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 nearly double the number of starred reviews: 152 titles received at least 1 star (89 in 2018) and 38 titles received 3+ stars (26 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 Also worth noting, one starred, #ownvoices book by an LGBTQIA+ author was withdrawn from publicationnot for its LGBTQIA+ content, but for “problematic representation of the Kosovo War, genocide, and Muslim characters.”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 have 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)
  • Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott (BCCB, Kirkus, SLJ, PW)
  • 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

updated 2/5/21 Using CCBC’s Diversity Statistics Book Search, I added additional titles that I had missed in the initial post. These original post noted 141 titles received at least 1 star (68 in 2018) and 39 titles received 3+ stars (14 in 2018). All those numbers are incorrect and have been updated above. The link to the full list indicates which titles were added and which do not appear in the CCBC’s database.

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