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These Are the Ultimate Guidebooks for LGBTQ+ Youth in 2019


This year was a peak year for books written for queer and trans kids.


Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and BeingYou by Karen Rayne and Kathryn Gonzales is a guidebook for trans and nonbinary teens published by the APA's press. It covers coming out, transitioning, dealing with transphobia, relationships and sex (including how to avoid unhealthy relationships), sexual health (including reproduction and contraception, to topics too often ignored in this population that has high risks of pregnancy and may lose reproductive options as they transition), and navigating family life, workplaces, school, and even religion as a young gender-nonconforming adult. Interspersed with commentary from a group of diverse trans and nonbinary teens and reflections from trans author Gonzales, this is an easy to read useful guide that highlights the personal nature of gender identity and expression. (Magination Press) - Jacob Anderson-Minshall

Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager with illustrations by Zoe More O'Ferrall gives the perfect history lesson about 23 people who've paved the way for human rights, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Sweden's genderqueer Queen Christina. An easy read with thought-provoking narratives, Prager pulls readers into astonishing true stories that uncover a rich queer history covering all cultures and eras. (HarperCollins) -- David Artavia

QUEER by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke. Like a queer 101 manual for queer teens, this second edition of QUEER is a delightful collection of trustworthy and accurate information that tweens and teens need today, all told in a sort of quirky, sometimes goofy, and always approachable older sister tone. This second edition combines some "It Gets Better" basics (coming out, dating, and finding your people) as well as the good stuff authors are often forced to leave out of books aimed at teens. In this case, it's sex, STIs, and how to tell if your relationship is abusive (kudos for that one, as many authors forget the dangers in teen dating that are exacerbated by internalized homophobia or biphobia). Though it's lighter on material for trans or nonbinary teens (ahem, edition three?), the end result is a fun, easy to read, and occasionally hilarious guide that should be available on a shelf in every high school library in the U.S. And, with the current age of coming out, many middle schools as well. (Zest Books) --Diane Anderson-Minshall

Click here to see 30 more queer-friendly books for kids, teens, and families.


Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Readers' Edition - Everything American History Textbooks Get Wrong by James W. Loewen and adapted by Rebecca Stefoff is the newest young adult edition of book that surveyed the leading American history textbooks and found them sadly lacking. Aimed at readers 12-18, the book unwrites the myths of history regarding the causes of the Civil War, Indigenous peoples, racism, Hellen Keller's socialist ties, the United States military interventions in Iraq and Latin America, and so much more in an accessible and often humorous writing style. Filled with plenty of accompanying pictures, illustrations, maps, and sidebars, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Readers' Edition is the perfect gift to help the young historian enthusiast get woke with the facts rather than a fictitious narrative. Loewen is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Vermont, He is the author of many bestselling books and the winner of the American Book Award, the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship, and the Gustavus Meyers Outstanding Book Award among others. (The New Press) -- Donald Padgett

A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski opens with a primer on language and how terms have gained or lost prominence over the years. The detailed yet easily digested chapters offer various historical figures who were known or are now thought to be LGBTQ. Among the well-know (poet Walt Whitman, author of Leaves of Grass, and Harvey Milk, the trailblazing politician) are lesser-known figures like Albert Cashier, who was assigned female at birth but enlisted in the American Civil War and continued to live as a man for the rest of his life. There's also Victoria Woodhull, a famed suffragist of the late 19th century who ran for President of the United States in 1872 on the Equal Rights Party ticket with Frederick Douglass. A Queer History includes a chapter on Indigenous peoples as well, examining the nature of sexuality and the fluidity of gender among Native communities. (Beacon Press) -- DP

Gender Identity: The Ultimate Teen Guide, Second Edition by Cynthia L. Winfield encourages the young reader to throw aside binary notions of gender, provides a wealth of information and helpful ideas. Filled with easily readable text overflowing with facts and viewpoints helping guide the reader through the full spectrum of humanity. Winfield doesn't shy from tackling tough subjects either--like intersex bodies and delivery room decisions--before moving on to legal issues such as public restrooms, how to find or be a good ally, and the transition process. There's also a chapter on sparking gender conversations, which emphasizes that often the most important conversations are the toughest to start. Winfield the facts and talking points young readers need to start these discussions. (Rowman & Littlefield) -- DP

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