Books

8 New LGBTQ Middle Grade Books for Readers of All Ages

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There are 24 tasks in the 2024 Read Harder Challenge, and while that’s spread out over the course of the year, it can sometimes feel like a lot of reading to get through. That’s why tasks like #6, Read a middle grade book with an LGBTQIA main character, are helpful. Middle grade books are typically quick, easy reads, so if you’re a bit behind on the challenge, tasks like this can help you catch up. Plus, there are so many excellent new LGBTQ middle grade books to choose from!

When I first started writing about queer books more than a decade ago, LGBTQ middle grade books were very rare. There were some picture books with two mom or two dad families, and there were some queer YA books, but there wasn’t really anything in between. I’m so happy to say that’s no longer the case. There are plenty of fantastic queer middle grade books out there, including these new LGBTQ middle grade books out in 2023 and 2024.

The reason this is a task in this year’s Read Harder Challenge is that as more LGBTQ middle grade books are getting published, they’re also getting banned and challenged in many school districts and even public libraries. (Follow the Literary Activism newsletter to keep up to date with book ban attempts and how to fight them.) This is a chance for you to see for yourself how heartwarming these books are. As you read them, try to put yourself in the shoes of a kid seeing themselves for the first time in the pages. It can be such a life-affirming experience to see yourself represented.

Here are some recommendations for new LGBTQ middle grade books to complete task #6, but this is only a small sample of the fabulous world of queer middle grade books! Let me know in the comments what you’re planning to read and if you have any you recommend to others.

the cover of Emma and the Love Spellthe cover of Emma and the Love Spell

Emma and the Love Spell by Meredith Ireland

Emma’s crush and best friend, Avangeline, is moving after her parents got divorced. But Emma has the perfect idea to fix it. She’ll secretly use her magic powers to get Avangeline’s parents to fall back in love. Sure, she promised her parents she wouldn’t use her powers or tell anyone about them since they’re unreliable, but it’s just one little love spell. What could go wrong?

the cover of Asking for a Friendthe cover of Asking for a Friend

Asking for a Friend by Ronnie Riley

This one isn’t out until June 4th, but you can preorder it now and read it just in time for Pride month! Eden has social anxiety, which makes it hard to make friends. That’s why they lied to their mom about having three friends at school: Duke, Ramona, and Tabitha. Then Eden’s mom invites these “friends” to their birthday party. Can Eden convince three people they’ve never spoken to before to be friends…at least until the end of the party? This has asexual, nonbinary, and bi representation.

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