Meet this month's Book Doctor... Juno Dawson!

Juno Dawson – editor of LGBTQ+ anthology for teens, Proud – is our guest Book Doctor for LGBT History Month, prescribing the best reads for booklovers of all ages to read with pride.

You sent in your reading ruts – whether you were after books to share with children or new perspectives to pick up – and Juno has picked five to answer. All five Caboodlers will each receive a £15/€20 National Book Token, a signed copy of Proud and an enamel pin.

Got a bookish bothering of your own? Send your questions in – if we pick yours for the attention of our future Book Doctors, you’ll get a National Book Token!

And Tango Makes Three

My children are only 5 and 3. Are there any suitable books for youngsters to show that there are all kinds of different relationships? – Sarah

Hello Sarah. When I was a teacher, I was lucky enough to be part of a project that matched literature to each year at primary school. For younger children I would heartily recommend Todd Parr’s The Family Book, Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton and the timeless classic And Tango Makes Three by Justin Parnell. Books like Something Else by Kathryn Cave are also great for discussing how it’s OK to be just whoever you are!

All of the Above

I feel as a bisexual person that I am not represented as much in literature. Can you recommend any books with empowering or prominent bisexual characters? – Adele

Hi Adele. I'm so glad you asked. Bi representation is somewhat lacking and this gives me a great opportunity to plug my somewhat under-loved 2015 novel All of the Above, which was my love letter to all the pan and bi youth who I meet at school events. Outside of my own work, can I also recommend Glasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, which is one of my all-time faves. Far From You by Tess Sharpe is also wonderful.

The Rest of Us Just Give Here

I run an LGBT+ club at a secondary school and am looking to share some speculative fiction featuring queer characters (where their queerness is not a plot point). Any ideas? – Daniel

Hello Daniel. I think this is something Patrick Ness did really well in The Rest of Us Just Live Here and More Than This. My Hollow Pike would also fit the bill. Of course Cassandra Clare nailed this with the very tasty Magnus in her Mortal Instruments series too.

Lucy Sutcliffe

Can you recommend a great LGBTQ biography or autobiography? I would love to know more about heritage and different life experiences of people in the community. Thank you, Juno! – Hetty

Hi Hetty. For sure! There are some really ace memoirs out there from Alex Bertie, Lucy Sutcliffe and (soon) Amrou Al-Kahdi. Jazz Jennings even did her memoir as a picture book! I wrote a memoir called The Gender Games but it’s aimed at adult readers, so you could also try What is Gender? How Does it Define Us? And Other Big Questions for Kids.

How do I can convince my friends to quit picking on me for reading? – Shane

Oh Shane. You need new friends! I know it’s not as easy as that, but my ‘friends’ made my life miserable for years too. Eventually I found new friends who totally accepted me for who I was and the things I liked. Books are so great because you can share them and discuss them with your friends. Does your school have a library or Book Club? I think that would be a good place to start. Rest assured that reading is very, very cool, and your so-called friends are absolutely missing out. I loved books when I was at school and look how my career turned out!

Proud is a stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry responding to the broad theme of pride. Each piece of writing has an accompanying illustration by an artist identifying as part of the community. Proud is out on 7th March 2019, published by Stripes, £7.99.

Need urgent book advice? Why not visit your local bookshop where the booksellers will be happy to recommend your next read – find your nearest here.

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