Rainbow Boxes Aims To Send LGBT-Focused Young Adult Books To Libraries and Shelters, aka The Best Idea Ever
The fight to make LGBT identities more widely accepted continues, and books are a great medium with which to do that. Which is why a new project to send LGBT-focused young adult books to libraries and shelters is such a great idea. Not only can it show kids everywhere that LGBT people are just people like everyone else, but it also give LGBT teens a chance to see themselves represented in literature, and that's something everyone deserves.
The project, called Rainbow Boxes, is currently fundraising on Indiegogo, and was started by YA authors Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta. The project aims to donate a box of 15 books with LGBTQIA characters to one community library and one homeless shelter in every state in the country (40 percent of homeless teens identify as LGBT). That's a total of 1,500 books! I tend not to underestimate the good that 1,500 books can do in the world. Although, 1,500 books are also expensive, especially when you want to use more durable hardbacks. The project's goal is to raise $26,000, and has so far received just more than $6,000. Not a bad start, but hopefully they can keep growing.
The books planned for the Rainbow Boxes include Huntress by Malinda Lo, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, and Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky, among many other celebrated titles.
The group explains more about their reasons for hoping to donate these titles in their video below.
The struggle for LGBT equality has had a lot of victories lately, including the recent Supreme Court decision declaring bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. However, legal protections for LGBT people are still absent in many states, and ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry towards LGBT people continues to exist in this country. Books, however, can be an important part of fighting that.
Books impact our worldview and how we understand and conceptualize the world around us (there's even science to back this up). And so seeing LGBT characters in books gives straight kids a point of reference for what people with those identities are like — namely that they are people, not stereotypes or strange, incomprehensible aliens. And that is doubly important for LGBT teens. While positive, well-rounded representations of LGBT people are still sadly few and far between in film and television, in books they abound, especially in books written by LGBT authors.
Really it's no wonder that people have tried to ban such books in community libraries — they're a great way to promote tolerance and ensure that the next generation sees people of all sexualities and gender identities as normal.
Here's hoping the Rainbow Boxes are able to bring great stories, compelling characters, and a little more acceptance to libraries and shelters around the country.
To find out more about the project, including a full book list, or to donate you can check out the Rainbow Boxes Indiegogo page.