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Beyond Harry Potter: Middle Grade & YA Fantasy Featuring Queer, Trans & POC Characters

If J.K. Rowling’s recent TERFy comments (and my goodness, she’s still standing by them gosh darn it!) have you questioning all that is good and magical in the world, well, us too. But just because the thought of diving into the Harry Potter series with your impressionable young brood has suddenly lost its luster doesn’t mean bedtime stories have to be magic-free for the foreseeable. In fact, there are a ton of middle grade and YA fantasy books out there that a) are not written by someone who makes damaging comments towards trans folks and also that b) even do amazing work spotlighting minority characters, including kids who are LGBTQ+ and/or POC.

We spoke to queer indie bookseller extraordinaire Nicole Brinkley of Oblong Books (she’s also the chair of the New England Children’s Bookseller Advisory Council, NBD) to get her top book recs for how to un-Rowling-ify your child’s fantasy shelf. And hey, even if you’ve already read the Harry Potter books a dozen times, there’s no time like the present to diversify your library and tell the stories of so many kids whose differences prove to be their superpowers — both metaphorically and literally. These are fantasy books, after all.

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