Read the Rainbow

June 3, 2024
Susannah Choate, MSIS
Read the Rainbow

This June, let’s learn about and celebrate queer voices with stories and history in a colorful way – with the Pride flag. The famous rainbow flag is a wonderful way to decorate for Pride month, mark your library as a safe space, and inspire displays, reading lists, and even educational programs.

The original Pride flag was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978. It was made up of eight colors that each symbolized something different. After Harvey Milk’s assassination, the high demand for Pride flags required some changes. Hot pink was dropped due to the unavailability of the fabric. Baker also took creative liberties and removed the color turquoise as a design choice. The blue stripe shifted from a shade of indigo to a true blue. Thus, the iconic six color rainbow flag we now know so well was born.

Evolution of Pride Flags

Pride flags have continued to evolve over the years, with new, more inclusive versions coming to be. In 2017, Philadelphia unveiled their own flag that honored queer people of color with additional black and brown stripes. The Trans colors (taken from the community’s own Pride flag) of white, pink, and blue have been added. The Intersex symbol has also been included to create the most current and progressive Pride flag. The black stripe continues to symbolize people of color, but it now also honors those lost during the HIV/AIDS crisis. To learn more about the history of the Pride flag, and the many other types of flags that celebrate intersectionality, gender identity, and more visit the Human Rights Campaign website.

To learn more about Pride and the history of the LGBTQIA+ community, check out these books:

  • The LGBTQ+ History Book DK Big Ideas explores the biggest moments in LGBTQ+ history from centuries ago to present day; while also covering parts of the queer community’s history that is often overlooked in an approachable, colorful, illustrated guide.  
  • The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World highlights diverse leaders and activists in the gay rights movement from the 1960s to now through amazing interviews.
  • The Stonewall Reader was edited by the New York Times Library a few years ago to honor the Stonewall uprising on it’s 50th anniversary. This book is a collection of important archival material and powerful first-person narratives.

These books are just a few that teach about and celebrate the LGBTQIA + community. This Pride month let’s celebrate by recommending, displaying, and reading queer stories by queer voices and read the rainbow!

For more book suggestions to help with library displays, lists, personal reading, and more explore these curated ipage lists for adults, teens, and children:

Gender Identity


LGBTQIA Fiction Essentials

LGBTQIA Graphic Novels

LGBTQIA Nonfiction

LGBTQIA Teen Fiction

LGBTQIA Teen Nonfiction

LGBTQIA Teen Graphic Novels

LGBTQIA Teen Intersectional Fiction

LGBTQIA Juvenile Fiction

LGBTQIA Juvenile Nonfiction

LGBTQIA Juvenile Graphic Novels

LGBTQIA Board Books

LGBTQIA Picture Books Fiction

LGBTQIA Picture Books Nonfiction

Read the Rainbow
Susannah Choate, MSIS

Susannah Choate, MSIS

Collection Development Librarian

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