• Celebrate Pride Month with These Inclusive Middle Grade Books


    June is Pride Month, and to celebrate inclusion here are five great middle grade novels, all available at the Barrington Area Library.

    Zenobia July
    Lisa Bunker

    Zenobia just moved across the country to Maine, and everything feels different: she's making new friends, she doesn't want to stay cooped up in her room all day, and, perhaps most importantly, nobody calls her a boy.

    As she settles into her new life and community, Zenobia is shocked to discover that someone has been posting hateful memes on the school website. Using her skills as a coder and hacker, Zenobia must team up with her newfound friends and figure out who is trying to hurt her.


    Too Bright to See
    Kyle Lukoff

    It's the summer before middle school, and while Bug would prefer to spend it having fun with Moira, Moira has different priorities -- buying new clothes, honing her makeup skills, and talking about boys. But Bug doesn't have time to worry about Moira's changing personality: there's a ghost in Bug's house...

    Too Bright to See is a heartfelt exploration of grief, the complexities of friendship, growing older, and what it's like to grapple with one's gender identity.


    Martin McLean, Middle School Queen
    Alyssa Zaczek

    When you look at it objectively, Martin shouldn't have any trouble expressing himself: his mother's an artist, his uncle's in theater, he's surrounded by quirky, outspoken personalities... but Martin just can't seem to find the right way to be himself. That is, until his uncle introduces him to the world of drag.

    And thus, Lottie León is born!

    Martin loves dressing in drag, loves the confidence boost, but he can't bring himself to open up to his friends about it. What if they make fun of him? What if the magic of Lottie León goes away? And that's not even mentioning Martin's new crush, Chris. Martin's content to keep his double life a secret, until a scheduling conflict between his Mathletes club and his first-ever drag show forces him to reveal his true self to his friends.


    Answers in the Pages
    David Levithan

    Donovan's a huge fan of The Adventurers, a story about two boys trying to thwart an evil genius. Donovan's mom, on the other hand, isn't wild about the book, especially when she becomes convinced that the two main characters are gay.

    The whole town works itself into a frenzy as Donovan's mom tries to get the book banned from school. Caught in the middle are Donovan, who doesn't understand why the adults are making such a big deal out of the book; as well as Gideon and Roberto, two classmates who are assigned to work on a book unit together.

    Told in three interwoven stories -- Donovan's, Gideon's and Roberto's, and the plot of The Adventurers -- Answers in the Pages depicts a very real, very pressing issue in the world of literature and education.


    Ellen Outside the Lines
    A.J. Sass

    Ellen Katz prefers it when things fit into easy categories. When plans work out and life makes sense: attending temple with her parents every weekend, hanging out with her best (and only) friend Laurel, etc. Ellen, who is on the autism spectrum, relies on Laurel to help her navigate the turbulent waters of middle school life. But now Laurel's making new friends, her interests are changing, and she doesn't seem to have as much time for Ellen.

    The two friends plan to fix their friendship during their Spanish class's trip to Spain, but things don't work out as they planned. Ellen is assigned to a different group, and finds herself without Laurel for the first time. Included in her new group is Isa, a nonbinary student whose identity challenges Ellen's way of looking at things.

    Ellen Outside the Lines is a heartwarming, sweet, and often silly celebration of those moments where life doesn't go exactly according to plan.


    Looking for recommendations? Fill out our form to get a custom list of reads or a Book Bundle for pickup.

      Youth Services Librarian Chris 


  • 9 Books That Celebrate the LGBTQ+ Community for Pride Month and Beyond

    Even though Pride Month is almost over, the Youth Services staff at the Barrington Area Library love to read books that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community all year round! Here are some of our most recent favorites.





    Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart and Anne Passchier

    A wonderful primer for LGBTQ+ pride for any time of the year, this book celebrates all kinds of families and the meaning behind each of the colors in the rainbow flag.







    When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita

    When Aidan was a baby, things didn’t go so smoothly for him. You see, everyone  thought he was a girl, and that was very frustrating for him, because he is actually a boy. Things got better for him when he got to pick out his name, his clothes, and share his true self with his family. When Aidan finds out that his mom is having a baby, he does everything he can to ensure that his family creates the most loving and inclusive  environment for his new sibling.




    Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale and Mika Song

    Ho’onani really wants to audition for the traditional hula chant at school, but this role is usually reserved for boys (kāne), not girls (wahine). But Ho’onani feels just like Ho’onani--not quite a girl and not quite a boy--and therefore decides to defy traditional gender norms and try out for the role anyway. Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrioris an inspiring tale that showcases the dynamic tradition of the māhū, or nonbinary, people of Hawaii.






    It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book about Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn and Noah Grigni

    This is a non-fiction introduction to gender identity that provides accessible explanations and language for different identities, and encourages children to be true to themselves.











    Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History by Sarah Prager and Sarah Prapworth

    This illustrated biography collection celebrates the lives of revolutionary figures in the LGBTQ+ community, such as Marsha P. Johnson, Frida Kahlo, James Baldwin, Sylvia Rivera, and so many more!












    Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender

    Because she was born during a hurricane, Caroline Murphy believes she has been cursed with bad luck. Everything around her seems to confirm this: her mom left abruptly, her classmates and teacher bully her for her dark skin, and she seems to be followed around by a mysterious spirit. Things begin to change when she befriends a new student named Kalinda, but she also must grapple with her budding feelings for this person in a world that describes them as sinful. Infused with magical realism, this book is a vibrant and poetic masterpiece.









    Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker

    Zenobia July is starting a new life in Portland, Maine with her cool, eccentric aunts after the death of her not-so-accepting father. An expert coder and hacker, Zenobia often hid behind her computer in the past, but begins to open herself to a new friend group. She is reluctant to share her true gender identity, even after developing a strong relationship with Arlo, who is genderqueer and uses vo/ven/veir pronouns, but decides to take a stand when someone posts transphobic and anti-Muslim memes to the school’s website. This is a phenomenal story about navigating identity and friendship, standing up for what is right, and growing and learning from our mistakes along the way.








    Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

    12-year-old Mattie, a star student and book lover, is beyond excited when she's cast as Romeo in her school's production of Romeo and Juliet. As opening night approaches, Mattie develops a crush on Gemma, the new girl in school who just so happens to be playing Juliet. But does brilliant, outgoing Gemma like her back? This is a sweet, funny romance in which Mattie learns how to be the leading player in her own life.










    The Moon Within by Aida Salazar

    An Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret for the modern age, Celi is turning 12 soon and trying to make sense of all the impending changes happening in her life. Written in verse, this book beautifully encapsulates the ups and downs of middle school, including first crushes, body changes, and helping a friend who has recently come out as genderfluid navigate a world that can sometimes be so cruel.








    Looking for some personalized selections? Fill out thisform and you’ll receive a customized list direct to your inbox!


        Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie