to the king and queen, but she ends up finding true love in a most surprising place. This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.

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