I just blogged about The Rainbow List in my blog for my school. I notified the kids that we have many of the books from both this year's and last year's list. I will put some of the books on display too. The problem that I have with these books is that it is difficult to get kids to read them! Even though our school seems to be a supportive community and has an active Gay-Straight Alliance, I think it is still hard to be labeled. Usually when I booktalk a book with gay themes to 8th-9th graders, it does not get checked out. Even when I try to downplay that part of the story it still sits in the library after class. Sometimes the books with gay characters get checked out for required reading for a Human Development class (at least I got that into the curriculum!), or I might notice an older student checking one out, but hardly ever an 8th-9th grader. I blame it on their age, that they are probably afraid of being labeled as GLBTQ, and so they stay away from books with these themes (What they don't realize is you don't have to be a boy to read a book about a boy main character, you don't have to be a clone to enjoy a book about a clone as a main character. Why does reading a book about a gay or lesbian character possibly signify that the reader is gay or lesbian?). Of course, this doesn't stop me from buying and promoting these often excellent books, because I think even if one student reads and connects with a book like this it can be a life-changing event for him or her, and therefore the books are worth buying.
Do your students check out the books they know have gay themes? Which ones are the most popular? I would say, without doing any major research on it, that Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan is probably the most checked out book with gay themes in my library. What about yours? How can we as librarians combat this subtle homophobia in young teens? Or, is it not a problem in your library?
Along with The Rainbow List, please look at Lee Wind's blog celebrating YA GLBTQ books, I'm Here, I'm Queer, What the Hell do I Read? (Twilight fans must see his video Love Sucks: Good News for Gays and Vampires).