Big Blue Marble Bookstore
a neighborhood bookstore for Mt. Airy and beyond

Quiltbag

Great QUILTBAG Books for Kids and Teens

compiled by Jennifer Sheffield

*QUILTBAG is an up-and-coming, more inclusive, more pronounceable (which is to say, an acronym rather than an abbreviation) moniker encompassing diversity in gender and sexuality. According to queerdictionary.tumblr.com, it glosses as Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer. (Some lists include Unidentified and Two-Spirit.)

This list began as a presentation for a 2014 Queer Lit Festival presentation. It is certainly not comprehensive, but most of the books here have been read and liked either by me and/or by someone I know.  Each list is arranged in chronological order of publication, just to give a sense of how things evolve over time... (Can you find the books from 1936 and 1950?)

Because many people are specifically for trans/genderqueer/gender questioning books, those appear on their own list.

latest update 7/9/2017

Board books with same-sex parents

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Marla Frazee (2001)
Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson (2009)
Daddy, Papa, and Me, by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson (2009)
A is for Activist by Innosanta Nagara (2013)
Counting on Community by Innosanta Nagara (2015)

 


Picture Books with same-sex parents or gay family members

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Diana Souza (1990)
Asha's Mums by Rosamund Elwin & Michele Paulse, illustrated by Dawn Lee (1990)
Felicia's Favorite Story by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Adriana Romo (2002)

King & King by Linda De Haan & Stern Nijland (2002)

The Family Book by Todd Parr (2003)
King & King & Family by Linda De Haan & Stern Nijland (2004)
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole (2005)
A Different Dragon by Jennifer Bryan, illustrated by Danamarle Hosler (2006)
Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle by Pija Lindenbaum, translated by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard (2007)
In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco (2009)
[Note: Polacco's books are generally more appropriate for an older audience.]
A Tale of Two Daddies (2010) and A Tale of Two Mommies (2011), both by Vanita Oelschlager, illustrated by Kristin Blackwood and Mike Blanc
Donovan's Big Day by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Mike Dutton (2011)
Operation Marriage by Cynthia Chin-Lee, illustrated by Lea Lyon (2011)
The Purim Superhero by Elisabeth Kushner, illustrated by Mike Byrne (2013)
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten (2014)
The Christmas Truck, by J.B. Blankenship, illustrated by Cassandre Bolan (2014)
Heather Has Two Mommies (25th anniversary edition) by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Laura Cornell (2015)
Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer (2015)
Real Sisters Pretend by Megan Dowd Lambert, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell (2016)
Ned the Knitting Pirate by Diana Murray, illustrated by Leslie Lammle (2016)
Home at Last by Vera B. Williams, illustrated by Vera B. Williams and Chris Raschka (2016)


Middle Grade Books with same-sex parents or gay family members

The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce, starting with Sandry's Book (1997)
[Note: the women who become foster mothers to the protagonists don't actually have their relationship identified until much later books]
The Popularity Papers series by Amy Ignatow, starting with The Popularity Papers (2010)
The Flower Power series by Lauren Myracle, starting with Luv Ya Bunches (2010)
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher (2014) and The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island (2016) by Dana Alison Levy
Woundabout by Lev Rosen, illustrated by Ellis Rosen (2015)
The Best Man by Richard Peck (2016)
The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, with illustrations by Caroline Hadilaksono (2017)
This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy (2017)
Against the Odds by Amy Ignatow (forthcoming, 2017)

 


Middle Grade Books with Queer main or secondary character

The House You Pass On The Way by Jacqueline Woodson (1997)
The Misfits by James Howe (2001)
Totally Joe by James Howe (2005), inspiration for No Name Calling Week
Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012)
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (2013)
Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot (book 12) by Dav Pilkey (2015)


YA Books with Lesbian / Gay/Bi main or secondary character

Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden (1982)
Dangerous Angels: the Weetzie Bat Books by Francesca Lia Block (1989-1995)
The Dear One by Jacqueline Woodson (1991)
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson (1995)
Hard Love (1999) and Love & Lies: Marisol's Story (2008), both by Ellen Wittlinger
Empress of the World (2001) and The Rules for Hearts (2007) by Sara Ryan
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger (2003)
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (2003)
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson (2004)
The D.J. Schwenk series by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, starting with Dairy Queen (2006)
Getting It by Alex Sanchez (2006)
Gravity by Leanne Lieberman (2008)
Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (2008)
How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity, edited by Michael Cart (2009)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (2010)
Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez (2011)
Shine by Lauren Myracle (2011)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth (2012)
Ask The Passengers by A.S. King (2012)
Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin (2012) [set in 1926]
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2012)
Fat Angie by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo (2013)
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (2013)
If You Could Be Mine (2013) and Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel (2014), both by Sara Farizan
The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi (2014)
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (2014)
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (2014)
When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid (2014)
Adrian and the Tree of Secrets, story by Hubert, illustrations by Marie Caillou, translated by David Homel (2014)
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (2014)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli (2015)
Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story, a musical novel by David Levithan (2015)
[Companion to Will Grayson, Will Grayson, above.]
Anything Could Happen by Will Walton (2015)
Surviving Santiago by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (2015)
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (2015)
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (2015)
An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay (2015)
What We Left Behind by Robin Talley (2015)
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard (2016)
Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth (2016)
The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend (2017)
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (2017)


YA Fantasy with Queer Characters

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (2003) [Not marketed as YA, but close enough, I think.]
The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce (2005)
The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner (2006) [Also not marketed as YA, though often recommended as such. From the author: "No one's sure whether it's an adult novel about a teenage girl, or a Young Adult novel that should be R rated."]
The Graceling Realms series by Kristin Cashore, starting with Graceling (2008)
Ash by Malinda Lo (2009)
The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld, starting with Leviathan (2009)
The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu, starting with Legend (2011)
Every Day by David Levithan (2012)
Seraphina (2012) and Shadow Scale (2015), both by Rachel Hartman
Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, edited by Alisa Krasnostein & Julia Rios (2014)
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (2015) [Companion volume to the author's Fangirl (2013), which I didn't include because in that book these same characters are fictional. ...Which sounds a bit silly when I say it out loud.]
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (2015)
Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth (2016)


Nonfiction for pre-teens, teens, and parents

Sex & Sensibility: The Thinking Parent's Guide to Talking Sense About Sex by Deborah M. Roffman (2001)
Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children by Diane Ehrensaft (2011)
It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller (2012)
Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son by Lori Duron (2013)
Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus, photography by Rachelle Lee Smith (2014)
For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health by Al Vernacchio (2014)
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, written and photographed by Susan Kuklin (2014)
Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long (2014)
Some Assembly Required: The Not-so-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews and Joshua Lyon (2014)
Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth (2015)
Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson (2016)
Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings (2016)
Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs (2016)
The ABC's of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell (2016)


More Resources

Goodreads Listopia: Alternative Families in Children's Literature
A Mighty Girl: True Colors: Mighty Girl Books for Pride Month
Huffington Post: 10 Children's Books That Paved the Way for a New Queer Protagonist
Chana Rothman's Rainbow Train Resources, including her newly released Rainbow Train CD, an album of songs of gender liberation (2015).
Trans Youth Family Allies: Recommended Reading
Sarah and Ian Hoffman (authors of Jacob's New Dress): Recommended Reading
A blog by Patricia A. Sarles, which includes lots of different categories and lots of foreign language books: Gay-Themed Books for Children
Goodreads Listopia: YA Short Stories and Collections with LGBT Themes
Malinda Lo's website: My Guide to LGBT YA (a list of lists)