2019 LBGTQIA+ Starred Review Roundup

I stepped away from Medal on My Mind last year and am continuing to do so again this year. But I had a draft of this list and wanted to get it out there, even though it’s old news. A quick comparison from last year’s list shows over double the number of starred reviews: 141 titles received at least 1 star (68 in 2018) and 39 titles received 3+ stars (14 in 2018). Also worth noting, one starred, #ownvoices book by an LGBTQIA+ author was withdrawn from publicationnot for its LGBTQIA+ content, but for “problematic representation of the Kosovo War, genocide, and Muslim characters.”

I haven’t personally read all these titles, so my including them here is not an endorsement. I’m just keeping a factual record of which titles received starred reviews because I think it’s interesting. The titles could tons of queer content or minimal content. For titles that have been vetted by multiple librarians with positive LGBTQIA+ representation, I’d encourage you to check out the Rainbow Book List and Stonewall Book Award selections.

Once again, I relied on Jen J’s fabulous starred reviews spreadsheet. I also used Goodreads tagging to help me identify which books had queer content. I’ll probably post a 2020 list once my Caldecott term is over. I really miss being able to write about what I’m reading. But, hey, it’s been nice to visit the past for a moment. Be well!

Note: All of these titles were published in 2019 and not eligible for the 2021 Caldecott.

6 stars

  • Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds (Booklist, BCCB, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Booklist, BCCB, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)

5 stars

  • The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown by Mac Barnett, illus. Sarah Jacoby (Booklist, BCCB, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake (Booklist, BCCB, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, illus. Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (Booklist, BCCB, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW)

4 stars

  • Angel Mage by Garth Nix (Booklist, BCCB, Kirkus, PW)
  • Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America ed. Ibi Zoboi
  • Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Gravity by Sarah Deming (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox (Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW)
  • It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn, illus. Noah Grigni (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (BCCB, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, Michael G. Long (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff, illus. Kaylani Juanita (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (Booklist, Horn Book, PW, SLJ)

3 stars

  • The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy (Booklist, Kirkus, PW)
  • Brave Face: A Memoir by Shaun David Hutchinson (Booklist, PW, SLJ)
  • Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater (Booklist, Kirkus, PW)
  • Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • The Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron (Booklist, Kirkus, PW)
  • Let’s Call it a Doomsday by Katie Henry (Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake (Booklist, Kirkus, SLJ)
  • The Moon Within by Aida Salazar (Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy (Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Operatic by Kyo Maclear, illus. Byron Eggenschwiler (Booklist, PW, SLJ)
  • Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh (Booklist, Kirkus, PW)
  • The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus (Booklist, Kirkus, PW)
  • There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool (BCCB, Kirkus, PW)
  • This Time Will be Different by Misa Suguira (Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
  • Viral: The Fight Against AIDS in America by Ann Bausum (Booklist, Horn Book, SLJ)
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power (Booklist, Kirkus, PW)
  • You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno (Booklist, Kirkus, PW)

What about 1 or 2 stars? Here’s a link to the full list for curious minds.

PW = Publisher’s Weekly
SLJ = School Library Journal
BCCB = Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books

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