The American Library Association (ALA) has announced its picks for the best LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books of the year—making it one of my favorite days of the year. Let’s take a look.

The ALA announced the winners of its Stonewall Book Award for children’s and young adult books as well as the choices for its longer, but still selective, Rainbow List.

The Stonewall Book Award — Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award (to distinguish it from the Stonewall Book Awards for adult books) is part of the ALA’s Youth Media Awards that also include the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Medals. This year’s winners were:

  • George, by Alex Gino, in the children’s book category, about a transgender girl who wants the role of Charlotte in her school’s performance of Charlotte’s Web.
  • The Porcupine of Truth, by Bill Konigsberg, in the young adult category, about a straight boy, a lesbian girl, and an epic road trip.

Two honor books were also chosen:

Additionally, the ALA’s Rainbow Book List Committee announced its 2016 Rainbow List, a bibliography of books with “significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content” for youth from birth through age 18. Over 250 books published between July 2014 and December 2015 were evaluated, of which 40 (from 27 different publishers) made the  final list, in addition to the Stonewall picks above. That’s up from 140 books and 15 publishers in last year’s list, supporting the committee’s observation of “the staggering increase in number of books of quality that fit the criteria of the list, as well as a number of books with bisexual and intersex representation.”

On the down side, the committee observed “the decrease in books for younger readers, as well as the continued small numbers of LGBTQ characters of color or with disabilities. Also, as in previous years, high-quality nonfiction, including memoirs and history so vital to tying a culture together, remains sparse.”

In addition to all of the Stonewall Book Award picks, the Rainbow List includes the following books for younger and middle-grade children. (Most of the YA books on the list are about LGBTQ teens, not teens with LGBTQ parents—though the groups are not mutually exclusive—so I’m going to let you pop over to the Rainbow List site if you want to see those.)

Sex Is a Funny Word was also chosen for the Rainbow List’s Top Ten picks, “highlighting books of exceptional queer representation and literary merit to receive particular commendation.”

first covered the Rainbow List when it launched in 2008, and am always eager to see what each new year brings to this essential guide for librarians, teachers, parents—and most importantly, youth themselves. I’m thrilled there are so many more books to choose from, and glad there’s a thoughtful, skilled team of librarians to help us find the best ones. Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators, and thanks to the committee members for all their work!

(Make sure to check out all of the Youth Media Award winners in other categories, too. An amazing and diverse collection!)

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