Learning Curation for Module 10- Diverse Literature with a focus on LGBTQ Youth

For this learning curation I want to make a list in Destiny of novels in my secondary school library collection with LGBTQ characters. I will also make a list of new books to order, based on this week`s readings and further research.

Barack`s (2014) article emphasized the need to support LGBTQ learners in our schools. He stated, “ With 82 percent of LGBTQ students reporting verbal harassment, among other forms of bullying, according to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) 2011 School Climate Report, finding a space to feel safe may be particularly crucial for these students. So is finding materials in which LGBTQ students can see themselves—resources that reflect the stories of their lives and the themes that mirror their own questions and concerns. School librarians provide support through their very presence as well as through the services they can provide“ (para.4). Brunelle (2014) emphasizes that we as teacher librarians need to promote diverse literature by finding and reading diverse literature ourselves.

I will start my list of diverse literature with a book that I have recently read and would highly recommend:

Title and Author Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe
by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Destiny Title Peak Summary A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship-the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
Diverse Topics             Family

Friendship

Brothers

Teenagers (15 years old)

Search for truth

Gay men

Mexican main character

I personally enjoyed reading Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe  because the author unveils the character`s feelings   of homosexuality slowly as the story morphs from friendship into a love story that addresses many themes, including racism, love, homosexuality, friendship, coming of age, etc.

Upon reflecting on this week`s readings, I decided to explore our Destiny catalogue further to see what our secondary students could find if they searched the keywords `homosexuality` and `gay` in our online catalogue. Here are the few fiction titles that came up In our current library collection:

Title and Author Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by John Green
Destiny Title Peak Summary One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.
Diverse Topics
                Teenage boys (16 years old)
Identity
Self-discovery
Male friendship
Adolescence
High school students
Chance meetings
Gay youth
Prejudice
Self-acceptance
Relationships

Will Grayson, Will Grayson can support our learners and foster literacy in our LLC because John Green is a hugely popular author so many students check out this book and read it during SSR. It does not single out any one group of readers, but addresses a wide range of topics listed above, including gay youth.

Title and Author Crush
by Carrie Mac
Destiny Title Peak Summary Because of a moment of indiscretion, Hope’s parents send her to New York to spend the summer with her hipster sister while they travel to Thailand. Miserable, Hope ends up meeting Nat, and developing a powerful crush. The only problem is that Nat is a girl. Hope is pretty sure she isn’t gay. Or is she? Struggling with new feelings, fitting in and a strange city far from home, Hope finds that love–and acceptance–comes in many different forms.
Diverse Topics
                 Emotions
Love
Lesbians
Siblings
Homosexuality

Crush supports our learners and fosters literacy in our LLC because it has female characters struggling with feelings of homosexuality, and it is also a short, High Interest- Low Vocabulary Orca book that can be read by many different reading levels.

Title and Author Keeping You a Secret

by Julie Anne Peters

Destiny Title Peak Summary With a steady boyfriend, the position of Student Council President, and a chance to go to an Ivy League college, high school life is just fine for Holland Jaeger. At least it seems to be. But when Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship? This moving love story between two girls is a worthy successor to Nancy Garden’s classic young adult coming out novel, Annie on My Mind. With her characteristic humor and breezy style, Peters has captured the compelling emotions of young love.
Diverse Topics
                 Emotions
Love
Lesbians
Coming Out
Homosexuality

Teenage Girls

Keeping You a Secret can support our learners and foster literacy in our LLC because it is a love story between two girls set in high school who come out as a lesbian couple.

Title and Author Shine
by Lauren Myracle
Destiny Title Peak Summary When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice. Against a backdrop of poverty, clannishness, drugs, and intolerance, Myracle has crafted a harrowing coming-of-age tale couched in a deeply intelligent mystery. Smart, fearless, and compassionate, this is an unforgettable work from a beloved author. Praise for Shine “Cat eventually uncovers the truth in a cliffhanging climax in which she confronts fear, discovers that love is stronger than hate and truly ‘shines.’
Diverse Topics
Southern life
Gay men
Homosexuality
Mysteries
Hate crimes
Friendship
Bullies
Homeless

Rape

Shine can support our learners and foster literacy because it is set in a small town school, similar to our school, and tackles a wide range of topics, including hate crimes and homosexuality.

While our LLC team currently incorporates diverse literature into our displays, we are always on the lookout for more books to add to our collection. Barack (2014) tell us that, “students, particularly those in their teen and tween years, also say they want to see more genres featuring LGBTQ students as characters, even if gender orientation isn’t the main plot point“ (para. 15). The article suggests finding diverse literature featuring LGBTQ characters using blogs, the ALA’s Stonewall Book Awards, and Goodreads.com (Barack, 2014).

Here is a list of books to order for our secondary library, based on the “Outstanding Titles“ suggestions in the article LGBTQ & You: How to Support Your Students (Barrack, 2014):

  • Lee Butler recommends: Sex, a Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex, and Safety by Nikol Hasler (Zest, 2010). Gr 10 Up. “General sex ed and sexuality, including a lot about LGBTQ teen experiences.”
  • Sarah Stone recommends: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily m. Danforth (HarperCollins, 2012). Gr 8 Up. Teen coming-of-age book.
  • She also recommends: Zero Fade by Chris L. Terry (Curbside Splendor, 2013). Gr 5 Up. The main character struggles with homophobic feelings about his uncle, who is coming out.

To improve my literature collection further, I decided to check out the American Library Association`s 2015 Stonewall Book Awards, as suggested in the article above.

Here is a list of books from the awards that I would like to order for my secondary school library:

Title and Author Beyond magenta : transgender teens speak out

By Susan Kuklin; Candlewick Press,

OCLC World Cat Summary “Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.”–Amazon.com, viewed February 12, 2014.
Title and Author I’ll give you the sun

By Jandy Nelson

OCLC World Cat Summary “Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways … until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else — an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world”–Provided by publisher

Brunelle (2014) suggests that teacher-librarians promote diverse literature for students in our libraries when she tells us to “booktalk the titles with your students, and display them. Don’t confine this sharing to the heritage months, either. Genres, themes, and other displays can always include diverse lit…If you have more time, review books online, or share your thoughts via social media. If you don’t have a blog yet, this is the perfect incentive“(para. 3). While our LLC team actively researches, orders, displays, and suggests diverse books for our students and staff, we do not do a good job of reaching out beyond the walls of our library and promoting diverse literature online. This will definitely be an area to improve upon in our literacy action plan to address our essential questions: How can a LLC foster literacies and life-long learning?

To finish off my learning curation, I will take Brunelle`s (2014) advice and promote diverse literature online through social media by posting this learning curation on this Word Press blog, and tweeting it out.

References

Barack, L. (2014, May 1). LGBTQ & you. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2014/05/diversity/lgbtq-you-how-to-support-your-students

Brunelle, C. (2014, May 1). Everyday diversity: A teacher librarian offers practical tips to make a difference. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2014/05/diversity/everyday-diversity-a-teacher-librarian-offers-practical-tips-to-make-a-difference/

Stonewall Book Awards List. (2015). Retrieved November 12, 2015, from http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/award/honored#2015

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