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Arts & Culture

Local libraries recommend LGBTQ+ books for all ages

Books recommended to read by the San Diego County Library and San Diego Public Library.
Marielena Castellanos
Books recommended to read by the San Diego County Library and San Diego Public Library.

Pride Month is well underway celebrating the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ communities around the U.S. and other parts of the world.

This year’s Pride is taking place in a contentious political climate. In San Diego County, controversy erupted leading up to Pride month about raising Pride flags and in parts of the country efforts to ban books continue.

PEN America conducted a poll last year “that found that over 70% of parents oppose book banning.” In a report from 2022, the American Library Association said most of the targeted books include LGBTQ+ themes and experiences as well as those of people of color.


In San Diego, librarians say city and county libraries remain a welcoming space and recommend a number of LGBTQ+ books with stories of love and resilience. (Jump to list below)

Jennifer Lawson, collection development manager with the San Diego County Library, described the library’s collection of books and encouraged everyone to visit the region's libraries.

“We like to have something for everyone in our book collection, and all are welcome at the County Library. LGBTQIA+ books can help people identify with others who are like them in different facets of life including movies, books, and politics. They can reinforce self-worth and are a great way to explore the experiences of others and foster understanding,” she said.

The San Diego Public Library confirmed its commitment to protecting access to LGBTQ+ reading materials and resources.

"The San Diego Public Library defends everyone's right to read. This includes your right to read LGBTQ+ books. It is through books and stories that we can understand our community, world and most of all, who we are and who we may become," said Francesca de Vera, librarian and co-chair of LGBTQIA+ Library Services Committee.


The books can be found at city and county libraries and are available to borrow for free with a library card.

Book Recommendations

Kids Books

  • Be Amazing: A History of Pride
    By Desmond is Amazing
    "In Be Amazing, drag kid Desmond is Amazing walks you through the history of the LGBTQ+ community, all while encouraging you to embrace your own uniqueness."
    -Macmillan Publishers
  • Grandad's Camper
    By Harry Woodgate
    “But after Gramps died, granddad hasn’t felt like traveling anymore. So, their amazing granddaughter comes up with a clever plan to fix up the old camper and get Grandad excited to explore again.”
    -Little Bee Books
  • Grandad's Pride
    By Harry Woodgate
    "After Milly discovers a pride flag in Grandad’s attic, this adorable pair are motivated by the past to start a pride parade in their small town."
    -Little Bee Books
  • Julián is a Mermaid
    By Jessica Love
    "While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car."
    -Candlewick Press
  • Princess Princess Ever After
    By Katie O’Neill
    "Join Sadie and Amira, two very different princesses with very different strengths, on their journey to figure out what "happily ever after" really means—and how they can find it with each other.”
    -Oni Press
  • Rainbow Revolutionaries: Fifty LGTBQ+ People Who Made History
    By Sarah Prager
    "One of Time Out's 'LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month,' this groundbreaking, pop-culture-infused illustrated biography collection takes readers on an eye-opening journey through the lives of fifty influential queer figures who have made a mark on every century of human existence."
  • Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.
    By Rob Sanders
    “Celebrate Pride every day with the very first picture book to tell of its historic and inspiring role in the gay civil rights movement, from the author of the acclaimed Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag.”
    -Penguin Random House
  • This Day in June
    By Gayle E. Pittman
    "This Day In June welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united."
    -Magination Press
  • Too Bright to See
    By Kyle Luckoff
    "It’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."
    -Dial Books for Young Readers

    Teens Books

    • Another Dimension of Us
      By Mike Albo
      "The Breakfast Club meets Stranger Things in this thrilling science fiction story about teens from the past and the future who travel across the astral plane to save the ones they love."
      -Penguin Random House
    • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
      By Benjamin Alire Saenz
      "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."
      -Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
    • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
      By Susan Kuklin
      "A groundbreaking work of LGBT+ literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens."
      -Candlewick Press
    • Felix Ever After
      By Kacen Callender
      "Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve."
      -Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
    • Friday I’m in Love
      By Camryn Garrett
      "It's too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if Mahalia had a coming-out party? A love letter to romantic comedies, sweet sixteen blowouts, Black joy, and queer pride."
      -Knopf Books for Young Readers
    • Like A Love Story
      By Abdi Nazemian
      "It's 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing. Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He's terrified someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself."
      -Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
    • Rule of Wolves
      By Leigh Bardugo
      “As Fjerda's massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm to win this fight, and Zoya Nazyalensky must embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs, meanwhile Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital.”
    • The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
      By Sonora Reyes
      "Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way."
      -Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
    • Whiteout
      Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon
      “In Atlanta, just before Christmas, twelve teens band together to help a friend pull off the most epic apology of her life during the storm of the century, which results in a magical moment that changes everything.”
      -Quill Tree Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
    • This Book Is Gay
      By Juno Dawson
      "This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it's like to grow up LGBTQ+ also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations."

    Adult Books

    • A Master of Djinn
      By P. Djèlí Clark
      "Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer."
    • A Quick & Easy Guide to Asexuality
      By Molly Muldoon
      "Asexuality is often called the 'invisible orientation.' You don’t learn about it in school, and you don’t hear 'ace' on television."
      -Limerence Press, an imprint of Oni-Lion Forge Publishing
    • Fine: A Comic About Gender
      By Ewing, Rhea
      "Graphic artist Rhea Ewing celebrates the incredible diversity of experiences within the transgender community with this vibrant and revealing debut.”
      -Liveright Publishing Corporation
    • Here for It
      By R. Eric Thomas
      "R. Eric Thomas didn’t know he was different until the world told him so. Everywhere he went — whether it was his rich, mostly white, suburban high school, his conservative black church, or his Ivy League college in a big city — he found himself on the outside looking in."
      -Ballantine Books Group, part of the Random House family
    • Love That Story
      By Jonathan Van Ness
      "If Jonathan learned anything from the painful life experiences, it’s that in order to thrive, he needed to push past the shame and fear of being his true self, which meant getting comfortable with being uncomfortable."
      -HaperOne is a publishing imprint of HarperCollins
    • Reclaiming Two-spirits: Sexuality, Spiritual Renewal, & Sovereignty in Native America
      By Gregory D. Smithers
      "A sweeping history of Indigenous traditions of gender and sexuality that decolonizes North America's past and reveals how Two-Spirit people are reclaiming their place in Native nations.”
      -Beacon Press
    • Red, White & Royal Blue
      By Casey McQuiston
      "When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius — his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse."
      -St. Martin's Griffin
    • She Who Became the Sun
      By Shelley Parker-Chan
      "When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother's identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate."
      -Tor Books
    • The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World
      By Mason Funk
      "Captures the true story of the LGBTQ civil rights movement from the 1960s to the present through richly detailed, stunning interviews with the leaders, activists, and ordinary people who witnessed the revolution and made it happen!"
      -HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
    • The Pride Atlas: 500 Iconic Destinations for Queer Travelers
      By Maartje Hensen
      "Welcome to the ultimate guidebook for LGBTQ+ travelers! Whether you're looking for relaxation, romance, or adventure, The Pride Atlas will help you plan your next gaycation.”
      -Chronicle Books
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