Pride and Progress

Here at Des Plaines Public Library, we are happy to celebrate June as Pride Month!

Pride Month commemorates the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. 

In the early morning of June 28, 1969, Manhattan police tried to raid the Stonewall Inn and many of the patrons of the gay bar, including Trans activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, decided that enough was enough. Violence broke out between police and the growing crowd, leading to what we now view today to be one of the most important moments in the gay liberation movement.

Pride Month is a time for people who identify as LGBTQIAP+ to celebrate and proudly express their sexual and gender identities via parades, parties, picnics, art, and more, in ways as varied and unique as all the members of the community.

Of course, there are so many facets that make up a person.

That's why Pride is also intersectional.

Intersectionality, a term coined by lawyer and activist Kimberlé Crenshaw, describes how our lives do not revolve around a single identity, rather our race, gender, sexuality, class, and more connect and interact with one another in unique ways.

Progress Pride Flag

To acknowledge this, the newer Progress Pride flag, created in 2018 on Kickstarter by Daniel Quasar, has added a striped arrow in the corner.

The black and brown stripes recognize the unique experiences of people of color and people living with AIDS, and the pink, white, and blue stripes are representative of the trans flag created by Monica Helms in 1999, highlighting transgender and nonbinary individuals.

These colors together form an arrow, representing the forward progress being made, and the progress still to continue.

(If you are interested in learning more about this new flag, you can take a look at Daniel Quasar’s website)

The Des Plaines Public Library is dedicated to this progress of inclusivity and diversity, striving to serve as a welcoming and safe space for all patrons including members of the LGBTQIAP+ community.

And of course, books are a significant way that we and our patrons can express ourselves or learn about the world around us. As you participate in Summer Reading with us, why not expand your horizons? 

Here is just a small sampling of some of our staff’s favorite titles, organized for youngest readers to adults, that celebrate the history, intersectionality, nuance, progress, and love of the LGBTQIAP+ experience.

This Day in June by Gale Pitman

This Day in June By Gayle E. Pitman

Picture Book for all ages

This is the perfect primer for young ones. A picture book illustrating a Pride parade. The endmatter serves as a primer on LGBT history and culture and explains the references made in the story.

When Kyle Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

When Kyle Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff

Picture Book for all ages

Aidan, a transgender boy, experiences complicated emotions as he and his parents prepare for the arrival of a new baby in this Stonewall Award winner.
(Also check out Call Me Max by Kyle Lukoff for a great all-ages introduction to what being transgender means)

My Rainbow by Trinity Neal

My Rainbow by Trinity Neal

Picture Book for all ages

A dedicated mom puts love into action as she creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter, based on the real-life experience of mother-daughter advocate duo Trinity and DeShanna Neal.

Ana on the Edge by AJ Sass

Ana on the Edge by AJ Sass 

Grades 3 and up

Ana loves competitive ice-skating, but she does not love that next season's program will force her to don princess attire for her costume. She doesn't realize why the very idea makes her so uncomfortable in her own skin, though, until she meets Hayden, a trans boy who's new to the rink and mistakenly thinks she's a boy too. When Ana lets him believe it, it starts her down a path to realizing that she's nonbinary and that she may have to fight to make her own space on the ice.

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake

Grades 3 and up

Twelve-year-old Sunny St. James must navigate heart surgery, reconnections with a lost mother, the betrayal of a former best friend, first kisses, and emerging feelings for another girl. [ebook]

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy

Grades 4 and up

The start of middle school is making Rahul Kapoor feel increasingly anxious, so his grandfather, Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you're really good at and become the BEST at it. While Rahul's not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won't be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge.... But what if he discovers he isn't the best at anything? [ebook]

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Grades 7 and up

Real life isn't a fairytale. But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he's going through? Is there a way to tell them he's gay? [ebook]

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Grades 7 and up

Seventeen-year-old Elatsoe ("Ellie" for short) lives in a slightly stranger America shaped by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its people. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect façade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family [ebook]

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Grades 8 and up

Yadriel, a trans boy, summons the angry spirit of his high school's bad boy, and agrees to help him learn how he died, thereby proving himself a brujo, not a bruja, to his conservative family. [ebook]

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Grades 9 and up

Felix Love, a transgender seventeen-year-old, attempts to get revenge by catfishing his anonymous bully, but lands in a quasi-love triangle with his former enemy and his best friend. [ebook]

(Callender is also an award-winning author known for middle grade titles King and the Dragonflies and Hurricane Child)

Once & Future by AR Capetta and Cory McCarthy

Once & Future by AR Capetta and Cory McCarthy

Grades 9 and up

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind. [ebook]

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Grades 9 and up

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day. [ebook]

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Adult Romance

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train... [ebook]

The chosen and the beautiful By Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful By Nghi Vo

Adult Fiction

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society-she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. [ebook]

(Also check out Vo's Hugo-nominated fantasy novella The Empress of Salt and Fortune)

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Adult Fiction

Intertwining stories set 30 years apart take us through the heartbreak of the '80s AIDS epidemic and the chaos of the modern world as Yale, the developmental director for a Chicago art gallery in 1985, and Fiona, searching for her daughter who disappeared into a cult, struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster. [ebook]

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Adult Science Fiction

During a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court, Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident--or that Mahit might be next to die... Now Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion--all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret--one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life--or rescue it from annihilation. [ebook]

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Adult Memoir

Jones's memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence--into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another--and to one another--as we fight to become ourselves. [ebook]

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Adult Graphic Novel Memoir

Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity--what it means and how to think about it--for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere. [ebook]

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