Secondary school booklist

Our recommended LGBTQ+ reading list for children and young people at secondary school.

The Deepest Breath – Meg Grehan

Age appropriate content for coming to terms with early lesbian sexuality. Written in accessible verse with a reassuring tone.

Heartstopper (5 volumes) – Alice Osman

A coming of age graphic novel about two school boys falling in love.

Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

Powerful story of embracing change and loving yourself centred on a mixed-race gay teen who finds himself through drag.

Dance on my Grave – Aiden Chambers

A poignant coming of age story about young gay love. 

Yay! You‘re gay! Now What? A Gay Boy‘s Guide to Life – Riyadh Khalif

A practical and positive go-to guide for young gay bisexual boys.

Portrait of the Artist – Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry explores gender writing about his experiences dressing as Claire. 

Wayward Children – Seanan Mcguire

A fantasy series that, amongst other themes, covers LGBTQ+ identity in young people. Characters start out from 9-13 – coming from portal worlds to a boarding school for wayward youth.

Under the Rainbow – Celia Laskey

Social activists arrive upon a small town, forcing residents to challenge their beliefs and own life narratives.

Trans Teen Survival Guide – Fox and Owl Fisher

The life story of Kate’s journey with gender, career and love that touches on gender theory, cultural assumptions and introduces some great questions about labels.

Gender Outlaw – Kate Bornstein

The life story of Kate’s journey with gender, career and love that touches on gender theory, cultural assumptions and introduces some great questions about labels.

Ask a Queer Chick – Lindsay King-Millar

Guide to sex, love and life for girls who like girls.

Romance in Marseille – Claude Mckay

Set in the culture-blending Vieux Port of Marseille at the height of the Jazz Age, this is a lovely piece of queer black modernist fiction.

Trumpet – Jackie Kay

A fiction inspired by a real-life story, that a jazz musician’s transgender identity was discovered upon death. A portrait told through friends and family.

To My Trans Sisters – Edited by Charlie Craggs

Successful transgender women from every walk of life write letters to empower the next generation – a variety of voices and perspectives are depicted.

Like Water – Rebecca Podos

Vanni and Leigh become friends – a book exploring self-discovery, family and culture. 

Beyond the Gender Binary for LGBTQ Youth – Alok Vaid-Menon 

Book for inspiration breaking the binary, focussing on empowering queer youth. 

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children – Kirstin Cronn-Mills 

Elizabeth knows he is a boy and uses a gig as radio DJ to try a new identity. 

Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy – Bil Wright

Going beyond stereotypes to the heart of identity and goals.

The Gender Games: The Problem with Men and Women, from Someone Who Has Been Both – Juno Dawson 

Illustrates the social parts of gender and how stereotypes are harmful to everyone.

Redefining Realness – Janet Mock

Memoir by Janet Mock, her experiences, career and identity. Dubbed ‘a classic American autobiography’.

Awkward and Definition – Ariel Schrag 

Biographical tales in comic form of an awkward teen coming to terms with lesbian identity.

Fun Home – Alison Bechdel

A great graphic novel that is an academic but touching read with family subject matter and relationships at its heart.

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

A forced coming-out forces a coming of age narrative that is funny and sweet in tone.

One in Every Crowd – Ivan E. Coyote 

Honest, plain-spoken tales of growing up, experiences of both cruelty and kindness in unexpected places. Funny and aimed at LGBTQ+ Youth.

The Stonewall Riots – Gayle E. Pitman

A historical overview of the events and aftermath of the stonewall riots suitable for high-school level readers. 

Colour Outside the Lines: Stories about Love- Sangu Mandanna

A wonderful, positive anthology of stories about race, gender, sexuality, and love that celebrates the beauty difference. 

Moonstruck (3 volumes) – Grace Ellis

A theme of embracing who you are, rather than trying to fit in, runs through a graphic novel.

Lumberjanes (multiple volumes) – Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters and Brooke Allen

Miss Quinzella Thiskin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-types is not your average summer camp and the Lumberjanes are not your average campers. Graphic novel with LGBTQ+ representation throughout.

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir – Liz Prince

Tomboy follows award-winning author and artist Liz Prince through her early years and explores – with humour, honesty and poignancy – what it means to ‘be a girl’.

Gay Club – Simon James Green

Hilarious look at – and heartfelt celebration of – queer students organising to make a difference.

Felix Ever After – Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognising the love you deserve. 

The Henna Wars – Adiba Jaigirdar

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants – as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians.

Drama – Rana Telgemeier

This graphic novel follows Callie while she finds out that putting on a play is not straightforward – and neither is friendship when you develop feelings for one of your friends.

Two Boys Kissing – David Leviathan

Two 17-year-old boys, Harry and Craig, decide to take part in a 32-hour kissing marathon set new Guinness World Record. The boys’ becomes focal point explore the lives, loves struggles of long-time couple, broken-up boy searching be couple.

Nothing Ever Happens Here – Sarah Hagger-Holt

When Izzy’s dad comes out as trans, it takes her a while to get used to it.

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School – Sonora Reyes

A debut novel about a queer Mexican-American girl navigating Catholic school, while falling in love and learning to celebrate her true self.

They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera

Follows two strangers who, after receiving the chilling notification of their imminent demise, embark on a profound journey of self-discovery and connection in their final twenty-four hours.

Gender Explorers – Juno Roche

In this life-affirming, heartening and refreshing collection of interviews, young trans people offer valuable insight and advice into what has helped them to flourish and feel happy in their experience of growing up trans.

Nimona – Nd Stevenson

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic graphic novel.

All Boys Aren’t Blue – George M. Johnson; Blue – George M. Johnson 

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of colour, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalisation, consent, and Black joy.

Star Crossed – Barbara Dee

‘Star Crossed’ follows Mattie as she takes on the role of Romeo in the middle school production of Romeo and Juliet. When she falls for Juliet in real life, it takes Mattie a while to get used to the idea.

Welcome To St. Hell – Lewis Hancox

A ground-breaking memoir about being a trans teen. This graphic novel takes readers on the hilarious, heart-breaking and healing path he took to make it past trauma, confusion, hurt and dubious fashion choices in order to become the man he was meant to be.

Wain: LGBT Reimagining’s of Scottish Folklore- Rachel Plummer and Helene Boppert 

Wain is a beautifully illustrated poetry collection based on Scottish Folktales, retold with an LGBTQ+ slant.

Parrotfish – Ellen Wittlinger

Angela Katz-McNair has never felt quite right as a girl, so coming out as a boy called Grady feels right to him. However, he isn’t prepared for the reaction he gets from everyone else.

Rainbow Revolutions – Jamie Lawson and Eve Lloyd Knight

This graphic novel presents key moments from LGBTQ+ history in a straightforward and easy to understand way.

Rick – Alex Gino

We follow Rick as he starts middle school, gets a bit wiser and starts to learn the difference between good friends and bad friends. During this time, he also realises there’s a name for people that aren’t attracted to people of any gender. With the help of his new friends, he comes to accept his asexuality.

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency series- JD Lapinski 

The main character, Johnathan, is trans and gay. This is hinted at in the first of the series of books but is made more obvious in the second and third. However, Johnathan’s LGBTQ+ identity is incidental and not the main focus of the story.

The Magic Fish – Trung Le Nguyen

This beautiful graphic novel tells the story of Tiến, a 13 year old boy struggling to tell his parents that he’s gay.

If You Still Recognise Me – Cynthia So 

Elsie has a crush on Ada, the only person in the world who truly understands her. Unfortunately, they’ve never met in real life and Ada lives an ocean away. But Elsie has decided it’s now or never to tell Ada how she feels.

Nikhil Out Loud – Maulik Pancholy

A novel about a gay Indian American boy who learns the power of using his voice.

Primary school

Take a look at our recommended LGBTQ+ reading list for children in primary school.

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