The Stonewall Riots: Making a Stand for LGBTQ Rights (History Comics)

by Archie Bongiovanni (Author) A Andrews (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: History Comics

Turn back the clock with History Comics! In this graphic novel, experience the Stonewall Riots firsthand and meet iconic activists like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

Three teenagers--Natalia, Jax, and Rashad--are magically transported from their modern lives to the legendary Stonewall Inn in the summer of 1969. Escorted by Natalia's eccentric abuela (and her pet cockatiel, Rocky), the friends experience the police raid firsthand and are thrown into the infamous riots that made the struggle for LGBTQ rights front-page news.

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Kirkus Reviews

Engaging account that invites young people to continue to advocate for equality now.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 4-7--Stand up to hate alongside activists in this series entry on the 1969 Stonewall Riots. As teenagers Rashad, Jax, and Natalia help Natalia's grandmother, Carmen, move, they stumble upon a black-and-white photograph. To the teens' surprise, the photo is of Carmen and her former girlfriend back in 1969. As Carmen outs herself to the young people (themselves coded LGBTQIA+), she talks about the difficulties and dangers of being queer back then. À la The Magic School Bus, the characters are transported back in time to experience the real-life history firsthand. After immediately getting a taste for the period's homophobia, the crew seeks safe haven at the Stonewall Inn. There, they meet critical activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Before too long, the police show up to raid the place yet again, and the teens witness the titular riots begin. Bongiovanni and Andrews effectively simplify the events and setting to make them age-appropriate, while striking a delicate balance of depicting both queer joy and resistance. Characters throughout are diverse in skin tone. Without detracting from Stonewall's importance, the narrative nods to other pivotal events at Cooper Do-nuts, Dewey's, and Compton's Cafeteria. The narrative also briefly summarizes key events in future decades as the teens return to the present. Historian and professor Michael Bronski introduces the book. Back matter includes notes, resources, and definitions that further contextualize the information. VERDICT Accessible and intersectional, this compact foray into queer history is an essential purchase for all graphic nonfiction collections. --Alec Chunn

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Archie Bongiovanni

Archie Bongiovanni is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Minneapolis. Archie has been featured in The New Yorker, The Nib, Vice and Autostraddle. They're the co-creator of A Quick And Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns, published by Limerence Press, and their graphic novels include Grease Bats, Mimosa, and History Comics: The Stonewall Rights, their collaboration with A. Andrews.

A. Andrews is a disabled queer writer and illustrator based in Minneapolis, MN. Their debut graphic novel, A Quick and Easy Guide to Sex & Disability (Oni/Limerence Press) has been included in 2020 lists for the NYPL best books for teens, and YALSA's best books for teens. They are also the creator of Autostraddle's Oh, Hey!, a bi-monthly autobiographical comic about being queer, sick, and sometimes embarrassing.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
First Second
Publication date
May 20, 2022
History Comics
BISAC categories
JNF038100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States
JNF025210 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/20th Century
JNF062020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | History
JNF053080 - Juvenile Nonfiction | LGBT
JNF062040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Social Topics
Library of Congress categories
Graphic novels
Comics (Graphic works)
Nonfiction comics
Gay liberation movement
Educational comics
Stonewall Riots, New York, N.Y., 1969
Gay rights

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