LGBTQ+ Novels for Your Classroom Library

Here at The Secondary English Coffee Shop we believe teachers should do all they can to help students feel welcome, safe, and accepted in their classrooms.
One way to do that is to fill your shelves with books where students can see themselves represented, and this week's espresso shot is all about books that can do that for our LGBTQ+ students.
Here are some recommendations that will help these teens feel seen, heard, and included in our classrooms - and our content. 

Nouvelle ELA

The Princess and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: This charming graphic novel introduces us to Prince Sebastian and his trusted friend Frances. Frances is a talented young dressmaker who longs to become famous, but she is forced to keep her identity secret because her client, Lady Crystallia is really Prince Sebastian in disguise! This book explores gender identity, friendship, and loyalty. Its whimsical drawings and fairytale vibes make this a truly touching read for any age. Check out more LGBTQ+ book recommendations for middle school and high school at my blog.

Cemetery Boys,
by Aiden Thomas, tells the story of 16 year-old Yadrieal, a transgender male, who is struggling to be accepted in his family and is simultaneously caught in a mystery surrounding his cousin's murder. It is such a unique book that will appeal to so many students. It's a mix of paranormal romance, fantasy, and suspense. But it especially delves into the Latinx culture with themes of LGBTQ+ acceptance, colonization, deportation, and racism. Recommended for teens 14+

All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M Johnson is a gripping book that includes a series of essays following Johnson's journey growing up as a queer Black man in Virginia. In addition to describing Johnson's own experience, it directly addresses Black queer boys who may not have someone in their life with similar experiences.

ROOM 213
You Should See Me in a Crown, by Leah Johnson, tells the story of Liz Lighty, who has never felt like she fit in her prom-obsessed town. She has her hopes pinned on a music scholarship that will help her escape, but when it doesn’t come through, she is convinced to compete for prom queen and the scholarship that comes with it. In order to do so, she has to put herself in a spotlight she doesn’t want. She feels anxious and unworthy, and to make matters worse, she falls for the competition. The best part about this book is that it’s not about being queer or coming out - it’s a fun story that just so happens to have a queer main character. Our LGBTQ+ students need to have books to read that normalize who they are, rather than making it being an obstacle a character has to overcome.

The Daring English Teacher

David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy is a story about a gay high school sophomore named Paul who attends a school like no other. In this love story, Paul meets Noah, a boy who is new to the school, and Paul immediately is attracted to him. However, teenage relationship drama ensues when Paul’s ex-boyfriend wants him back, and now Paul needs to decide if he wants Noah or his ex. Readers will enjoy the fun romance, teenage love drama, and idyllic setting this book has to offer.

Addie Williams

Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a beautifully written coming-of-age novel. Ari and Dante are complete opposites, but when the two meet at the swimming pool, they find a way to connect and their connection builds into a strong friendship. As the two grow closer, they must come to terms with their own identities and face the truth about their relationship. This book deals with issues of mental health, families, racial & ethnic identity, and LGBTQ+ topics. It is well-loved in my classroom library.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson tells the story of twins, Noah and Jude. The plot is told from both of their perspectives at different points in their life. The twins go from inseparable early in life to not speaking in only a few years. We learn about the challenges that each face that bring them to this point. The early years are narrated by Noah and focus on his love and obsession with Brian and the emotions he faces in losing his first love. The later years are narrated by Jude and highlights the challenges she faces in dealing with love, loss, failure, and guilt. The book shares the journey of the siblings finding their way back to each other.

Happy Reading!

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