June is Pride month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) community. This observance is used to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, which kicked off the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S.
Did you know that the book community also celebrates Pride month in our own special way? The month of June is known as Rainbow Book Month, and it is used to recognize written works that celebrate the LGBTQIA+ experience.
What is Rainbow Book Month?
Rainbow Book Month was originally established in the 1990’s by The Publishing Triangle and originally called GLBT Book Month. This observance is an American Library Association initiative. It celebrates inclusion and is a great way to start conversations with your young readers about the LGBTQIA+ community.
For years, books from this community have been excluded and censored from library collections across the country. In fact, as recently as 2018, more than half of the top 11 challenged and banned books included LGBT content. In total, almost half of the top books banned in the last decade contained LGBTQIA+ themes, according to NBC News. Rainbow Book Month is a great time to bring more of these works into your collection.
Why is Rainbow Book Month important?
In short, representation matters, especially when it comes to the books young readers are consuming.
Jennifer O’Brien, Ph.D., once wrote in a Psychology Today article about the importance of inclusion, “One factor to consider is that when more LGBTQ people are included in the media this means that they are actually seen by society as opposed to being rendered unseen or invisible. When people are able to see something represented, they are better able to understand and grasp who those people are, and this creates an important shift in the social consciousness to include people from a range of different backgrounds.”
Banning stories from LGBTQIA+ authors not only erases history, but takes away the opportunity for young readers in this community to see representations of themselves in media. Rainbow Book Month provides a focus on not only LGBTQIA+ authors, but also stories surrounding the history and experiences from those in this community.
How can I celebrate Rainbow Book Month?
Rainbow Book Month is a great time to stock your shelves with books surrounding the LGBTQIA+ experience. Not sure where to start? You can visit the ALA website for Rainbow Book Month Resources including social media content and press releases about the month.
You can also check out the following book lists from ALA:
Stonewall Book Awards - The Stonewall Book Award was first presented in 1971 and is the longest running LGBTQIA+ book list.
Rainbow Book List - The Rainbow Book List is focused on books for children and teens.
Over the Rainbow Book List - The Over the Rainbow Book List focuses on books for adults.
How can you celebrate Rainbow Book Month at JLG?
Here at JLG, we are excited to celebrate Rainbow Books Month and we believe in the importance of representation for LGBTQIA+ stories and authors. Check out this backlist book list of recent JLG selections perfect for Rainbow Books Month.
Are you ready to keep your shelves stocked with the best new books all year long? With a JLG membership, you’ll get monthly shipments of award-winning new titles to add to your collection. Learn more about what a JLG membership can do for you.