There's going to be an be an LGBT focus to all our activity on the site this week, including something for all ages. Here's an overview of what's coming up .
We want to say a big thank you to everyone (site members, authors, tweeters) who has recommended books that have changed or added to their perspective on anything LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) for this blog so far. What LGBT gems have we missed? If you've read a mind-expanding LGBT book share it on Twitter @GdnChildrensBks or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add more books to the list throughout this week!
Hawwa, site member
Far From You by Tess Sharpe was an eye-opening novel that really changed my perspective on LGBT and was a refreshing stance to read from concerning love because who's slightly sick of stereotypical boy-girl romances? *raises hand*
The Dormouse, site member
The book that really made me reflect on homophobia issues was What's up with Jody Barton? by Hayley Long. The emotions of the character really opened my eyes to the way that feelings for any person (opposite gender or not) can be confusing and play around with your self confidence and happiness across all aspects of your life. It reaffirmed for me that something with such an impact on a person as who they fall in love with should be respected, no matter who the feelings are for.
James Dawson, author of Cruel Summer
Every Day by David Levithan forced me to examine my own position on gender and sexuality and whether they even matter. Body-jumping character 'A' has no fixed gender and simply falls in love with a girl called Rhiannon. Through her, the reader must address their own hang ups. A fantastic, mind-altering read.
Linda Newberry, author of The Shell House
I'd like to add three books which were out there well before the repeal of Section 28: Dance on My Grave and Postcards from No Mans Land, by Aidan Chambers, and The Other Side of the Fence by Jean Ure.
Andrew Smith, author of Grasshopper Jungle
I love Benjamin Alire Saenz's beautifully written novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe because of the straightforward, comfortable, and compassionate way Saenz presents his characters that, I think, truly opens readers' eyes and minds to the wholeness and humanness of gay adolescents.
David Levithan, author of Two Boys Kissing
Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat opened my mind to the notion that life and circumstance are as much about music they are about plot, by combining the fantastical with the painful.
Darren Stein, filmmaker and director of GBF
The queerness of Katherine Dunne's Geek Love
really spoke to me. It was about otherness in the form of a tight-knit family of circus freaks who are portrayed in such harrowing, baroque detail while still being profoundly human in their grotesqueness.
Lili Wilkinson, author of Pink and Love Shy
I'm loving the relatively recent expansion of LGBT fiction into fantasy and SF, with titles like Alaya Dawn Johnson's The Summer Prince, set in a futuristic Brazil, the story merges love, art, technology, rebellion, and ritual sacrifice, all with a fluidity of race and sexuality that is truly refreshing.
Alice Oseman, 19-year-old author of Solitaire published July 2014
I'm a teenager. So it's probably unsurprising that it was John Green who introduced me to the vast universe of contemporary YA fiction. And it was Will Grayson, Will Grayson, co-written by him and David Levithan, which first brought me to books featuring LGBT+ characters. A fun but poignant, unabashedly fabulous and often heart-breaking novel; it is the reason why I will always include LGBT+ characters in my writing. Not only does it effortlessly merge LGBT+ themes into its story, but it also proves that being LGBT+ does not have to be the most interesting or important thing about a person.
Susie Day, author of the Pea series
I recommend Pretend You Love Me by Julie Anne Peters, which I read as an adult. It's got it all: a plainly doomed (but utterly convincing) first love, family crisis, fear of the future. The intense claustrophobia of a small Kansas farm town is reflected in the dense, vivid writing, but what really stands out is protagonist Mike. Popular culture is pleasingly reluctant to stereotype, but that means we don't often see a 'butch' lesbian teen on-screen or in fiction; I found it a compelling, refreshing and unapologetic insight.
Joanne Horniman, author of About a Girl
Kitchen, by Banana Yoshimoto. After Mikage's grandmother dies and she is left alone, she accepts an invitation to move in for a while with two people she barely knows: Yuichi and his mother, a beautiful transvestite who owns a bar. This short, elegant novel, with its deceptively simple and often colloquial style is full of warmth; a meditation on loss, loneliness, the human heart, love, acceptance and kitchens, at once quotidian and transcendent, a book larger in scope and depth than you'd expect from its little over a hundred pages; a book I never tire of reading.
Avery, site member
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children because of its ability to address transgender issues without making them the only focus of the novel (also, Gabe, the main character, is the most adorable young man since forever). Every Day by David Levithan was also amazing because its main character switched bodies every day, changing genders and sexualities with his body.
Liz Kessler, author of North of Nowhere
I'm going to recommend the very first and the most recent LGBT-themed books I've read. The first, which I read many years ago whilst at university, was Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. As this was many (too many!) years ago, I'm afraid I can't really remember that much about it – but I remember loving it. The most recent LGBT-themed book I read was Malorie Blackman's wonderful Boys Don't Cry. I loved every bit of this book, and, well, boys might not cry but I certainly did. A LOT!
@JenoSkello, on email
One book which has impacted my life is The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth. I read it when it first came out a few years ago, and it blew me away. It was such a true and emotional story, and beautifully written. After I'd finished I was overjoyed that such a book is out there and winning awards and recognition in the LGBT *and* mainstream book world so there's more chance that it would fall into the hands of a teenager struggling with their identity. It's the sort of book I wish I'd had when I was younger, but I'm so so happy it's in the world for teens today.
Alice, site member
I am 18 and have been reading voraciously throughout my teens so I have a few books to recommned. First Luna by Julie Anne Peters - it's about a girl whose sibling is a trans girl, still in the closet and coming to terms with it.It completely changed my perspective on trans- and otherwise non-gender conforming people. I had never really thought about it, only dismissed them as weird, and suddenly I understood how one could be trapped, and how being recognised as the gender you are matters. Especially I was struck at how Luna had always felt this way, even as a little girl in a boy's body.I think it's great as an introduction for people who know nothing about being transgender and who have assumptions already (don't we all?). Also Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner – very original, with a queer twist I did not expect (and nor did the narrator.), which made it all that much more sweet. And Every Day by David Levithan – in which A wakes up in a new body everyday. This book was amazing at showing all the different experiences we have, and how much gender and body doesn't matter in loving- and how it does at the same time. Reading this felt like taking a big swig of compassion. Finally More Than This by Patrick Ness – this book touched two of my experiences: being queer and being depressed/not OK. It was page turning and scary, and a lot bigger than can be resumed really. The love of the main character for Gudmund, though, was heartbreakingly beautiful.Conclusion is: more queer books needed! and more queer books that aren't just about being queer. And more girls. :)
Hai Tran, site member
Ahh, LGBT! LGBT has been a remarkable issue in this century, where prejudice against lesbians and gays is gradually disappearing, and people are given more freedom to express their true selves. So far, I have not read many books about LGBT for my country has just passed a law which allows homosexual loves recently. My favorite LGBT book is Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. Oh, dear Mr Levithan, I sincerely thank you for guiding me to the LGBT world! Other great books about LGBT are Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Nina from teen blog Death, Books and Tea
Luna by Julie Anne Peters is one of the few books that made me cry. It's the tale of transgirl Luna seen through her sister's eyes, and the ending is hopeful and beautiful.
Two Boys Kissing by David Leviathan has this chorus of men who died of Aids narrating it which provides perspective on past, current and future generations of gay teens, and it really made me think about how lucky I, as a queer teen, am to be growing up in a world where attitudes towards queer people are slowly changing for the better.
Pantomime by Laura Lam appreciative of a book that, unlike some people and some media when it comes up, recognises and addresses gender identity and sexual orientation as totally separate things.
On Twitter @caaulfield
Will Grayson, Will Grayson :-) by David Levithan
On Twitter @tanya_rayax
The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
On Twitter @Anna_RobertsX
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff – what a book
On Twitter @YABirmingham
Definitely 'Kiss in the Dark' by @cat_clarke for me.
On Twitter @SpeakingofBks
Far From You (Tess Sharpe) More Than This (Patrick Ness) and Being a Boy (James Dawson).
On Twitter @Pinkmad17 - Laura Jones (check if site member)
Can I suggest nominate Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.
On Twitter @theTLtweets
Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
Caitlin, site member
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan: One of the first (if not the first) LGBT book I read almost ten years ago. It's wonderful and touching and made and makes me feel so positive.
Pretty Things by Sarra Manning: another kinda old one, but one of the most realistic portrayals of bisexuality out there and full of really genuine and different characters. Far From You by Tess Sharpe: It's a fairly new book but it's just so impactful. It has this really intense plotline and the relationship element was so perfect and so fraught and so tragic in a truly exquisite way. Pantomime by Laura Lam: Hard to describe this one without giving away too many spoilers, but it touches on the elements of LGBT that are less looked at in a really genuine and important way but in this extraordinarily rich and detailed universe.
BJ Epstein, author of Are The Kids All Right?
I Am J by Cris Beam: This is a good trans YA novel because unlike most such works, the focus isn't only on gender. While J does face some difficult times, other issues also come up, such as arguing with friends, changing schools, developing hobbies, applying to art school, dating, and dreams for the future. I also like it because it features ethnic and religious diversity.
Aneta, site member
I live in a society that thinks gay people are mentally ill. I have been taught to stay away from them, and any movies featuring them are social taboo. Even my friends who are the so called "new generation" have a laissez-faire attitude towards the LGBT. I used to be anti-LGBT. If I changed my ideology, it's because I read. It's because some writers were able to convince me that human beings are not assembly line products.I have since read a lot of books that I have shelved as LGBT. But only two books actually made me think about it and have serious midnight discussions with my friends.
Two Boys Kissing - David Levithan – I love a book that uses lyrical prose. couple that with a Greek chorus narration and I'm in love. The narrators tell us about different people with a main plot as a thread. And I loved the brazen cover. I loved the shock people showed when they saw it. Beautiful Music For Ugly Children – I can't claim to have read a lot about trangender people. With the kind of title it has, I had to pick it up. This wasn't a story that demanded sympathy, it just wanted to tell itself.
Emily C, site member
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
It's an important book because there really are not that many books that portray transgender teens for young adults out there, particularly not as main characters. Gabe is a great, memorable character, and also a very relatable one. It's also a good book because it is not ONLY about the fact he's transgender, though that's a big part of it. It's important because not only does it provide relevant information and a character to identify with for trans teens, it also helps cisgender teens to understand somewhat what it is like to be trans, and hopefully will help them to be more accepting of people different from them.
Alan Gibbons, author of Hate
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown was one of the first novels I came across that featured a gay or lesbian character who came across as a real person. Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit had a big impact partly because I shared the characters' northern chapel background and the sense of claustrophobic morality."
On Twitter @RPS_Library
My Most Excellent Year, by Steve Kluger. One of the happiest, most loving books I've ever read and and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray! Hilarious and empowering.
On Twitter @mabel_tsui
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall.
On email, Andrew
I found a beautiful colouring in book last week called Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon by Jacinta Bunnell and Nathaniel Kusinitz. I immediately bought it, and the next thing on my shopping list is some colouring pencils!
On email, Sian Cain
Without a doubt, Maurice by EM Forster is both the most romantic and the bravest book I have ever read. Written in 1913 but published posthumously in 1971, this classic novel is filled with Forster's longing and hope for society's eventual acceptance and recognition of gay relationships.
On Twitter @mark_suenA boy's Own Story by Edmund white.
On Twitter @JamesMackayCyp
And Tango Makes Three and 10,000 Dresses.
On email, Jonathan
For younger children I like these two picture books. They aren't my child's favourite, but I like them and they are both lovely stories that feature same sex relationships. King and King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland and Hello Sailor by Andre Sollie and Ingrid Godon.
MillenniumRIOT, site members
Our favourites are The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky, Pantomime by Laura Lam and Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green.
Two Weeks with the Queen
Release date: 03/01/1991