As an ELA teacher and school librarian, I want my students to read books from as many perspectives as possible, and I want ALL my students to feel represented and heard in my classroom and in the library. As much as I may think I do a good job of this already, it’s something I know I can improve upon, and it’s something I really want to focus on in the coming months and years.
One of the first perspectives I wanted to highlight was literature with an LGBTQ+ focus… books with characters and issues that students recognizing and/or struggling with their own sexual orientation or gender identity could relate to. I also wanted to show my students that I am accepting of them all. So, after seeing a post from The SuperHero Teacheron Instagram and reading her blog post on the Secondary English Coffee Shop Blogabout building a diverse classroom library, I knew I had to make a display for our school library. I wanted to showcase some LGBTQ+ books we had, I wanted to show students that I was an ally, and I wanted to promote acceptance. It was not a fancy display by any means, but it sent a clear message to the students that we were an inclusive and accepting library.
The response at school was fantastic, and we had many, many positive comments and rich discussions with students. I even had few private chats with students who were willing to share their experiences and express their gratitude for the display. It was a very popular display, and students were quick to sign out the books and offer suggestions for new titles! About half the books are missing from this photo, because they had been signed out by students.Since this temporary display was created last year, there is now a permanent LGBTQ+ book display in the library, and it is one of the most popular book sections we have! The books are some of the most circulated, and I am thrilled that students feel comfortable taking them out, talking about them with me, and sharing them with each other.
If you would like to create a display for your library or classroom, I will link to a few of the items I used in the display and share a list of some of the books I have in our library.
There are many versions of this poster available online for easy download. I have one posted on the door of my room and in the library display. Many of my teaching colleagues have added this poster to their classroom doors or their classroom walls as we collectively work to ensure that all students feel safe and included in our school.
The Genderbread Person is a fantastic resource from It’s Pronounced Metrosexual. The poster is an amazing visual to show students the vast spectrum of how people can identify. Check out their website for more resources, links to books and articles, and to download a copy of this poster.
The purple empathy poster in the middle window of my display is also available for download on the same website.
Here is a list of some the books we have in our school library that feature an LGBTQ+ perspective. Full disclosure – I have only read a few! I’m slowly making my way through the list and would love to know if you have any favorites for me to add. I know that there are many new titles, as this genre of young adult literature is growing in leaps and bounds!
For more resources and a comprehensive list of websites and organizations that promote lesson plans and tool kits for inclusion and acceptance check outSafeatSchool.ca.
I hope you find some inspiration in this blog post!
Addie has been an educator for over 20 years and loves being in the classroom with her high school students. She’s taught a huge variety of courses over the years and has enjoyed the challenges that come with learning new subjects and ideas. She and her husband live in Vancouver, Canada and love to spend as much time as they can enjoying the local hiking trails, ski hills and beaches. Addie discovered TpT in 2009, and after a few months “lurking”, took the plunge and signed up as a Seller. “What an awesome adventure it’s been!” she says. You can find her on Instagram, or blogging for the Secondary English Coffee Shop.