15 Graphic Novels to Celebrate Pride This Month and Year-Round

As we find ourselves at the midway point of June, amidst the celebrations of Pride Month, it's an opportune time to reflect on the rich tapestry of narratives within the LGBTQIA+ community with 15 noteworthy graphic novels that can help us celebrate Pride this month, and year-round.

As we find ourselves at the midway point of June, amidst the celebrations of Pride Month, it's an opportune time to reflect on the rich tapestry of narratives within the LGBTQIA+ community. Here are 15 noteworthy graphic novels that can help us celebrate Pride this month, and year-round. From elementary to young adult books, these recent graphic novels are emblematic of the myriad voices and experiences within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. 


Camp Prodigy by Caroline Palmer. Atheneum. ISBN 9781665930383.
Gr 3-8–Tate decides they want to play the viola just like their hero, the musical child prodigy Eli. When Tate attends a concert where Eli loses confidence and runs away from playing their solo, Tate becomes more determined to master the instrument. The two middle school protagonists meet at Camp Prodigy the following summer and form a mutually supportive bond that includes refining musical technique, regaining self-confidence, and for Tate, becoming brave enough to come out to their family as nonbinary. A full cast of variously motivated tween campers, encouraging camp staff, and supportive families for both Tate and Eli creates a story that readily contains the twin arcs of gaining comfort with artistry and with gender identity. Colorful and overflowing with camp activities as well as musical performances, Tate and Eli’s summer evolves with inspired and inspiring positivity. VERDICT A tween graphic novel that checks both aesthetic and message boxes with grace—this one belongs in all public and middle and elementary school libraries.

 Lunar Boy by Jes Wibowo & Cin Wibowo. HarperAlley. ISBN 9780063057609.
Gr 6 Up–Indu is discovered on the moon by his adoptive mother Dariya during a space mission and grows up onboard a spaceship that houses an entire community. Indu comes out as trans at a young age and is easily accepted. However, when it is time for them to depart for New Earth—a futuristic, neo-Indonesian planet—Indu is faced with a language barrier, transphobia at school, and conflict with his brother. He is relieved when he starts to receive messages from the moon, which offer to take him back on New Year's Eve, but over time, Indu makes connections at a queer community center. With a renewed sense of belonging, Indu must decide to stay or go. References to Indonesian queer history emphasize that queer people have existed throughout time and in all cultures. Themes of acceptance and the importance of community make this a great pick for readers who are coming of age or struggling with identity. VERDICT This heartwarming story about found family and finding yourself is an immersive and refreshing shift from traditional science fiction.

The Ghostkeeper by Johanna Taylor. Putnam. ISBN 9780593526675.
Gr 6 Up–A Victorian-type setting, an adorable queer romance, ghosts, and plague doctor exorcists! After a childhood accident leaves Dorian with the ability to communicate with ghosts, he dedicates his life to easing the problems of shades and helping them cross to the other side. When a young ghost steals the key to Death’s Door, none are able to move on, and it's up to Dorian to find the key before the ghosts are driven mad. Unfortunately, this leaves Dorian almost no energy to devote to his fledgling relationship with a lovable bookseller, or for himself. Similar to TJ Klune’s Under the Whispering Door, the gentle story probes how grief can haunt us and how we must learn to let go. VERDICT This ghostly fantasy has much to delight over and offers everything that fans of cozy, spooky books want in a story.

Out of Left Field by Jonah Newman. Andrews McMeel. ISBN 9781524884840.
Gr 6-9–Jonah’s coming out story follows him from a French history-loving, nerdy high school underclassman to an unexpected baseball hero at graduation. Along the way, much unfolds: He makes good friends with a girl he previously tried to consider as a romantic attraction, he fails to realize the boy on whom he has a semi-aware crush is gay, he copes with stereotypical and foul-mouthed bullies, and he is brought to the realization of his sexual identity. Newman’s graphic novel/roman à clef deploys sardonic humor in the visual details while keeping the characters and plot clear and engaging for readers, whether or not they catch these sly features. VERDICT An excellent graphic novel for kids of any orientation or awareness.

Upstaged by Robin Easter. Little, Brown Ink. ISBN 9780316429429.
Gr 6-9–Nonbinary teen Ash is excited to bunk with their best friend and crush Ivy for their last year together at theater camp before they part ways for high school. But Ash is immediately disappointed when Ivy is cast as the lead in the musical alongside Lucas, who plays Ivy’s love interest, while Ash is the stage manager. Ash struggles with jealousy and fear that Lucas will “steal” Ivy away from them. However, when a piece of the set unexpectedly catches fire, they must come together to make the show a success. The LGBTQIA+ representation in this book is wonderful and exemplifies the diversity of queer experiences. While Ash’s crush is the main focus, ample time is spent reflecting on friendships and personal growth. Easter’s illustrations are colorful and expressive and the theater camp setting will be exciting for campers and theater kids alike. VERDICT A great selection for middle schoolers transitioning to high school or struggling to navigate social groups, and for elementary and middle school libraries looking to add age-relevant LGBTQIA+ stories to their collections.

King Cheer by Molly Horton Booth & Stephanie Kate Strohm. illus. by Jamie Green. Disney-Hyperion. (Arden High: Bk. 2). ISBN 9781368064637.
Gr 7 Up–In the second book of the “Arden High” series, King Lear offers Booth and Strohm the perfect narrative framework. Leah, the cheer squad captain of Arden High, is stepping down to focus on her senior year and has the hefty burden of appointing her replacement. Meanwhile, basketball captain Gladys is worried her team will lose momentum if they forfeit practice time to the cheer squad and is tipped that her own sister is trying to take her captain spot. LGBTQIA+ representation is ubiquitous in the story and all manner of high school drama is going on while the Lear plot plays out, including romantic breakups, Valentine’s Day, and college application woes. Readers will enjoy the quirky characters depicted in illustrations by Green, who gets the cheerleading motif just right, along with a realistic portrayal of contemporary high school students who happen to attend class with actual fairies. VERDICT Featuring LGBTQIA+ characters, this graphic novel will fit nicely into any collection.

Rainbow! Vol. 1 by Sunny. illus. by Gloomy. Scholastic/Graphix. ISBN 9781339011318.
Gr 7 Up–Seventeen-year-old Boo’s active imagination springs to life on the pages of this sweet graphic novel that mixes romance with the realities of addiction. Boo, balancing school, a part-time job, and a complicated home life, escapes her circumstances through her daydreams. Her bicycle transforms into a horse and carriage, her gossiping classmates become comedic monsters, and her work uniform is refashioned into a ball gown. But even her imagination cannot free her from her mother’s alcoholism, which forces Boo to assume the role of caretaker and leaves her with flashbacks of traumatic memories. When a new girl, Mimi, arrives at school and takes an interest in Boo, Boo has to decide if she can trust Mimi enough to connect with her in the real world instead of escaping to the fantasy inside her mind. VERDICT An endearing graphic novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy Moonstruck, Lumberjanes, and Heartstopper.

Homebody by Theo Parish. HarperAlley. ISBN 9780063319592.
Gr 7 Up–In this uplifting graphic memoir, Parish recounts their journey to feel at home in their body and gender identity. Parish begins by examining the messages they heard about gender growing up. After early attempts to conform to gender norms fail to make them feel authentically seen, Parish begins to experiment with different presentations by portraying characters at comic-cons and playing role-playing games. When Parish discovers the term nonbinary and finds others who share similar experiences with gender, they gain a sense of clarity and relief. The appealing, simple art style mirrors the encouraging tone of the memoir, with inspiring messages featuring people of all skin tones, body types, abilities, and gender presentations interspersed within Parish’s memories. A recurring image in the novel is Parish drawn with a home for a torso, reflecting the title and theme of feeling at home in one’s body. VERDICT The portrayal of gender identity as a journey with no set destination is affirming and reassuring, and this hopeful tone will appeal to teens.

Wolfpitch by Balazs Lorinczi. Top Shelf. ISBN 9781603095396.
Gr 8 Up–Three musicians—a werewolf, a ghost, and a human—must overcome their differences to perform in a Battle of the Bands competition. Spanish werewolf Izzy Plata is the best bass player in town, but her inflated ego and high standards get her kicked out of her fourth band in a year. When she hears the music of the late jazz legend Geraldine Dukes coming from a local burger joint, she learns that Geraldine has returned as a ghost. Desperately wanting to compete in the upcoming Battle of the Bands, Izzy joins forces with Geraldine and rival drummer, Delilah. The tension from Delilah and Izzy’s tempestuous past transforms into attraction, but a moment of vulnerability makes Izzy pull away and endanger the band’s tenuous cohesion. VERDICT A fantastical musical journey with strong characterization.

The Deep Dark by Molly Knox Ostertag. Scholastic/Graphix. ISBN 9781338840001.
Gr 8 Up–High school senior Mags Herrera has a lot on her shoulders: when she isn’t working her part-time job or taking care of her elderly grandmother, she’s making sure the family secret in her basement stays hidden—and fed. When Mags’s childhood friend Nessa returns after a long absence, the two easily rekindle their friendship and explore deeper feelings for each other, but Mags, consumed with grief over a boy’s death connected to the secret in her basement, is reluctant to let go and feel anything other than guilt. An introspective and stirring coming out story, illustrated largely in grayscale with flashbacks rendered in color. Ostertag’s gift for dialogue shines, as does her storytelling with excellent pacing, setting, and characters. VERDICT A great LGBTQIA+ romance that readers will yearn to return to.

Sunhead by Alex Assan. HarperAlley. ISBN 9780063113589.
Gr 9 Up–Rotem, a teenage girl living in Tel Aviv, Israel, is obsessed with the book series “Sunrise.” She fantasizes about the vampire love story while her friends and family are baffled. When she meets new classmate Ayala, she is excited to find a fellow reader and the two begin an ongoing literary dialogue as they learn about each other. But as Rotem's feelings for Ayala begin to evolve, she struggles to figure out what is going on in her mind and body. The book follows Rotem as she experiments with her style and begins to embrace her identity, highlighting the universality of teenage gender and self-exploration. The illustrations are soothing and warm, the dialogue is concise, and the characters are realistic. Rotem’s fixation on “Sunrise” is one that avid readers will appreciate; her imaginative daydreams highlight the joy and escape that reading provides. VERDICT A charming LGBTQIA+ coming-of-age story that perfectly captures teenage angst.

Breathe: Journeys to Healthy Binding by Maia Kobabe & Sarah Peitzmeier. illus. by Maia Kobabe. Dutton. ISBN 9780593855836.
Gr 9 Up–With simple and direct clarity in both image and text, this nonfiction graphic novel delivers pertinent information about safe and unsafe chest binding practices and experiences. Coauthored by Kobabe (Gender Queer: A Memoir) and public health epidemiologist Dr. Peitzmeier, this short but detailed book is based on interviews with an array of individuals who practice binding currently or at some point in their lives. These binding stories explore motivations and social and psychological experiences by each person, as well as specific health issues arising from unsafe methods. The individuals featured throughout the book represent an array of ages, races, and body types. Back matter provides additional guidance, including discussion of binding gear, mood tracking and other charting suggestions, exercises for staying healthy, and how to map a personal binding journey. VERDICT This is an essential purchase for all secondary and public library collections as it provides health information in a readily accessible manner that is otherwise difficult to find in science-based resources.

Escape From St. Hell by Lewis Hancox. Scholastic/Graphix. ISBN 9781338824476.
Gr 9 Up–In this affirming follow-up to Welcome to St. Hell, Hancox documents his journey to self-acceptance as a trans man growing up in northwest England. While the first volume covered his high school years, this one begins in 2008 with Hancox heading off to Manchester University to pursue filmmaking, starting testosterone, and examining the stereotypes surrounding masculinity. This book’s strength is in its nuanced exploration of Hancox’s insecurities, including his preoccupation with what it means to be a “real man,” his experiences dating as a trans man, and the dysphoria that leads to a disordered relationship with exercise and food. Hancox injects humor and levity into the story as he navigates his transition and rediscovers his passion for developing creative content. VERDICT Hancox’s relatable portrayal of anxiety is encouraging, and even as a sequel, this book stands alone as a recommended purchase for any library serving teens.

I Can't Say No to the Lonely Girl, Vol. 1 by Kashikaze. Kodansha. (I Can’t Say No to the Lonely Girl: Bk. 1). ISBN 9798888771099.
Gr 9 Up–Sakurai is an excellent student who is terrible at taking tests, so when a teacher promises a letter of recommendation for the seemingly simple task of getting an often-absent student to come to school, she takes it. However, Honda-san isn’t just any truant, and now Sakurai finds herself completing one “request” a day for Honda, even if that request is a kiss! While sorting out everything else that comes with school, now Sakurai also has to figure out how she feels about Honda, because it certainly is more than just friendship. This heart-aching romance has beautifully detailed illustrations with fantastic scenery and expressive character designs that bring the reader into Sakurai’s emotional turmoil. There are some typical miscommunication storyline archetypes, but Kashikaze doesn’t overplay too many yuri tropes in this first volume. VERDICT A great manga for readers who enjoy series like “Whisper Me a Love Song” or “A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow.”

Punk Rock Karaoke by Bianca Xunise. Viking. ISBN 9780593464502.
Gr 10 Up–The summer after high school graduation is one of change for Ariel Jones; they can think of no better way than listening to live music with their friends and writing new songs for their band, Baby Hares. But when a local band’s lead singer, Clyde, begins to see Ariel’s talents, will they stick with their friends, or allow their path to be driven by infatuation? Xunise uses their experiences as a Black nonbinary Chicago punk to shine through in their characters. Carefully selected song suggestions placed throughout the story provide a wonderful audio element that allows readers to immerse themselves in the punk rock world. The phenomenal art shows off the edgy and colorful tableau of the South Side Chicago punk scene, bringing reality and authenticity to the setting. VERDICT Learning to stand tall and live their truths are lessons all teens need; this glimpse into a world of music and friendship will resonate with many readers searching for unique stories to fit them, and anyone who desires to express themselves.

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