For a few years now, a friend and I have been having an LGBTQ+ reading challenge in June as a way to celebrate Pride Month. It’s a fun way to intentionally seek out books I normally wouldn’t even though I do try to read these kinds of books all year long.
What I like to do is create a BINGO board and randomly number it from 1 to 25. I then fill it out in order of what I read until I get five in a row. As an added bonus, I also “win” when I cover all the squares.
Here’s an example of a Bingo board I did for the kids books I’ve read so far this year.
Here’s how it looked completed.
Here’s my game board for June.
I invite everyone to read as many LGBTQ+ as they can in June. Here are some books I’ve read so far this year. I put an asterisk next to the titles that aren’t for kids.
Cinderelliot: A Scrumptious Fairytale- A cute queer retelling of Cinderella with the main character (Cinderelliot) as a baker who leaves his chef’s hat behind at a baking contest being held at the palace.
Bathe the Cat– Hilarious picture book about a family trying to get their household ready for their grandma’s visit- and a cat willing to do everything to avoid getting a bath. I love that it features two gay dads but it’s not made a big deal of.
Mr. Watson’s Chickens– An enjoyable silly story that I definitely to need to pick up again to pore over the illustrations longer to catch all the references to LGBTQ kidlit creators.
Pride In– I first heard of this series last year. I put off reading it once I realized it was a series (I didn’t know it at the time) since I knew with my completist mind-set I would have wanted to read it all at once. As it happened, I was able to check out all four titles. A colorful nonfiction picture book series of biography anthologies featuring LGBTQ+ people each focused on a different category. There are shared texts across the series and each includes a glossary.
Calvin– Inspired by the authors’ transgender child, this is Calvin finding the courage the world who really is. Hopefully books like this will help create a more loving and accepting world.
Love, Violet– A sweet picture book about a first crush perfect for anyone looking- or who remembers looking- for someone to go adventuring with.
Leaders Like Us: Bayard Rustin– Great to see a picture book biography about Bayard Rustin. Unfortunately, the presentation was bland.
The Spectacular Suit– A celebration of being oneself. Frankie is throwing a party and she only has to find the best outfit to make it truly spectacular.
Pink, Blue, and You!: Questions for Kids about Gender Stereotypes– A great kid-friendly book full of questions to help jumpstart conversations about gender stereotypes.
*Rolling the R’s– I was fascinated by this book since it was rereleased a few years ago to commemorate 20 years and I hadn’t ever heard about it before. These are vignettes of mostly fifth graders living in Hawaii in the 70s. As Filipinos and other ethnicities, they realize they can’t play by the rules (even though that’s what’s expected of them) when they aren’t even allowed to play the game. Add to that, the male main characters aren’t afraid to be who they are when it comes to their gender identities even when they get ridiculed and bullied. It’s unflinching and painfully honest at times but also shocking and over the top. With all the sex that was happening, I kept thinking the characters were in high school at least. I guess it’s edgy. I’m sure it definitely was when it came out in the mid 90’s.
Big Wig– Drag kids take center stage in this picture book about a wig that gives its wearers the confidence to be who and what they secretly want to be!
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle– When one of her moms go away on a business trip, she and her Mama try to fill the days until her Mommy’s return but sometimes the missing is too big for her. Great for having to deal with separation anxiety.
Sam Is My Sister– Based on the author’s own family’s experience when one of their kids realizes they aren’t a boy but a girl and how the siblings- and the parents- learn to navigate this information.
*Silver in the Wood– I don’t know how I learned about this novella duology but I think I just wanted to read gay. A dark fantasy of magical creatures filled with delightful moody writing.
*Drowned Country– The problem with reading more stories featuring characters you’ve enjoyed is that there needs to be conflict. Not as strong as the first one but fascinating nonetheless.
‘Twas the Night Before Pride– A fun picture book about a family looking forward to Pride and what to expect- and why we celebrate it. I love the endpapers and I hope there’s a resource page identifying the LGBTQ+ figures. As of this review, I didn’t see one yet.
Miss Rita, Mystery Reader– A celebration of drag culture and story times.
Strong– I was pleasantly surprised with this picture book. I thought this was just going to be a general positive message type of story. I didn’t realize it was a memoir about a gay strongman defying expectations of who can be great in that athletic field I didn’t know anything about.
Mighty Red Riding Hood: A Fairly Queer Tale– A fun enough reimagining of a familiar fairy tale giving it a queer take and making it a story about being who you and how you want to dress and standing up to bullies. I think readers will enjoy the sass in this one.
If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know It– A fun companion to The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish, this picture book is perfect for story time that will get readers celebrating their fabulous selves.
The Pronoun Book– A simple board book about a variety of people and the pronouns they use.
History Comics: The Stonewall Riots: Making a Stand for LGBTQ Rights– I wish I liked this more since this was a great way to talk about the Stonewall Riots to a new audience. But it just seemed a bit too confusing.
You can view all my reviews over on The StoryGraph.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!
2 thoughts on “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- May 30, 2022 / LGBTQ+ Book Recs”
I added quite a few to my list, Earl, and will save your post. I have also read some already and love the Bingo card. I probably won’t do that but will add some more LBGTQ books to my list this month. Thanks very much!
It’s so wonderful that you do a big reading challenge for Pride month every year, Earl! And you’ve highlighted so many wonderful titles that I’ll need to keep an eye out for—I actually just reviewed and enjoyed Love, Violet and Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle last week! Thanks so much for the wonderful post!