The rainbow flag is the most widely recognised LGBT symbol worldwide.
Pride month is all about being proud of who you are no matter who you love. It teaches tolerance, educates in pride history and continues to move forward in equality. It reminds people how damaging homophobia was and still can be.
Gilbert Baker first designed the LGBT rainbow flag in 1978; and an American lady, Brenda Howard, is known as 'The Mother of Pride' after organising the first ever gay pride march.
The original flag was first then seen in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on 25th of June 1978. Around 30 volunteers helped to hand-dye and stitch the first two flags for the parade.
The rainbow flag immediately became a symbol of LGBT pride, and has remained the same ever since - with 24 individual flags being added over the years for the many facets of the LGBTQ+ community.
At The Book Nook, we’re proud to join in; if you want to get involved, one great way to do so is by reading the stories of the LGBTQ+ community.
By reading their works, we make sure that their voices are heard and that we hear and remember their tough and honest real-life accounts.
We see what there ideal world is like through the stories they write today in a modern, or even fantasy setting, because not all of their books are about the shocking and unfortunate events they have had to go through, but they exude their optimism for the future.
As you know, books are powerful tools for change and the future.
Below is our Top Ten Books to read for Pride Month.
1. I'm a Gay Wizard by V S Santoni
'You do magic once, and it sticks to you like glitter glue... Gay angsty teen Johnny and his goth best friend, trans girl Alison, spend their summer dabbling in magic. When they use spells to defend themselves from bullies, they suddenly find themselves whisked away to the Marduk Institute, a school for wayward wizards. Johnny and Alison must now adapt to a new world of spells, fraternities, and cute boys like Hunter and Blake... But Marduk isn't as safe as it seems.'
This story will make you go through a range of emotions, from happy to sad, and you will find yourself immersed in the magical universe V S Santoni has created.
(If this is something you love and you know you will lose yourself in, join Johnny, Alison, Hunter and Blake to continue their journey with the second book, I'm a Gay Wizard in the City of the Nightmare King.)
2. Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
Follow nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy who seeks a fresh start in London in the early 2000’s. As a young, gay, black man, he’s breaking away from a broken family and oppressive religious community in the Black Country. Grappling with his own sexual and racial identities, he turns to sex work in the city where he explores powerful notions of love, sexuality, and spirituality. This semi-autobiographical debut novel from Paul Mendez is bold and brilliant.
If you still haven't heard of, or read this incredible book yet, you are missing out on an incredible coming-of-age story which is like nothing else you’ve seen before.
You don't want to miss it.
3. Here the Whole Time by Victor Martins
And he doesn't need anyone to remind him, which is, of course, what everyone does. That's why he's been waiting for summer: a break from school and the classmates who tease him incessantly. His plans include catching up on TV, finishing his TBR pile, and watching YouTube tutorials on skills he'll never actually put into practice.
But things get a little out of hand when Felipe's mom informs him that Caio, the neighbour kid from apartment 57, will be spending the next fifteen days with them while his parents are on vacation. Felipe is distraught because A) he's had a crush on Caio since, well, for ever, and B) Felipe has a list of body image insecurities and absolutely NO idea how he's going to entertain his neighbour for two full weeks. Suddenly, the days ahead of him that once promised rest and relaxation (not to mention some epic Netflix bingeing) end up bringing a whirlwind of feelings, forcing Felipe to dive head-first into every unresolved issue he has had with himself - but maybe, just maybe, he'll manage to win over Caio, too.'
A queer love story for anyone who's ever got into a pool with their shirt on. 'It's a sweet, funny, warm-hearted gem of a story - exactly the sort of thing the world needs right now!' Simon James Green.
If you love Rainbow Rowell and Heartstopper, you'll fall for this body-positive love story about the assumptions we make about each other, and the bravery you need to be yourself.
Recommended for ages 12-18
4. They Both Die in the End by Adam Silvera
'On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they're going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they're both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there's an app for that. It's called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure - to live a lifetime in a single day.'
Another beautiful, heart-breaking and life-affirming book from the brilliant Adam Silvera.
'There isn't a teenager alive who won't find their heart described perfectly on these pages.' Patrick Ness, author of The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Recommended for ages 14+
5. Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
'When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Nana think about the mess he makes - and even more importantly - what will she think about how Julian sees himself?
A glimpse of three women dressed as mermaids leaves one boy filled with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. While riding the subway home with his Nana one day, Julian notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train carriage.'
'Every choice Jessica Love makes imbues the story with charm, tenderness and humour' New York Times Book Review.
6. Gut Feelings by C.G. Moore
'At school, I learned that words, more than weapons, could destroy bodies, could break hearts more than fists or fury.
This is the story of Chris, what happened to him at age eleven and how that would change the rest of his life. A life-affirming and powerful coming of age verse novel that shines a light on chronic illness, who we are and how we live.
Familial adenomatous polyposis:
fa*mil*ial/ ad*e*no*mat*us/ pol*yp*o*sis
Noun: an inherited disorder characterised by the rapid growth of small, pre-cancerous polyps in the large intestines.'
7. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
This is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born.
It tells of Vietnam, of the lasting impact of war, and of his family's struggle to forge a new future. And it serves as a doorway into parts of Little Dog's life his mother has never known - episodes of bewilderment, fear and passion - all the while moving closer to an unforgettable revelation.
Brilliant, heart-breaking and highly original, Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling.
8. Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family by Garrard Conley
'The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to "cure" him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalised Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin.
Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness. By confronting his buried past and the burden of a life lived in shadow, Garrard traces the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.'
'A necessary, beautiful book' Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You.
'A brilliant memoir' Guardian.
9. Queer: A Collection of LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Time to Yesterday edited by Frank Wynne
'LGBTQ writing from ancient times to yesterday selected by award-winning translator Frank Wynne. Drawing together writing from Catullus to Sappho, from Arthur Rimbaud to Anne Lister and Armistead Maupin, translator Frank Wynne has collected eighty of the finest works representing queer love by LGBTQ authors.
These pieces straddle the spectrum of queer experience, from Verlaine's sonnet in praise of his lover's anus and Emily Dickinson's exhortation of a woman's beauty, to Alison Bechdel's graphic novel of her coming out, Juno Dawson's reflections on gender and Oscar Wilde's 'De Profundis'.'
With stories, poems, extracts and scenes from countries the world over, Queer: A Collection is an unabashed and unapologetic anthology, which gives voice to those often silenced.
10. The Little Book of Pride: Love is Love by Joanna Gray
'The Little Book of Pride is a vibrant and joyful celebration of love and liberation.'
Through a collection of inspiring tips and exercises and positive quotes from pioneering LGBTQ+ heroes, learn about the movement and power of pride.
What LGBTQIA+ author will you read next? Be sure to tell us your favourite picks from this list!
Like what you see? Here’s how to order:
You can order any of the books above from The Book Nook. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, drop us a social media message or call us on 01920 467 597 during our opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30am to 4:30pm and Sunday 10:30am to 2:30pm.
Orders can either be collected during our opening hours or they can be delivered directly to your home (additional postage and packaging charge applies).
If you’d prefer to browse and shop online, please consider using our affiliate Bookshop.org page or by clicking on the links above to specific titles.
Please note, whilst a small percentage of the book sales from Bookshop.org are donated to The Book Nook, we are two independent businesses. The Book Nook are not involved with the ordering or delivery of your Bookshop.org purchase. We’d therefore encourage you to order directly from us where possible!