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LGBTQ+ Reads for Black History Month (and any other time of year!)

This list of Librarian Picks was created by Goodman South Madison Librarians Savannah Carr and Farrah McDaniel in 2021. Whether you're looking for family reads, books for tween/teens, or adult materials, we've got you covered!

Picture Books

Cover of My Rainbow
Trinity and DeShanna
Neal
Art Twink
Kokila
2020

A tale of a supportive mother and a brave kid. Written by real-life mother-daughter activist team DeShanna and Trinity Neal, who were also featured in the Gender Issue of National Geographic.

 

Cover of Sylvia and Marsha Start a
Joy Michael
Ellison
Teshika Silver
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
2021

A picture book about Stonewall that focuses on queeroes Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

Cover of I Am Perfectly Designed
Karamo
Brown
Anoosha Syed
Henry Holt and Company
2019

A father and son talk about identity and self-love. Written by social worker and Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and his son, Jason "Rachel" Brown.

Cover of Rainbow Revolutionaries: 5
Sarah
Prager
Sarah Papworth
HarperCollins
2020

While this book covers people of all races, it includes several profiles of Black LGBTQ+ people like Alvin Ailey, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Banneker, Ma Rainey, and Josephine Baker.

Books for Teens and Tweens

Cover of A Phoenix Must First Burn:
Patrice
Caldwell
Viking Children's Books
2020

A collection of of speculative fiction stories written by Black women and gender non-conforming individuals that are inspired by folktales, heritage, and possibilities.

Cover of All Boys Aren't Blue
George M.
Johnson
Farrar Strauss Giroux
2020

Journalist and activist George M. Johnson recounts his childhood in New Jersey and Virginia.

Cover of Dread Nation
Justina
Ireland
Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
2018

Jane, a bisexual Black girl fights zombies during the Reconstruction era. Her story continues in the sequel, Deathless Divide.

Cover of The House You Pass on the
Jacqueline
Woodson
Delacorte Press
1997

Set in the South in the 1960's, 13-year-old heroine Staggerlee falls in love with her friend Hazel and comes to terms with her intersectional identity.

Cover of Troublemaker for Justice:
Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long
City Lights Books
2019

An advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and a major organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, Rustin was left out of the spotlight for being an openly gay man.

Cover of A High Five for Glenn Burk
Phil
Bildner
Farrar Strauss Giroux
2020

An approachable YA book that blends the history of Glenn Burke, a gay MLB player, with the story of a sixth-grader named Silas who is just beginning the process of coming out.

For Adults

Cover of Sister Outsider
Audre
Lorde
Crossing Press
2007

A collection of speeches and essays by feminist, lesbian, poet, cancer survivor, and mother Audre Lorde.

Cover of Paris Is Burning (DVD)
Miramax Home Entertainment
2005

A documentary focusing on the Black and Latinx ball scene in New York City in the 1980's. The grassroots ball scene provided these communities with a sense of family, pride, and identity. RuPaul's Drag Race owes its success to the drag performers and gender nonconforming people of color in this film.

Cover of Zami: A New Spelling of My
Audre
Lorde
Crossing Press
1982

A memoir of the Black, lesbian poet Audre Lorde chronicling her childhood and early adulthood in Harlem in the 1950s.

Cover of Wayward Lives, Beautiful E
Saidiya V.
Hartman
W.W. Norton & Company
2019

This nonfiction text focuses on Black sexual liberation in New York and Philadelphia in the early 20th centrury.

Cover of The New Negro: The Life of
Jeffrey C.
Stewart
Oxford University Press
2018

A profile of the man who mentored Langston Hughes, Jacob Lawrence, and Zora Neale Hurston

Cover of What Truth Sounds Like: Ro
Eric Michael
Dyson
St. Martin's Press
2018

Pop culture commentary mixed with history in an easily digestible but highly intellectually stimulating book.

Cover of James Baldwin: Living in F
Bill
Mullen
Pluto Press
2019

An updated, in-depth profile of Civil Rights icon James Baldwin.

Cover of Redefining Realness: My pa
Janet
Mock
Atria Books
2014

An autobiography of transgender media trailblazer Janet Mock.

Cover of B-Boy Blues: A seriously s
James Earl
Hardy
Alyson
1994

A fun but honest story of about Black gay men in New York.

Cover of Black Girl Dangerous: On R
Mia
McKenzie
BGD Press Inc.
2014

McKenzie, the author of popular website BGD (formerly Black Girl Dangerous) explores the multilayered, intersectional experience of queer Black people in an academic but approachable way.

Cover of Coffee Will Make You Black
Book Cover
April
Sinclair
Hyperion
1994

A coming-of-age lesbian romance set in Chicago during the Civil Rights Era. Sinclair blends humor and history in this clever work.