Offbeat Unicorn

For those who like unicorns with sharp hooves and mystery

Looking through my archives, I realized that the recent popularity of unicorns has led to a range of representations – of both unicorns themselves, and of the people who interact with them.

This list has a lot of room to grow. If you know a book that’s got a unicorn and features characters from traditionally underrepresented groups or unicorns from non-western traditions, tell me, and I’ll try to review it!

Children’s & YA Books

If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle, illus. Cale Atknson. Tundra Books, 2018. (A POC protagonist searches for the perfect mythological pet, sampling creatures from many mythologies.)

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima. Simon and Schuster, 2017. (This gentle reimagining of The Ugly Duckling can be read as a loving coming-out story.)

The Secret Lives of Unicorns by Dr. Temisa Seraphini and Sophie Robin. New York: Flying Eye Books, 2019. (Unicorn finders from different backgrounds, places, genders, and ages look for unicorns across the globe.)

Zombies vs. Unicorns, edited by Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010. (Includes several stories with LGBTQ+ protagonists.)

Adult Books

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel by Haruki Murakami. Vintage International, 1993. (This novel comes from Japan and engages with the diverging European and East Asian unicorn traditions.)

Space Unicorn Blues by T.J. Berry. Nottingham, U.K.: Angry Robot, 2018. (LGBTQ+ characters from different cultural backgrounds decolonize space! With unicorns!)

The Unicorn Anthology, edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman. San Francisco: Tachyon Books, 2019. (Includes several stories with LGBTQ+ protagonists and characters from different cultures, historical moments and socioeconomic statuses.)

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