Articles

Youth Book Corner: Pride Month Reads

June is Pride Month and the perfect excuse for us to continue to celebrate the inspiring books written by LGTBQIA2S+ authors. Here are just a few of them recommended by our Outreach Coordinator, Leena Desai. 

Over the Shop
Written by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng

JonArno Lawson is the Governor General’s Literary award-winning author of the wordless picture book, Sidewalk Flowers. In Over the Shop, he once again decides to tell a story with images and just a few, sparse words. A lonely little girl lives with her grandparent in an old, run-down building. The apartment over their shop needs to be rented out but its condition deters many prospective tenants from calling it a home. Then comes along a couple who see the possibilities in the place and with the girl as their little helper, they transform it into a cosy home. The transformation of the space mirrors that of the grandfather and the girl. They have never met someone like the couple before, but by the end, their small company has just expanded in unexpected ways. Lawson and illustrator Qin Leng convey big ideas with great subtlety. Themes and messages are conveyed through a few words contained within the illustrations and some well-placed pride rainbows. This makes the book a perfect way to subtly expose young minds to the idea of accepting people, no matter what their gender or sexual orientation. Grades Preschool-2

My Life as a Diamond
Written by Jenny Manzer

My Life as a Diamond is a story about coming out and reclaiming one’s identity in the world of sports that is not usually known for celebrating difference and individualism. This is the story of Caspar “Caz” Cadman who joins the local baseball team in Seattle, a city he has just moved to with his family from Toronto. Caz is passionate about baseball but his aspirations are always kept in check by a big secret. In Toronto, Caz used to live life as a girl named Cassandra. It’s an aspect of his life that Caz decides he will reveal when he’s ready and has new friends. The book grapples with what happens when Caz’s secret is revealed prematurely and he has to face a team that might not accept him any longer. My Life as a Diamond deals with heavy subject matter around identity and agency, but the fast pace of the book and the warmth and humour author Jenny Manzer imbues it with make this an accessible middle-grade read. Grades 3-7

Green Glass Ghosts
Written by Rae Spoon, illustrated by Gem Hall

Rae Spoon’s Green Glass Ghosts is the coming-of-age story of a young musician trying to make a life for themselves in a new city that offers both belongingness and alienation. The queer narrator of the book moves to Vancouver from Calgary to escape his religious, conservative family and a dead-end job. In Vancouver, they find friends, love, work, and a sense of community in other queer people, but they also descend into addiction, destructive relationships, and a loss of purpose. Green Glass Ghosts is an achingly personal novel with haunting illustrations by Gem Hall that takes us on an immersive journey with our nameless hero who realizes that to survive in a city full of faceless green glass towers, they need to confront the ghosts of their past and learn to love themselves. Grades 11-12

Author

Leena Desai