River Dog Recommends

River Dog Recommends: LGBTQ Pride Month Reads

June = LGBTQ Pride Month


via Gfycat

Every month, River Dog Book Co. will send out recommended reading to celebrate that month’s nationally recognized holidays.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month is celebrated each June to honor the Stonewall riots. Taking place in Manhattan in 1969, this event was a tragic but meaningful tipping point in the Gay Liberation Movement of the 60s and 70s. These recommended books celebrate the range of genders, sexualities, and personalities that identify on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

June isn’t over!
Celebrate PRIDE with these great reads.

Picture Books (ages 3-6)

Picture book covers

Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

An absolutely darling, beautifully-illustrated, multicultural picture book celebrating one little boy’s wonder at the world. “Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.”

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole

This true story is about two male penguins living at the Central Park Zoo. They were undeniably a couple, and with the help of a kind zookeeper, they were able to adopt a baby penguin to start a full family of their own. A wonderful tribute to love and families of all kinds.


Middle Grade (ages 8-12)

The Best Man by Richard Peck

A young boy in a small town is facing changes of all kinds – his voice, middle school, family. He needs heroes to look up to, like his grandpa, his dad, his uncle Paul, and his new teacher, Mr. McLeod. But it’s up to him to decide what he believes is right and wrong when he’s asked to be the best man at the wedding of two of his heroes – to each other.

George by Alex Gino

A heartwarming story about a boy named George who knows she’s truly a girl. No one else knows except her best friend, Kelly, who encourages George to reveal her true self as Charlotte, in the school’s play of Charlotte’s Web.


Young Adult (ages 12+)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

A wild romp through Europe is the setting for this YA historical fiction debut. Two bisexual male best friends and one sister find themselves using their wits, charms, and dwindling funds to escape the clutches of their tutor/babysitter and have hijinks galore while “touring the Continent.” M/M romance and racial and social class disparities make this a more nuanced novel than one might otherwise suspect.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

The sister from book 1 gets her story! This isn’t published yet, so preorder it now, but in short, she’s intelligent, attractive, feisty, and asexual – what more could one want from a new character to befriend? I’m so excited to start reading this!

YA Graphic Novel & Adult Novella

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

A prince who likes to wear dresses hires a seamstress who keeps his secret and deigns him beautiful dresses to wear as Madame Crystallia, until the seamstress realizes she must step out from the prince’s shadow to fully realize her fashion designer potential. This wonderful celebration of individuality is a book everyone needs to read, if only to be reminded that personal preference does not make someone a bad person, nor is it the end of the world to live up to your own unique personality.

Romancing the Werewolf: A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger is publishing her novellas on her own, and I admire her so much for that! Steamy paranormal romance between same-sex partners of a different or related species? Count me in!


Adult Mystery & Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Blue Place by Nicola Griffith

Called a “new wave crime-writer” and an author of “literary noir,” Nicola Griffith’s writing is a sensory delight. Especially considering how hot Scandinavian thrillers are at the moment, Nicola Griffith’s Aud Torvigen (a 6-foot, ice blonde Norwegian-American lesbian, ex-special police force agent) is not a character to miss.

Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

Carey has an incredible ability to create new worlds out of ones that seem so familiar. This story takes place in an isolated town in the no-man’s-land border between the United States and Mexico. Not a part of either country, the U.S. military runs the town, Santa Olivia, that surrounds the military base. The people of Santa Olivia have been neglected by everyone, and it is into this controlled, neglected, forgotten wasteland that Loup Garron is born. She’s a genetically modified human, and I’m going to cut to the chase: Loup is a lesbian superhero. Read this!

Adult Non-fiction

Calypso by David Sedaris

David Sedaris never disappoints. His stories about life with his longterm partner, Hugh, and his close but strained family relationships are funny and poignant. He wrestles with middle age health realities, family losses, and an inconveniently-timed stomach bug, but remains fastidious, often obstinate, and is still up for an adventure. In truth, he’s just hitting his stride with his honesty, his openness, and his sardonic descriptions of everyone and everything, including himself.

Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD, foreword by Edgardo Menvielle

A groundbreaking guide to caring for children who live outside binary gender boxes.

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