We’re thrilled to announce our new campaign: #BooksToTeens!

#BooksToTeens is a new initiative to help get more LGBTQIA+ books into the hands of teens that need them. We’ll feature a new crowdfunding project every other week on GayYA’s Twitter. Most of the projects will be donorschoose.org fundraisers, but we may branch out into Kickstarters for queer anthologies, or other similar crowdfunding pushes. Anything that will eventually help get more LGBTQIA+ books to teens! We’ll use the hashtag #BooksToTeens to promote them.

A good portion of what we do at GayYA can be boiled down to one goal: get more LGBTQIA+ YA books into the hands of the teens that need them. Since GayYA launched in 2011, publishing has made huge progress. There have been so many amazing LGBTQIA+ YA titles published over the last couple of years, books with positive and affirming representation. Yet, a cursory search on YA book tags on Tumblr shows LGBTQIA+ teens still desperately searching for books that prominently feature teens like them. That should not be the case anymore, given the hundreds of amazing titles available. For some reason, there’s a missing bridge between the books and the teens. While a multi-pronged approach is needed to resolve this issue, helping to fund these classrooms and libraries is a measurable step that we can take toward fixing it. All teens should have the opportunity to see themselves in the books that they read. For every classroom we help fund, every library we get books to, there are teens who will gain access to that opportunity; to see themselves in stories.

#BooksToTeens is inspired by the work of rockstar librarian Angie Manifredi. Several months ago, she began spearheading a push on Twitter to fund Donor’s Choose campaigns to help support classrooms that needed funding for books. Throughout the chaos of the election, it was a relief to help boost and donate to those classrooms. It felt like a measurable amount of good that we were putting out into the world.

Our first #BooksToTeens project is LGBTQ+ Library For Our School, a student-led fundraiser. They’re hoping to raise $523 in order to create a LGBTQ+ library section at their school. Let’s help them reach that!

As this is an ongoing project, we are open to fundraiser suggestions, whether it’s your project, a friend’s, or something you just stumbled across. Please email vee@gayya.org with your suggestions.