World Book Day 2024: School librarian suggestions for LGBT+ books to celebrate

by Just Like Us
March 2024

Just Like Us staff champion and school librarian Charlotte Clark

Thursday 7 March marks World Book Day 2024 in over 100 countries across the world, and is the perfect opportunity to include LGBT+ stories while celebrating the magic of reading and storytelling.

Research has shown that supportive and inclusive environments at home and at school lead to vastly better outcomes for LGBT+ young people, from mental health to family relationships, which last into adulthood.

For World Book Day 2024, Charlotte Clark, a secondary school librarian and staff champion for a Just Like Us Pride Group, shares her favourite LGBT+ books to mark the day in the classroom and at home.

The cover of Vivi Conway and the Sword of Legend by Lizzie Huxley-Jones

Vivi Conway and the Sword of Legend by Lizzie Huxley-Jones (KS3+)

“When 12-year-old Vivi moves with her mums to London from rural North Wales, she finds herself wrapped up in a thrilling and mysterious mission alongside a misfit crew, including a thousand-year-old dog.

“Rooted in Welsh mythology, this contemporary adventure features a cast of diverse heroes including an autistic main character, a non-binary side character, and others with various ethnicities and disabilities. Upon turning the final page, Vivi Conway instantly found its own special place in my heart.”

The cover of The Fights That Make Us by Sarah Hagger-Holt

The Fights That Make Us by Sarah Hagger-Holt (KS3+)

“When Jesse finds a journal belonging to Lisa, a family member who passed away, they discover that Lisa was a gay teen in the 1980s — when homophobia was standard practice and people lived under the looming shadow of Section 28.

“Jesse and their friend Simran dedicate a research project to uncovering Lisa’s history, commemorating the fight for their rights, and celebrating their own identities too. This is a perfect story for young people to learn about LGBT+ history. It shows how anyone can make a stand for what is important, and how those efforts can bring people together.”

The cover of Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, And Trying Again by Shakirah Bourne & Dana Alison Levy

Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, And Trying Again by Shakirah Bourne & Dana Alison Levy (KS3+)

“Standing up for our community is important, but what does it really mean to be an ally? Allies is a series of essays exploring the idea of allyship within various marginalised groups, including queer communities, racial minorities, and disabled and neurodiverse people.

“The digestible and accessible essays tell real stories that are raw, joyous, and emotional, highlighting how not to be a bystander when your voice could be used to support someone who needs it.”

The cover of How to Die Famous by Benjamin Dean

How to Die Famous by Benjamin Dean (KS4+)

“A stark comparison to Benjamin Dean’s colourful middle-grade novels (which I also highly recommend), this fast-paced thriller exposes the sinister underbelly of Hollywood and is packed full of twists and turns.

“There’s one particularly shocking moment towards the end of the book that broke me, in the best way possible. With each new release, Dean consistently proves his talent not only in crafting emotional tales of queer joy, but also in weaving dark, gripping stories that leave readers thinking about them for days.”

The cover of Proud by Juno Dawson

Proud compiled by Juno Dawson (KS4+)

“Proud is an anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBT+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride, and each story has an illustration by an LGBT+ artist.

“Each contribution, whether heartfelt or hilarious, encourages readers that it’s okay to be who you are without shame – but that it’s also okay to wait until you’re ready to let that part of you shine. It’s one of those special books that needs a place on the shelves of every bookshelf and library.”

Just Like Us’ Pride Groups programme is a national network of lunchtime or after school clubs for LGBT+ young people and allies.