9 Biographies and Memoirs to Inspire Readers for Pride Month and Throughout the Year

They are politicians and artists and athletes. They are young people, and people with a few years of life under their belts. And their stories can inform and encourage young readers in June and throughout the year. These books can change lives—and even save them.

Graphic showing the nine book covers on a rainbow background.

They are politicians and artists and athletes. They are young people, and people with a few years of life under their belts. And their stories can inform and encourage young readers in June and throughout the year. These books can change lives—and even save them.


Picture Books

Glenn Burke, Game Changer: The Man Who Invented the High Five by Phil Bildner. illus. by Daniel J. O’Brien. Farrar. ISBN 9780374391225. 
Gr 1-5–Glenn Burke on the field was a “five-tool” talent. He could run faster, connect bat to ball, hit with power, catch anything that came his way, and his throwing arm was a cannon! This Black man should have been one of the greatest names in baseball history, but his story takes a melancholy turn. Burke is gay. VERDICT For all sports/Black history/LGBTQIA+ shelves, this book is a must, but supplement it with historical resources.

Door by Door: How Sarah McBride Became America’s First Openly Transgender Senator by Meeg Pincus. illus. by Meridth McKean Gimbel. ISBN 9780593484654. 
Gr 2-5–This heartwarming biography begins with McBride’s childhood and goes through her win as state senator. The book’s framework is to pivot during key moments of her life between her two truths, which Pincus makes clear from the first page: McBride’s love of politics and her realization that she, assigned male at birth, was a girl. VERDICT This is a recommended purchase for libraries.

 To See Clearly: A Portrait of David Hockney by Evan Turk. illus. by author. Abrams. ISBN 9781419752902.
Gr 3-6–In this gorgeously illustrated, poetic biography of David Hockney, Turk soars again. Following Hockney’s life from drawing on the floorboards in World War II–era England through his schooling and to Hollywood, where he was able to live more fully as a gay man and artist, and then back to Europe in his older years, this biography covers almost 80 years. VERDICT Fans of Turk’s other work will enjoy this title, as well as readers who love discovering artists coming to life on the page and learning about queer history.

[Read: Queer and Fearless: Poems Celebrating the Lives of LGBTQ+ Heroes]


Chapter Books

Hispanic Star: Sylvia Rivera by Claudia Romo Edelman & J. Gia Loving. illus. by Cheyne Gallarde. Roaring Brook. ISBN 9781250828163. 
Gr 3-6–This entry of the “Hispanic Star” chapter book biography series covers Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman who fought for trans rights. This book is more about trans liberation than specifically about Rivera, but readers will get a lot out of it. VERDICT Purchase this foremost to round out collections with a much-needed historical exploration of trans rights, not as a biography.



I Have Something to Tell You—For Young Adults: A Memoir by Chasten Buttigieg. Atheneum. ISBN 9781665904377. 
Gr 6 Up–In this YA adaptation of advocate and teacher Buttigieg’s memoir, he recounts growing up in rural, conservative northern Michigan where he was simply different. From a quick stint on the basketball team to studying abroad in Germany, he relays stories of how he grew confident in himself and came out as gay, sprinkling tips for navigating the cruel world of adolescents along the way. VERDICT A solid pick for any collection where memoir is popular or any growing LGBTQIA+ collection.

 The Other Pandemic: An AIDS Memoir by Lynn Curlee. Charlesbridge Teen. ISBN 9781623543501. 
Gr 7 Up–With simplicity and honesty that is both engrossing and intimate, author and artist Curlee recounts his life as a gay man living through the HIV/AIDS crisis. He briefly touches on the differences and similarities of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding context and relatability for readers. VERDICT A poignant memoir that readers will not be able to put down. Keep tissues handy. Highly recommended.

[Read: Queer Power!: Icons, Activists & Game Changers from Across the Rainbow]

 From Here by Luma Mufleh. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. ISBN 9780593354452. 
Gr 9 Up–This is a must-add to any high school biography/memoir section. Mufleh’s story is one of strength and courage, and shines light on the injustices in our world. She adeptly balances the luxury of her experience in Jordan with the conflict she often felt as a gay Muslim woman. It weaves together experiences from Muslim faith, being gay and not accepted by family, immigration, and the Middle East. VERDICT You need to put this one on your high school shelf now, but it won’t stay there long.

 Road Home by Rex Ogle. ­Norton. ISBN 9781324019923. 
Gr 10 Up–In what’s billed as the final book of his literary memoir look back, this may be the rawest due to Ogle’s experiences after being kicked out of his dad’s house. Ogle’s dad gives him an ultimatum: leave or stay, but if he stays, he must be and act straight not gay. Ogle chooses to leave. VERDICT An emotionally resonant denouement; Ogle gives readers his hardest and most hopeful book yet.

Homebody by Theo Parish. illus. by author. HarperAlley. ISBN 9780063319592; pap. $18.99. ISBN 9780063319585. 
Gr 7 Up–In this uplifting graphic memoir, Parish recounts their journey to feeling at home in their body and gender identity. 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. Recommended for purchase.

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