Go librarians. The American Library Association (ALA) this week announced it will add an annual award for “English-language works for children and teens of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience.” The Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award will become part of the ALA’s Youth Media Awards, which also include the Newbery and Caldecott medals and multicultural awards such as the Coretta Scott King Book Award. It also joins the original Stonewall Book Award (for adult readers) that began way back in 1971.
Since 2008, the ALA has also produced an annual Rainbow Bibliography of children’s and young adult books with LGBT content. (See my interview with the head of the Rainbow Project, Nel Ward.) The Bibliography aims to be a broad but selective guide for librarians, bookstore managers, and readers. It includes books chosen for quality as well as LGBT content, but is not as exclusive as the new award will be.
I probably don’t need to tell any of you how important it is to have stories that reflect our families. Both the Bibliography and the Stonewall award are encouraging signs that not only are there books out there, but there are also ones of sufficient quality to please a whole bunch of librarians. The first award will be made in January.