El Proyecto del Arco Iris
Monday, March 19, 2012
by: Arla Jones and Laurie Spurling

Section: News Articles

March Edition

Arla Jones teaches ESOL at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kansas. Laurie Spurling is a librarian at Denver Public Library, in Denver, Colorado

Four years ago, the GLBT-RT’s (Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Round Table) launched The Rainbow Project with the mission to publish a recommended list of LGBTIQ books for youth, from “birth” to age 18. The Rainbow List  was so well-received that GLBT-RT launched another committee last year, whose mission is to publish a recommended list of LGBTIQ  books for adult readers —aka the Over the Rainbow Book Committee(OTR). I chaired OTR for its first two years, and I must say that we have been quite pleased with the reception of the list.  One of the most rewarding aspects of this committee is that we have the opportunity to bring attention to so many small and independent publishers and authors. 

If you select books for your library, or are an avid reader, I would definitely encourage you to visit our blog on the ALA website frequently throughout the year.


This year’s list has 74 titles, and if you go to our website you can see the entire list AND see the committee’s Top Ten titles for the year.

One of the Over the Rainbow Committee’s Top Ten Favorites this year, has a Latino focus. The Fish Child was published by Texas Tech Press and written by the Argentine writer of television, film and documentary screenplays Lucia Puenzo. Puenzo’s screenplay for the film adaptation of The Fish Child premiered at the Berlin Film Festival.  She also received a foreign language Oscar nomination for her screenplay for the ground-breaking film XXY about an intersex 15-year-old.  

The Fish Child is told from the point of view of the family dog.  The novella is about the romance between Argentine Lala and her maid Guayi.  The story takes a strange turn when Guayi disappears without a trace. Lala tries to trace her to her native Paraguay, where she learns some shocking secrets about Guayi's past and the legend of the fish child that lives in the lake. There are numerous uses of the Guaraní language throughout the book, which definitely adds to the uniqueness of this delightful and dramatic book.

For some time now the University of Wisconsin Press has been publishing a number of LGBT titles each year.  One of Wisconsin’s Latino titles of interest this year is a collection of short fiction entitled Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing. The editors, Lima Lázaro and Felice Picano, each wrote thoughtful forwards commenting that short fiction was one of the first genres  to represent  a diversity of Latino literature and cultures. Ambientes includes stories by and about LGBT Latinos from all demographics-- urban, bi-coastal and even mid-western.  

The third Over the Rainbow Committee’s title with a Latin focus this year is Jaime Hernandez’s sequel to his graphically illustrated story series, Esperanza: A Love and Rockets Book. This is Hernandez’s the fifth volume of his very popular Love and Rockets series, which follows the continuing adventures of Maggie and Hopey as they revisit the past and explore the future together.

If you select books for your library, or are an avid reader, I would definitely encourage you to visit our blog on the ALA website frequently throughout the year.  We publish a list of nominations each month until  Halloween, when we start to winnow down our nominations into the final bibliography that comes out (excuse the pun!) at the end of Mid-Winter Conference.

If you would like to volunteer to serve on the Over the Rainbow Committee or the Rainbow List for Children, please go to the ALA website and submit a volunteer application. To volunteer for a GLBTRT committee, you must already be a member of ALA and GLBTRT.

Also, if you read a book, or hear of a book that you think might be appropriate for either the Over the Rainbow or the Children’s Rainbow List, please, please contact the committee chairs.  You can find their current contact information at ALA website.)
To see the complete Over the Rainbow list, published after Mid-Winter in Dallas, Texas, you need to visit our website. We had a total of nearly 300 titles under consideration this year. By Halloween we had 140 nominated titles, and from those 140 titles, we selected 74 titles to be included on the final bibliography. It was another excellent year for LGBT publishing for adult readers!
Recommended Latino Titles from the 2012 Over the Rainbow List:

2012--Hernandez, Jaime.  Esperanza: A Love and Rockets Book.  Fantagraphics. 2011.  248p.  $18.99.  (978-1606994498).
Lima,  Lázaro, ed.,  and Felice Picano, ed. Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing.  University  of
Wisconsin. 2011.  220p. $22.95.   (978-0299282240).  Short Stories
 Puenzo, Lucia.  The Fish Child (The Americas).   Texas Tech Press.  2010 (Oct).  $26.95.  (978-


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