June is Pride Month

This Book is Banned - Pride Flag

J
une is Pride Month! So, read a book from the ALA’s rainbow list. Or choose from books that have received the Stonewall Book Award for exceptional merit relating to the gay/ lesbian/ bisexual/ transgender experience.

Books by and about the LGBTQ+ community are the most frequent targets of bans at public schools and libraries across the country. (Right up there with books about race, racism, or those with characters of color.)[1] And these challenges explicitly state that young people shouldn’t be exposed to LGBTQ+ material.[2]

An extension of this thinking is evident in attempts by policymakers nationwide to prohibit drag shows and banning gender-affirming care. They’re also pushing to allow the deadnaming of transgender students or adults in the workplace, as well as other measures that target LGBTQ+ people.[3] Which is why it’s essential to fight against book banning.

Because books have the ability to give us a glimpse into lives and experiences other than our own. And as a result, see those whose life experience is different from ours as fellow human beings rather than a frightening Other. Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir Gender Queer is a perfect example. Unfortunately, according to the American Library Association (ALA) Gender Queer continues to be at the top of the banned book list.[4]

This Book is Banned-Gender Queer Cover

Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, started writing this memoir as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual. But Gender Queer turned out to be more than a personal story. It’s a touching, insightful and useful guide on gender identity for friends, advocates, and humans everywhere.[5]

Many other books are facing similar trials, including George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue, Mike Curato’s Flamer, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, John Green’s Looking for Alaska, Jonathan Evison’s Lawn Boy and Juno Dawson’s This Book Is Gay.[6]

So, read a book from the ALA’s rainbow list in support of Pride Month. Or choose from books, like Gender Queer, that have received the Stonewall Book Award for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience. But don’t limit choices from these lists to the month of June, show support for Pride year round.

.
Stonewall Honor books in Literature:

  • Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman (Penguin JBooks)
  • Dominant Genes by SJ Sindu (Black Lawerence Press)
  • How to Identify Yourself with a Wound by KB Brookins (Kallista Gaia Press)

.
Stonewall Honor Books in Non-Fiction:

  • Refusing Compulsory Sexuality: A Black Asexual Lens on Our Sex-Obsessed Culture by Sherronda J. Brown (North Atlantic Books)
  • High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir by Edgar Gomez (Soft Skull Press)
  • Voice of the Fish: A Lyric Essay by Lars Horn (Graywolf Press)

.
Stonewall Honor Books in Children’s and Young Adult Literature:

  • In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington (Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, a Division of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, illustrated by Daniel Sousa (Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
  • The Real Riley Mayes written and illustrated by Rachel Elliott (Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, and HarperAlley, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Strong by Rob Kearney and Eric Rosswood, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani (Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)
  • I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (Wednesday Books)
  • Kings of B’More by R. Eric Thomas (Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
  • Man o’War by Cory McCarthy (Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
  • The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson (Heartdrum, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) [7]

#ALA Rainbow List       #Celebrations       #LGBTQ+ authors          #Pride Month

Endnotes:

[1] Kasey Meehan, Jonathan Friedman. “Banned in the USA: State Laws Supercharge Book Suppression in Schools.” April 20, 2023. PEN America.https://pen.org/report/banned-in-the-usa-state-laws-supercharge-book-suppression-in-schools/

[2] Hillel Italie. “’Gender Queer’ tops library group’s list of challenged books.” AP News. https://apnews.com/article/most-challenged-books-2022-list-c39af4320afb16525cb0fd911c9ffed4

[3] Scott McFetridge, Anthony Izagirre and Sara Cline. “School library book bans are seen as targeting LGBTQ content.” March 20, 2023.  AP News. https://apnews.com/article/lgbtq-book-bans-91b2d4c086eb082cbecfdda2800ef29a

[4] Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2023. American Library Association. https://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10 

[5] Simon and Schuster.com  https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Gender-Queer-A-Memoir/Maia-Kobabe/9781549304002

[6] Hillel Italie. “’Gender Queer’ tops library group’s list of challenged books.” AP News. https://apnews.com/article/most-challenged-books-2022-list-c39af4320afb16525cb0fd911c9ffed4

[7] American Library Association. Stonewall Book Awards List. https://www.ala.org/rrt/award/stonewall/honored#2023https://www.ala.org/rrt/award/stonewall/honored#2023

Images:

[1] Pride Flag. Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik.

[2] Gender Queer Cover. Kobabe, Maia. Gender Queer. Portland, Oregon: Oni Press, Deluxe edition (July 5, 2022).

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