June is Pride Month in Canada! Check out this list of 12 books for young readers and teens.
The middle level book On the line is an intermediate-level book about a 13-year-old basketball player named Jordan Ryker. When Jordan’s parents split up and his father announces he’s gay, Jordan feels lost and abandoned. But her new family situation also presents new ways of seeing the world. And with a championship game coming up, Jordan will need his family more than ever.
On the line is for ages 9 to 12.
Eric Walters is one of Canada’s most prolific and successful writers for young people. Inspired by reluctant readers when he was a fifth-grade teacher, he decided to write them a story they couldn’t write down. Since then, he has written nearly 100 books, including Camp X, The power of three and To run. It Reaches More Readers Than Ever: Her 2006 Novel We all fall came in at #88 on the list of the 150 best-selling Canadian books of the last 10 years.
Paul Coccia is a YA author from Toronto. Her first YA novel Lion cub was released in 2019.
Set in the mid-2000s, The Queen of Junk Island is a children’s novel about gender identity and trauma. A teenager named Dell is staying at the family cabin for the summer after a traumatic event. But things get worse when they discover that the area is filled with trash left by the former tenant and the irreverent daughter of her mother’s boyfriend has been invited to stay with them. But for Dell, the journey also becomes a time of self-discovery and uncovering past family secrets that are coming to light.
The Queen of Junk Island is for ages 16 and up.
Alexandra Mae Jones is a queer writer based in Toronto. Her short fiction has been published in several literary journals and she is a freelance writer for CTVNews.ca. She is the 2020 prairie fire Winner of the fiction contest.
You know, sex is designed to be a “modern sex education book” for young readers. Featuring vibrant illustrations and based on social justice themes, the non-fiction book is a guide to navigating between puberty and adolescence. You know, sex features chapters on bodily autonomy, disclosure, consent, puberty, and reproduction that include trans, non-binary, and intersex bodies.
You know, sex is for ages 10 to 14.
Cory Silverberg is a Canadian author, educator and speaker. The Toronto writer is co-author of four books, including the ALA Stonewall Honor Book sex is a funny word and What makes a babyboth with Fiona Smyth.
Fiona Smyth is a Toronto-based painter, illustrator and caricaturist. Smyth was inducted into the Doug Wright Awards Giants of The North Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame alongside Alootook Ipellie in 2019. She teaches illustration and comics at OCAD University and the National Gallery. -arts of Ontario.
rabbit hunt is an intermediate level book that integrates Anishinaabe culture with an Alice in Wonderland type story. Aimée is a non-binary Anishinaabe student who travels on a school trip to meet water spirits known as Paayehnsag. Aimée soon finds herself in an adventure featuring an alternate dimension, a Trickster and a Queen with robot guards trying to claim the land.
rabbit hunt is for ages 8 to 12.
Elizabeth The Thought is an Anishinaabe, Métis and Irish writer and illustrator whose work appears in the series Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection, The Deer Woman: An Anthology and more.
KC Oster is an Ojibwe-Anishinaabe cartoonist and illustrator. They live in the Rainy River District in northwestern Ontario.
The adventure of non-binary teenager Ciel and his friends continues in this latest YA book. Ciel is growing and thriving, but the world is filled with challenges including climate change, social media and complex relationships. When Ciel becomes romantically tangled with their best friend, they must face new questions about loyalty and identity.
Wish on a satellite is for ages 13 and up.
Sophie Labelle is a cartoonist, speaker and trans writer from Montreal. She is the creator of the webcomic assigned man and has illustrated several comics.
funny girl is a non-fiction book for young adults about the true story of Angeline Jackson, who stood up against the Jamaican oppression of young gay men to demand recognition and justice. Jackson grew up knowing she was attracted to other girls and explored her sexuality as a teenager. But growing up in a conservative, religious family meant she was often at odds with her community. Jackson gives a candid and honest account of her life and how she navigated her sexuality and spirituality along the way. funny girl aims to inspire others to let them know they are not alone.
funny girl is for ages 12 and up.
Angeline Jackson is an LGBTQ+ human rights activist, HIV/AIDS educator and former executive director of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica. In 2015, President Barack Obama recognized Jackson as one of Jamaica’s Outstanding Young Leaders at the Youth Town Hall in Kingston, Jamaica. She also participated in a US Senate briefing panel and attended the first White House Forum on LGBT Human Rights Worldwide.
Susan McClelland is a young adult non-fiction writer who lives between Toronto and Dumfries-Galloway in Scotland. His first book, mango bite, is the true story of a young Sierra Leonean victim of war and has been published in over 20 countries. She is a former editor at Maclean’s and has written for The Sunday Times, Marie Claire, Glamour, Ms Magazine, The Guardian, The Walrus and Chatelaine.
I’m everything in between explores gender identity, differences and stereotypes. The picture book is a celebration of youth and focuses on a positive and uplifting message for those who want to be seen for who they really are.
I’m everything in between is for ages 4 to 8.
Sydney Sunderland, 18, is a writer and illustrator who grew up in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
The Fabulous Zed Watson! features a non-binary lead character who embarks on “the literary treasure hunt and road trip of a lifetime.”
When Zed discovers the legend of an unpublished novel entitled The Monster’s Castle, they join a small legion dedicated to discovering the hidden text. Their adventure takes them on a road trip with their neighbor Gabe, a shy nature lover, and his sister Sam, a bossy geologist back in college. The journey isn’t easy – Gabe complains about the food, Sam won’t give up control of the stereo, and Zed is often misinterpreted. But the group pulls together as they compete with a devious historian.
The Fabulous Zed Watson! is for ages 9 to 12.
Basil Sylvester is a Toronto-based non-binary writer. Their father, Kevin Sylvester, is a broadcaster and the award-winning illustrator and writer of mid-level books such as the Neil Flambé Capers series and the MiNRS space adventure series.
Both sides now is the first children’s novel by Canadian author Peyton Thomas. It’s about Finch Kelly, a teenager who is on the high school debate team and dreams of a career as the first trans congressman. But when the annual National Speech and Debate Tournament rolls around, Finch worries about his chances of winning — all while having feelings for Jonah, his debate partner who happens to be gay and is already in a relationship.
Both sides now is for ages 14 and up.
Thomas is a freelance writer and journalist from Toronto. Her work can be seen in Pitchfork, Billboard and Vanity Fair. He was a Lambda Literary Fellow in 2016.
The power of style is a YA non-fiction book about the power of fashion. Christian Allaire is an Ojibway fashion and style editor for Vogue magazine who has always had a passion for looking good. In The power of style, Allaire highlights the need for diversity and LGBTQ+ representation in fashion and examines topics such as cosplay, makeup, hijabs and hair to show the intersection of style, culture and social justice over the years. .
The power of style is for ages 12 and up.
Allaire is an Ojibwe author who grew up on the Nipissing First Nation reserve in Ontario and is a fashion and style editor at Vogue. Christian Allaire won Canada reads 2022 champ five little indians by Michelle Good.
Jordan and Max, Showtime is an early chapter about a boy who struggles in school and features themes of gender identity and belonging. On his first day of school, Jordan just can’t seem to fit in and prefers to stay under the radar. But when Jordan has to team up with a loud-mouthed boy named Max, Jordan just can’t help but stand out. And with Max’s help, he might not have to.
Jordan and Max, Showtime is for ages 6 to 8.
Suzanne Sutherland is a Toronto-based children’s book author and youth book publisher.
Michelle Simpson is an Ontario freelance artist and illustrator specializing in children’s publications.
The first in a series of books, Metatron’s Children takes place in a magical world. The book introduces readers to Yren, a non-binary preteen black child who has special extra-sensory powers. But Yren faces grief and guilt over the untimely death of their parents. Yren, along with her brother Augi, must use her powers to navigate a perilous new world.
Metatron’s Children is for ages 9 to 11.
Chy Ryan Spain is a multidisciplinary artist, activist and educator based in Toronto. Metatron’s Children is the first book from Spain.
Sydney Kuhne is a Toronto-based artist, actor and activist. Kuhne’s work centers on self-love, claiming identity, visibility, finding connections within the African diaspora, and celebrating the sacred feminine.