6/7/20

For Pride month--middle grade sci fi/fantasy books with young LGBTQ+ characters

I would like to have a long list of middle grade books (mg being those marketed to 9-12 year olds) with young LGBTQ+ characters to offer. Instead, I have a short list.  Please let me know of any I missed! (I'm not including graphic novels, because I don't read them widely enough to know all the books).

Middle grade fantasy/sci fi isn't really a place where sexual relationships flourish, because these are kids, not yet teenagers for the most part, caught up in wild adventures. But still, there are plenty of moments of heterosexual attraction, and it would be great to see more LGBTQ+ characters too! (links go to my review, where applicable, or to Goodreads).

Jane Doe and the Cradle of  All Worlds, by Jeremy Lachlan.
A protagonist!   Jane has a very natural (in the sense of a sudden sharp realization of physical attraction such as is natural for older ), very much unacted on as yet, feeling for Violet, the other main girl character.  A quick skim through Goodreads reviews suggests that either the moment this is made explicit is subtle enough so that many readers don't register it, or else it hasn't had much of a US readership....(sigh).  I myself am looking forward to the sequel!

Lintang and the Pirate Queen, by Tamara Moss
One of the crew of the pirate ship is a trans boy, whose gender identity is so unquestioned that he, like any other boy, is in danger from the lure of the siren.

Wings of Fire series, by Tui T. Sutherland
There are lots and lots of dragon characters, and I didn't make notes about all the relationships.  Apparently there are 8 clearly identified LGBT dragons....Darkness of Dragons has, I think, the first-- two young girl dragons, Anemone and Tamarin.. They are minor characters in this book, and their relationship is an aside rather than a plot point, but it's there. Having just gone and looked at the Goodreads reviews, it displeased a lot of people that some dragons being gay is a taken for granted thing in this dragon world (another sigh).  

Sundew, the pov protagonist of the Poison Jungle (who is more older teen than a 9-12 year old), is in a relationship will another girl dragon, Willow--"And you're still the only dragon for me, too, Willow, light of my life, I promise I will never fall for a beautiful SilkWing and leave you."  (Poison Jungle, p 118).  I just read, with considerable interest, the Wings of Fire fandom conversation about this, and recommend it for a look at what the fans think about it; the biggest controversy is whether Sundew should be called lesbian (cause she could be bi or pan, and gay would also apply, and Sapphic was offered as a useful alternative), and it lead to the creation of an LGBTQ support group thread, which just goes to show that positive representation in books kids enjoy reading is a good thing for gay (or lesbian or pan or Sapphic kids).

And then there's Rick Riordan, who has a number of LGBTQ+ characters in his books....

And the Rick Riordan Presents imprint is also adding a bit to this list (thanks Jenna and Hallie for these two!)--

Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez.  Sal, the main character, is aro

Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee, has an important secondary character who is a non-binary goblin (with a snack conjuring fork....)





7 comments:

  1. I just finished reading Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe. I thought Sal was hinted at being ace/aro in the first book (can't recall if that was confirmed) but he's definitely confirmed as aro in the second book.

    The protagonist in The Whispers by Greg Howard is gay. However, it's not really fantasy imo, though it is often labelled as such.

    I wish I had more to add! You are right that there is definitely a gap here...

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    1. thanks! I need to read both of those.

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    2. Oh, yes! I picked that up in the first Sal & Gabi and it made me happy, I'm so tickled to hear that it's actual canon now! (SOME day I will actually get my HANDS on book 2!)

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  2. Rick Riordan's Magnus Chase has a non-binary character.

    I'm guessing you are putting Tamora Pierce books as YA.

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    1. I gave Rick Riordan a general nod; he has several gay and lesbian characters in the Percy Jackson books too! and I haven't (hangs head) actually ever read any Tamora Pierce....

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  3. There is a character who uses they/them pronouns in Yoon Ha Lee's Dragon Pearl. I know I've seen a few more MGs announced, but not remembering titles right now (or if they're out), so hoping to see this list expand in the next couple of years as books publish. Thanks for this!

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