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The Most Requested LGBTQ+ Books in Classroom Libraries — and How to Help on DonorsChoose

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

We know that LGBTQ+ books are under fire across the country and they have been specifically targeted by right-wing conspiracy theorists in a very organized fashion now for several years. In addition, we have seen public education and teachers come under fire by these same conspiracists who believe that by having LGBTQ+ books in the mere presence of children will be enough to fundamentally change who they are. Imagine if that were the case: today’s kids would never need to work on math or on writing or on thinking because being merely present to educators would do the work for them.

Despite the ongoing chilling effect of “don’t say gay” bills and other legislation targeting educators, those who can still are. The teachers and librarians taking the brunt of the brutality — physically, emotionally, and mentally — of a group bent on eradicating and villainizing them are still showing up across the country for their kids. Whether or not children are in kindergarten or legal and preparing to graduate, it is the responsibility of educators to provide access to a wide range of materials, identities, and experiences for them in classrooms and libraries.

Here, in the midst of Pride month, we can help make this happen, too.

DonorsChoose is a platform where educators can submit projects they wish to have crowdfunded. It’s been used since 2000, most frequently by teachers in needy communities where funding challenges abound. Each project is assessed by DonorsChoose, and fulfillment of the projects goes through the organization — you can rest assured every donated penny goes directly to the project. Going through DonorsChoose ensures that teachers receive what they are asking for. As nice as it seems to drop off a donation of LGBTQ+ books for schools, it’s an administrative nightmare and does not fulfill the wishes of the educators (unless they are specifically asking for this, don’t do it).

As part of their Pride month work, DonorsChoose has pulled out the most-requested LGBTQ+ books by educators. Thanks to their help, I’ve been able to filter classroom requests currently active on the site that are currently requesting these titles. More specifically, these are all classrooms designated Equity Focus Schools, meaning that the majority of students from low-income households and the majority students of color (in a few cases, noted * beside them, the classrooms do not meet this specific criteria but are still primarily low-income, high-minority communities).

Want to make a difference this Pride month and show your support for both LGBTQ+ books and authors, as well as educators and students? Drop a few bucks and spread the word — remember if you can’t afford to put money into the effort, every share also makes a difference.

Financial need numbers are current as of June 19, 2023. These classrooms may have been partially or fully funded in the interim, which we love to see.

Something I like to always tell people who help with these projects: keep checking in on your classrooms. Often you’ll not only see deep appreciation from the educators, but you might even see some photos of the students using — and loving — their new materials. For many, it might be the first time they ever get to use a new book.

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Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert