2019 Lambda Literary Awards: LGBTQ Titles for Children and Young Adults

The 2019 Lammy Award finalists were announced earlier this month, and there are eight contenders in the LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult category.  Among them are some of our favorite recent titles, including last year’s National Book Award Winner The Poet X and both(!) of Kheryn Callender’s novels.  We were especially pleased at the diversity of both authors and character voices in this year’s finalists!

Here are the titles being considered for the 31st Annual Lambda Literary Awards for children and teens:

The Poet X by Elizabeth AcevedoThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Navigating the world has become exponentially more difficult now that Xiomara has a woman’s body, but while her physical self has gained attention the rest of her goes unnoticed.  Xiomara has plenty to say, though, and an invite to the school’s poetry slam allows her to kick open a door she never knew existed.  Told in verse, this is a raw and intimate portrait of a young woman finding the courage to use her voice and make herself heard.

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring BlakeGirl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
When Hannah accuses Mara’s brother, Owen, of rape, it threatens to destroy the carefully crafted life Mara has built for herself.   But sometimes facing your biggest fears can have tremendous healing power and, as Mara struggles to resolve her feelings about her brother and her own burdensome secret, she finds the opportunity to acknowledge and heal.

Hurricane Child by Kheryn CallenderHurricane Child by Kheryn Callender
Cursed with the bad luck that follows a child born during a hurricane, 12-year-old Caroline has not had an easy life.   Relentlessly bullied at school, she is also dealing with her mother’s absence and visions of a spirit that no one else can see.  Things look up when Kalinda moves to Caroline’s school and the two become friends, but the relationship becomes complicated after Caroline reveals romantic feelings.

This is Kind of Epic Love Story by Kheryn CallenderThis is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender
Nate gave up on happy endings a long time ago, and his personal experiences have given his budding screenwriting career plenty of fodder.  But when Oliver Hernández, Nate’s childhood best friend moves back to town, Nate finally has the chance to tell Oliver how he feels, and maybe the chance to see if happy endings might actually exist in real life.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib KhorramDarius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Darius Kellner definitely does not run with the popular crowd.  Relentlessly bullied at school, a trip to Iran to spend time with his ailing grandfather offers some relief from the daily harassment and his battle with chronic depression.  Much to his surprise, it’s a developing friendship with Sohrab, the boy who lives next to his grandparents, that offers Darius his first real taste of possibility.  As Darius begins to learn more about Iran, his extended family, and himself, he begins to truly blossom.

Sawkill Girls by Clare LeGrandSawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
Something dark preys on the girls who live on the island of Sawkill Rock.  At least one girl in every generation goes missing, but Marion’s sister, Charlotte, is the second to disappear in as many years.  The Mortimer family, driven by a powerful mother and daughter, seems to be at the center of it all and Marion is determined to find her sister and put an end to the island’s terror.  Spine-chillingly dark, this is not for the faint of heart.

Anger is a Gift by Mark OshiroAnger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
During his sophomore year in high school, Moss Jeffries still suffers from the panic attacks that started after his father was murdered by Oakland police.  Now, his high school feels more like a prison, with random locker searches and ongoing intimidation from the police in the hallways.  After student protests result in a tragedy for one of Moss’s friends, tensions reach breaking point.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo SurmelisThe Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis
Evan Panos is doing everything he can to just get by.  Drawing in his sketchbook offers some relief from his mothers violent rages and his increasing desire to come out, but his growing attraction to his best friend, Henry, is threatening to undo the tightrope on which Evan is precariously balanced.


Find all the Lammy youth finalist books here.  Interested in more titles?  Check out our Seattle Picks: Teen – Queer booklist!

~Posted by Summer H.


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