First of all – why are we having this LGBT themed week? We will certainly be wanting to discuss and get excited about books that shine a light on anything LGBT themes any day, all year round, but sometimes it's good to have a special focus.
Why? Well because despite diver Tom Daley coming out as bisexual and the same-sex marriage becoming legal in the UK and Conchita Wurst winning the Eurovision song contest, more than half (55 per cent) of gay young people experience homophobic bullying at school, which can be so serious it leads to death. Almost a quarter of young gay, lesbian and bisexual people have tried to commit suicide at some point.
Calling someone "gay" continues to be an insult in school playgrounds across the country. Almost all children (99 per cent) hear the phrases "that's so gay" or "you're so gay" in school (check out Stonewall's School Report for more info and stats). If you're a secondary school it's almost impossible to imagine that you wouldn't have witnessed or experienced some form of homophobic bullying. In other parts of the world where homosexuality is illegal, people are executed for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Books have the power the change things for the better because prejudice is all about ignorance. So this week celebrates the mind expanding and conscious raising power books have to make the world a better place and to understand that all love is equal.
We've got so much great stuff to share with you this week, so do keep coming back and seeing what we're up to.
Here's our plan and live links will be added as the features get published:
Monday 12 May
• The Book Doctor prescribes books for younger children which including same-sex relationships
• The best LGBT books ever – site member and author recommendations (this list will grow as the week goes on so keep checking back and do add to it by emailing [email protected])
Tuesday 13 May
• Alan Gibbons: why there's a gay character in my book Hate
• Liz Kessler: why my LGBT book sat for 15 years in a drawer – but how times have changed
• James Dawson: the importance of visibility
Wednesday 14 May
• James Dawson: Tips for book group leaders on how to use books to create safe spaces for young LGBT people
• Tess Sharpe: My inspiration: Malinda Lo
• Live chat with Patrick Ness on Twitter! Send your questions to @Patrick_Ness or @GdnChildrensBks with #GdnAskNess on Wednesday 14 May from 6-7pm BST. James Dawson, Liz Kessler and Alan Gibbons are special guesting throughout the evening using the #GdnAskNess. Please join in! Not on Twitter? You can email your questions to Patrick, James, Liz and Alan on [email protected] And we're liveblogging the chat on the site too so you can follow off Twitter on the night.
Thursday 15 May
• Susie Day's top 10 books with LGBT characters for pre-teens
• Alex Brugman: why I wrote Alex as Well, about intersex teenager Alex – plus a first chapter extract!
Friday 16 May
• David Levithan and filmmaker Darren Stein: our top 10 gay characters in books and film, plus David and Darren in conversation.
• An extract from David Levithan's brand new book, Two Boys Kissing
• Elmer gallery: David McKee's brightly coloured elephant has helped people across the world celebrate difference
• How well do you know your LGBT fiction? Test your skills in our quiz!
Saturday 17 May
• For anti-homophobia day: Stonewall's young Campaigner of the year Michael Young talks about coming out as a gay teenager and gives advice on where young people can go for support and more information.
• Plus site member Nina on why she set up Rainbow Reads.
Sunday 18 May
• Vanda Carter's top 10 LGBT-friendly picture books for younger children – in pictures.