Many of the titles on this list are from The Rainbow Book List is created by the Rainbow Book List Committee of the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association. For more information and for additional lists (and books for older children) please visit their website: https://glbtrt.ala.org/rainbowbooks/. We thank the librarians who have taken the time to select these titles each year.
Picture Books and Books for Lower Elementary Age
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S Brannen
Chloe is jealous and sad when her favorite uncle announces that he will be getting married, but as she gets to know Jamie better and becomes involved in planning the wedding, she discovers that she will always be special to Uncle Bobby–and to Uncle Jamie, too. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.
From Archie to Zack by Vincent X. Kirsch
Archie and Zack are inseparable, both in elementary school and outside it, but Archie is having trouble telling Zack about his love, so he writes a letter, from A. to Z.; in fact he writes a lot of letters, but they do not sound right so he hides them–and though his other friends, Zelda, Zinnia, and Zuzella, find the letters, they all understand who the letters are really for. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Plenty of Hugs by Fran Manushkin
This cheerful book follows a family from morning to night in lively rhyme that rolls off the tongue. There’s a buzz for each bug, and a breeze for each tree, and plenty of hugs for you and me. The toddler and mommies take a morning bike ride to a farm stand, they visit a zoo in the afternoon, and in the evening there’s the bath and storybook routine before the child is tucked cozily into bed. Recommended for ages 2 and up. Request this title.
My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal
A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
Ho’onani : Hula Warrior by Heather Gale
An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawai?i who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff
This sweet #ownvoices picture book celebrates the changes in a transgender boy’s life, from his initial coming-out to becoming a big brother. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.
My Footprintsby Bao Phi
Upset after being bullied, Thuy, a Vietnamese American, pretends she is different creatures, including an especially strong, wonderful being made up of her two mothers and herself. Includes note about the phoenix and the Sarabha. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Request this title.
A Plan for Pops by Heather Smith
In this illustrated picture book, a child helps their grandparents deal with a difficult change in abilities. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.
Neither by Airlie Anderson
Because Neither is unlike both the rabbits and birds of the Land of This and That, it sets out to find a new place where all kinds of creatures are welcome. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Request this title.
The Adventures of Honey & Leon by Alan Cumming
Determined to keep their dads safe on their trip to France, two dogs disguise themselves and follow along. Recommended for ages 3 and up. Request this title.
Chapter Books & Middle-Grade
Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
When best friends Sal and Gabi try to repair the damage they created when they altered the universe to help their families, they end up creating even more chaos. Request this title.
The Derby Daredevils by Kit Rosewater
Fifth-grade best friends Kenzie “Kenzilla” and Shelly “Bombshell” dream of becoming roller derby superstars one day, but when a junior league forms and they must recruit teammates, will their friendship survive? Request this title.
King and The Dragonflies by Kheryn Callender
In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself. In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself. Request this title.
A Home for goddesses and dogs by Leslie Connor
This novel sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. An uplifting middle grade novel about recovery featuring strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him. Request this title.
Ana on the edge by A. J. Sass
Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success. Request this title.
The list of things that will not change by Rebecca Stead
Despite her parents’ divorce, her father’s coming out as gay, and his plans to marry his boyfriend, ten-year-old Bea is reassured by her parents’ unconditional love, excited about getting a stepsister, and haunted by something she did last summer at her father’s lake house. Request this title.
Drum roll, please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse. Now she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods. Request this title.
Too bright to see by Kyle Lukoff
t’s the summer before middle school and eleven-year-old Bug’s best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn’t particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Request this title.
The best at it by Maulik Pancholy
Twelve-year-old Rahul Kapoor, an Indian-American boy growing up in small-town Indiana, struggles to come to terms with his identity, including that he may be gay. Request this title.
Elle of the ball by Elena Delle Donne
Having shot up to six feet tall over the summer, seventh-grader Elle not only has trouble controlling her limbs on the basketball court, she dreads the upcoming school cotillion. Request this title.
Books for Teens
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives. Request this title.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
In this uplifting coming-of-age novel told in accessible verse, Atta chronicles the growth and glory of Michael Angeli, a mixed-race kid from London, as he navigates his cultural identity as Cypriot and Jamaican as well as his emerging sexuality. Request this title.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend. Request this title.
Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
In this epic sequel to Once & Future, Ari and her Rainbow knights must pull off a Holy Grail heist thousands of years in the past — without destroying their own destinies. Request this title.
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
“After an ancient prophecy is betrayed, a world ruled by a long line of goddesses is split in two–one half in perpetual day, and the other in an endless night–and two young twin goddesses set out on separate and equally dangerous journeys to the Breach that divides them, hoping to save their broken world. Request this title.
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves pop music work together to save humanity? A beautiful and thrilling debut novel for fans of Marie Lu and Veronica Roth. Request this title.
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan
Told in two voices, cellist Jubilee and anxiety-ridden Ridley meet at a comic con where both of their families have booths, and begin a relationship they must hide from their parents. Request this title.
When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey
When Alexis accidentally kills a classmate on prom night using magic, her best friends Roya, Iris, Paulie, Marcelina, and Maryam join in using their powers to try to set things right. Request this title.
Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry
Ellis Kimball, sixteen, whose anxiety disorder causes her to prepare for the imminent end of the world, meets Hannah, who claims to know when it will happen. Request this title.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
In a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic, a desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial lady find a connection on the high seas. Request this title.
Books for Adults
A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence. Request this title.
A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this “bewitching and fascinating” (Tamora Pierce) retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale. Request this title.
Facing his erstwhile boyfriend’s wedding to another man, his 50th birthday, and his publisher’s rejection of his latest manuscript, a miserable midlist novelist heads for the airport…a very funny and occasionally wise book (Kirkus). Request this title.
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel’s sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, it’s a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form. Request this title.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place-and realizing that family is yours. Request this title.
Opening up the fantasies and desires of one young woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities, You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings–for love, and a place to call home. Request this title.
Moore reminds us that liberation is possible if we commit ourselves to fighting for it, and if we dream and create futures where those who survive on society’s edges can thrive. Request this title.
From a young Harvard- and Cambridge-trained historian, the secret history of the fight for gay rights that began a generation before Stonewall. Request this title.
Allen takes us on a cross-country road-trip stretching all the way from Provo, Utah to the Rio Grande Valley to the Bible Belt to the Deep South. Her motto for the trip: “Something gay every day.” Request this title.
Sarah’s story of identity, love, and tragic loss serves as a powerful entry point for readers who want to gain a deeper understanding of gender identity and what it means to be openly transgender. Request this title.
Descriptions of the books are taken from our catalog and recommended age suggestions are from resources such as Publisher Weekly and Kirkus.