Children's Literature (all forms)

Rainbow Books

When you think of Rainbow Books, what pops immediately into your head?  Unicorns and glitter, sugar and spice and everything nice?  Not hardly.  Think a dog in a tutu yearning for his moment in the sun; a girl learning to deal with her dad’s new boyfriend; a cross-dressing pirate; a young woman incarcerated for not only wanting to become a doctor but also for the “crime” of loving another woman; coming to terms with the death of your best friend and first love; learning how to come out to your parents and your friends; being kicked out when you came out to your family; having to hide your sexuality in order to serve your country; finding acceptance in yourself.

These are the types of issues that you’ll find with Rainbow Books, the annual bibliography of the ALA’s GLBT-RT/SRRT joint project, The Rainbow Project.  Every year, the nine person Rainbow Project committee looks at hundreds of new books published during the last 18 months (this year July 2010 through December 2011) for youth (birth through 18), and seeks out the best that reflect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning experiences.

From these hundreds of books, the committee nominates the best, and then during the Midwinter Meeting, held this coming January in Dallas, Texas, we meet to debate the merits of each of the nominated books.  Is this excellence in writing?  Does this picture book have quality illustrations?  Are these experiences authentic?  Does the information hold true or are there misprints and errors in the book?  These, and dozens more questions, are discussed for each and every title that gets nominated.

For this year’s list, 2012 Rainbow Books, we currently have 9 books nominated for consideration:  Huntress by Malinda Lo, Pink by Lili Wilkinson, Annabel by Kathleen Winters, I Am J by Cris Beam, Welcome to My World by Johnny Weir, Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez, Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan, Shine by Lauren Myracle, and Hidden by Tomas Mournian.  More will be nominated as the year goes on, and not all of the nominated books may make it to the final bibliography.

Know of a new title that you think would fit for this year’s Rainbow Books?  We take field submissions from non-committee members! Read the book, then send book information including the author, title, ISBN number, and publisher to  Field submissions must be received by September 30, 2011 in order to be considered, and cannot be submitted by anyone affiliated with the authors or publishers of the proposed book.

Interested in following our progress?  Follow our blog or join us on Twitter or Facebook.


Our guest blogger today is Christie Gibrich, Senior Librarian at Bowles Life Center Branch Library in Grand Prairie, Texas and a Rainbow Project Committee Member. 

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at


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