Our staff team, along with a few amazing and devoted volunteers, has compiled a list of books that we recommend for young readers. These books offer representation of LGBTQ+ characters and experiences, and within the Generous Space community we have found them to be helpful for youth who are in the midst of coming out, for queer parents of young children, and for cisgender, straight parents hoping to expose their children to stories featuring families that look different from their own.
Unfortunately as of yet, we are unaware of many resources like this that are coming explicitly from faith perspectives, but we hope to add more as this changes. These are all books that families and youth in our Generous Space communities have found helpful, though the contents may not always remain consistent with the views held by Generous Space Ministries. Generous Space Ministries has no control over, nor responsibility for the content or accuracy of the resources. For a downloadable version of this booklist click here.
The Full Spectrum - by David Leviathan & Billy Merrell
Goodreads Description: "Teens are more aware of sexuality and identity than ever, and they’re looking for answers and insights, as well as a community of others. In order to help create that community, YA authors David Levithan and Billy Merrell have collected original poems, essays, and stories by young adults in their teens and early 20s. The Full Spectrum includes a variety of writers—gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transitioning, and questioning—on a variety of subjects: coming out, family, friendship, religion/faith, first kisses, break-ups, and many others.
This one of a kind collection will, perhaps, help all readers see themselves and the world around them in ways they might never have imagined. We have partnered with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and a portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to them..."
The Miseducation of Cameron Post - by Emily Danforth
Goodreads Description: "When Cameron Post's parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they'll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.
But that relief doesn't last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both...."
Fun Home - Allison Bechdale
Goodreads Description: "In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father.
Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve."
Ask the Passengers - by A.S. King
Goodreads Description: "Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions--like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.
As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.
In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love."
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe - by Benjamine Alire Saenz
Goodreads Description: "Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be."
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda - by Becky Albertalli
Goodreads Description: "Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met."
God In Pink - by Hasan Namir
Goodreads Description: "A revelatory novel about being queer and Muslim, set in war-torn Iraq in 2003. Ramy is a young gay Iraqi struggling to find a balance between his sexuality, religion, and culture. Ammar is a sheikh whose guidance Ramy seeks, and whose tolerance is tested by his belief in the teachings of the Qur'an. Full of quiet moments of beauty and raw depictions of violence, God in Pink poignantly captures the anguish and the fortitude of Islamic life in Iraq."
I'll Give You the Sun - by Jandy Nelson
Goodreads Description: ""We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story."
At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah's to tell; the later years are Jude's. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they'll have a chance to remake their world. This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once."
Letter Q: Queer Writer's Notes to their Younger Selves - by Sarah Moon
Goodreads Description: "If you received a letter from your older self, what do you think it would say? What do you wish it would say?
That the boy you were crushing on in History turns out to be gay too, and that you become boyfriends in college? That the bully who is making your life miserable will one day become so insignificant that you won't remember his name until he shows up at your book signing?
In this anthology, sixty-three award-winning authors such as Michael Cunningham, Amy Bloom, Jacqueline Woodson, Gregory Maguire, David Levithan, and Armistead Maupin make imaginative journeys into their pasts, telling their younger selves what they would have liked to know then about their lives as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgendered people. Through stories, in pictures, with bracing honesty, these are words of love and understanding, reasons to hold on for the better future ahead. They will tell you things about your favorite authors that you never knew before. And they will tell you about yourself."
Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth - by Matt Hern
Goodreads Description: "“Stay Solid! is essential reading! A beacon of light for youth around the world. This unique collage of voices helps inform, inspire, and uplift the next generation.”— MK Asante, author of It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop
It ain't easy being a kid these days. For the first time in generations, today's teens have worse prospects ahead of them than their parents did, and the pressure to toe the line and be a success is heavier than ever . . . and so is the temptation to just give up. But there are things in the world worth fighting for!
This scrapbook-style collection of essays, excerpts, explanations, and images pushes back against a culture that relentlessly demands that kids give up their best ideals, abandon their hopes, forget their ethical objections to dominant life, soothe their rage, and accept their fates. From dealing with the cops to dealing with your peers, from school and community to drugs and sex, from race and class to money and mental health, Stay Solid! provides essential support for radically inclined teens who believe that it's possible for all of us to hang on to our values and build a life we believe in."
The Misfits - by James Howe
Goodreads Description: "Kids who get called the worst names oftentimes find each other. That's how it was with us. Skeezie Tookis and Addie Carle and Joe Bunch and me. We call ourselves the Gang of Five, but there are only four of us. We do it to keep people on their toes. Make 'em wonder. Or maybe we do it because we figure that there's one more kid out there who's going to need a gang to be a part of. A misfit, like us.
Skeezie, Addie, Joe, and Bobby -- they've been friends forever. They laugh together, have lunch together, and get together once a week at the Candy Kitchen to eat ice cream and talk about important issues. Life isn't always fair, but at least they have each other -- and all they really want to do is survive the seventh grade."
Totally Joe - by James Howe
Goodreads Description: ""Everybody says you and Colin were kissing."
"What? That's ridiculous!"
"For heaven's sake, Joe, if you and Colin want to kiss, you have every right to."
"We did not kiss," I told her.
Addie shrugged. "Whatever."
What was it with my friends?
From the creator of The Misfits, the book that inspired NATIONAL NO NAME-CALLING WEEK, comes the story of Joe Bunch...."
Just Girls - by Rachel Gold
Goodreads Description: "Jess Tucker sticks her neck out for a stranger—the buzz is someone in the dorm is a trans girl. So Tucker says it’s her, even though it’s not, to stop the finger pointing. She was an out lesbian in high school, and she figures she can stare down whatever gets thrown her way in college. It can’t be that bad.
Ella Ramsey is making new friends at Freytag University, playing with on-campus gamers and enjoying her first year, but she’s rocked by the sight of a slur painted on someone else’s door. A slur clearly meant for her, if they’d only known.
New rules, old prejudices, personal courage, private fear. In this stunning follow-up to the groundbreaking Being Emily, Rachel Gold explores the brave, changing landscape where young women try to be Just Girls."
Unspeakable - by Abbie Rushton
Goodreads Description: :Megan doesn't speak. She hasn't spoken in months.
Pushing away the people she cares about is just a small price to pay. Because there are things locked inside Megan's head - things that are screaming to be heard - that she cannot, must not, let out.
Then Jasmine starts at school: bubbly, beautiful, talkative Jasmine. And for reasons Megan can't quite understand, life starts to look a bit brighter.
Megan would love to speak again, and it seems like Jasmine might be the answer. But if she finds her voice, will she lose everything else?"
Annie On My Mind - by Nancy Garden
Goodreads Description: "This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. The book has been banned from many school libraries and publicly burned in Kansas City.
Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves."
None of the Above - by I.W. Gregorio
Goodreads Description: "A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex... and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.
What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?
When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him..."
A Kiss in the Dark - by Cat Clarke
Goodreads Description: "Real, compulsive and intense: Cat Clarke is the queen of emotional suspense. For fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, Megan Abbott and Jandy Nelson.
Can love survive the ultimate betrayal? A compelling story of love and identity from a bestselling author.
When Alex meets Kate the attraction is instant.
Alex is funny, good-looking, and a little shy - everything that Kate wants in a boyfriend.
Alex can't help falling for Kate, who is pretty, charming and maybe just a little naive...
But one of them is hiding an unbelievable secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives..."
The Art of Being Normal - by Lisa Williamson
Goodreads Description: :"Two boys. Two secrets.
David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan.
When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…"
More Happy Than Not - by Adam Silvera
Goodreads Description: "Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera's extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He's slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it's his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future.
As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is? "
Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You - Tod Hasak-Lowy
Goodreads Description: "A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!
Darren hasn't had an easy year.
There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.
Then one Thursday morning Darren's dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out..."