5 More Books for Young People Featuring LGBT+ Characters

Am I imagining it, or do we continue to see more books that represent the many types of LGBT+ young people in the world? I’m unsure of the volume — but I am reading books that are telling stories I’ve not seen in print in their ways before. As in the related post noted above, I’ve attempted to indicate identities in the descriptions, though the nature of naming characters as specifically gay or bisexual, for example, is limiting, and I generally try to avoid doing so.

Felix Yz – Ages 8 to 11
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780425288511
Lisa Bunker
June 2018 (paperback release)
The Trans grandparent figure in this book inspires Felix to be accepting — and to realize that what confuses him doesn’t necessarily give him the right to know things about Trans people. Includes a constant story line of ongoing alien possession, but that deepens the story while making the novel accessible to the target audience. Perhaps the novel to read after George.

The Stars Beneath Our FeetAgest 9 to 13
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781524701277
David Barclay Moore
January 2019 (paperback release)

Features a young man who has family members (e. g., mother) portrayed as having sexuality outside of heterosexuality. Much of the story focuses on the loss of an older brother (who was shot at a club); and how to be friends with someone others make fun of.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In – Ages 12 to 17
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062659002
Angelo Surmelis
January 2018
Similar to the wonderful Girl Mans Up, this book realistically addresses the multiplicity of identities of a main character. Here, Evan is Greek-American, gay, and more. A nice highlight is that the best-friend-he-falls-for portion is not from the tragic straight-guy-crush-trope box. The violence, often from the mother, seems more real as the church the family belongs to becomes wary of her methods.

The Backstagers (Vol 1 and 2) – Ages 8 to 17
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781608869930
and
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781684150571
James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh
2017 – 2018
These fantastical comics / graphic novels (which are they, in this case?) feature a same-sex crush that is adorable and cheer-worthy. Also — the secrets of what goes on in the backstage theatre (sic) world are akin to what might be happening in an Escher work.

Boy Erased – Ages 14 to 17
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780735213463
Garrard Conley
2017 (paperback release)
The memoir basis for the 2018 film offers a sad-but-relevant tale of the dangerous of ex-gay therapy and toxic family environments.

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Why, Goblet of Fire, Why?

Those enrolled in Harry Potter Studies have heard the question — Why even have The Triwizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter Book 4)? Why not just have someone kidnap Harry in an easier manner or at an earlier time?

HP4 CoverAfter a recent reread of Book 4, a simple idea occurred to me — which may have already settled out for you: J. K. Rowling has a reason for the tournament needing to play out. Starting from there, here’s my sense-making:

(1) Voldemort wants Harry, not some other enemy, as part of Wormtail’s doings in the graveyard.
(2) The Cup winner gets imbued with glory by the Triwizard Cup. (No matter a tie, it seems.)
(3) The Cup doesn’t care if you get help from baddies to win.
(4) But the Cup requires you to go through the tournament at the set pace of the tasks to unlock the glory.
(5) With all this, Voldemort will postpone the graveyard situation till Harry gets leveled up with the glory of the Cup.

Let’s return to the question — Why not just have someone kidnap Harry in an easier manner or at an earlier time? Voldemort wanted Harry to take the Cup’s glory booster first, which couldn’t be rushed.

Does this make sense compared to Voldemort’s other movements? Sure — he’s focused enough in Sorcerer’s / Philosopher’s Stone to try for nearly a year for a method of revival. Likewise in Chamber of Secrets. Self-Assurance is one of Voldemort’s CliftonStrengths, no doubt, so he’s not one to be shaken by the Cup’s timing necessities.

Ten Books for Young People Featuring LGBT+ Characters

Ten books from 2016 and 2017 feature Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender characters, and characters of additional identities, in wonderful ways. Of course, more than what I’ve read exists, so feel free to mention titles in the comments. I’ve attempted to indicate identities in the descriptions, though the nature of naming characters as specifically gay or bisexual, for example, is limiting, and I generally try to avoid doing so.

 

Sparkle Boy – Ages 4 to 7
Leslea Newman and Maria Mola
June 2017
Features a gender-nonconforming child and the child’s sister, who decides to defend her sibling against potential bullies. What a celebration of supportive parents as well.

The Magic Misfits – Ages 8 to 10
Neil Patrick Harris
November 2017
Highlights a same-sex gay male couple who adopt children and support their positive self esteem. The magic in the book is all about sleight of hand and how wanting to do and be good turns what could be a harmful skill into a helpful one.

This Would Make a Good Story Someday – Ages 8 to 12
Dana Alison Levy
May 2017
Touching, adorable story about a same-sex couple of two women and their children on a cross-country train trip. Great creative sibling support at the end is very memorable. To boot, the book’s a companion to the Family Fletcher novels.

The Other Boy – Ages 9 to 13
M. G. Hennessey
September 2016
A heart-wrenching story of a baseball-loving boy who has been transitioning with the help of a doctor and prescriptions. His past is rudely revealed at his new school, just when he thinks all might be well. Doesn’t shy away from realistic messy family and friend moments.

Posted – Ages 10 to 14
John David Anderson
May 2017
Supporting differences shines well in this middle-school novel about friends at their lunch table, who is allowed at it, and who remains when differences of opinion rise. Features a gay male who is picked on and a girl who does not conform to her peers’ ideas of what it means to be feminine.

Alan Cole Is Not a Coward – Ages 10 to 14
Eric Bell
September 2017
Family drama and school worries challenge the main gay male character, but he learns to be himself, face his crush, speak to his family, and come out in this realistic drama. The sibling-as-bully aspect is poised to inspire much discussion.

Girl Mans Up – Ages 14+
M-E Girard
September 2016
A high school girl from a Portuguese family living in Canada finally meets another girl to date, though friends and family offer a mixed bag regarding support — ranging from anger to manipulation to unquestioning love. Realistic portrayals of obtaining an abortion, worrying about the appropriateness of clothing and hair style choices, gauging family respect, and weighing the worth of maintaining friendships abound.

Highly Illogical Behavior – Ages 14+
John Corey Whaley
May 2016
An agoraphobic gay teen who hasn’t left his house in years finally has friends, though he is not aware that the new friendships were inspired by a need for a case study. Moving depictions of a grandparent-grandchild relationship provide additional depth.

Autoboyography – Ages 14+
Christina Lauren
September 2017
The gay male teen protagonist falls for a Mormon/LDS guy, despite knowing that the church’s position on same-sex relationships is not a glowing one. Being true to yourself wins out — but not without much family and friend strain.

Meddling Kids – Older Teens
Edgar Cantero
July 2017
Written for adults, but ripe for older teens to appreciate, the novel imagines that a gang of kids similar to those from Scooby Doo cartoons has grown up to be somewhat of a mess. The friends reassemble to revisit their last case, the one they thought they’d solved so well years before. Features a woman admitting her feelings for another woman.

Remember — these are ten books from 2016 and 2017 featuring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender characters, and characters of additional identities, in wonderful ways that I’ve been able to read. Feel free to mention additional LGBT+-supportive titles in the comments.

Three Ways for Bigger Business to Support Main Street America

Decision Makers at Bigger Businesses — Main Street America needs you. With these three ways to help, you won’t go too far out of your way, but you will help your local businesses tremendously. And you’ll help us all avoid seeing rows of empty storefronts throughout our neighborhoods.

Bemis_Block_and_other_buildings_on_South_Main_Street,_Canandaigua,_NY by Daniel Case

(1) Invest Locally = Buy Gift Cards Locally. Bigger Businesses give their employees gift cards to say thank you throughout the year. Companies purchase stacks of them for the month of December for end-of-year holidays. Whatever the reason, buying gift cards from your area small businesses (think books, music, coffee, t-shirts, food, salons, candles, and more) invest in the local economy and local owners.

(2) Produce Locally = Print Your Materials Locally. Local print shops offer fast service with discounts for bulk orders. Even businesses with in-house printing sometimes need external vendors, so look into your locally owned print shops for your banner, card, brochure, and poster needs.

(3) Improve Company Decisions = Survey and Share Your Employees’ Favorite Locally Owned Stores. Sharing back your employees’ knowledge about your community aids in your internal problem solving. More employees will know which restaurants to consider for special dinners, which shops print up quality t-shirts, and which car services offer stand-by airport service — and much more.

Bigger Business can support the little guys in three easy ways. With a focus on Main Street America businesses, local communities will stop fearing rows of empty storefronts and will keep looking forward to thriving streets everywhere.