Author in the Spotlight: Alex Sanchez

Alex Sanchez 


Alex Sanchez is the author of novels about love, families, and friendship—stories that focus on teens and are enjoyed by people of all ages. His groundbreaking young adult Rainbow trilogy includes Rainbow Boys, praised by School Library Journal as a book that can “open eyes and change lives,” and two sequels, Rainbow High and Rainbow Road. 

His books’ numerous awards include the American Library Association (ALA) Best Book for Young Adults, the Lambda Literary Award, the New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, the Myers Outstanding Book Award for Human Rights, the Florida Book Award Gold Medal for young adult fiction, the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award, and the Bank Street College of Education Children’s Book of the Year. Additionally, Alex was the winner of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist’s Prize. 

Originally from Mexico, Alex received his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and for many years worked as a youth and family counselor. Now when not writing, he speaks to groups around the country on the importance of being true to who you are. You can visit him at 

What motivated you to write books that specifically include LGBTQ families/issues? 

I write about the conflicts of the human heart—anger, love, jealousy, envy. Families are fertile ground for those conflicts, and families with LGBTQ kids, parents, or relatives are no exception. When I began to write about gay teens, I naturally included the family conflicts that those characters experienced. But what most motivated me to write those stories was to explore the transcendence of the conflicts. For me, the transcendence of conflict is what makes stories most worth writing and reading. 

What do you personally feel makes a family? 

My own family is made up of the people I grew up with—parents, a brother, a sister, relatives—people with whom I shared bonds and experiences that helped to define me in some way. Some experiences were quite intense: an escalating argument with my mom, for example. Other experiences were subtler, like my older brother giving me advice. It was the accumulation of those experiences that made my family, and that helped to make me. 

What does “equality” look like to you? 

When I treat others and am treated by them as an equal, regardless of our differences. 

Whose books do you admire and why? 

I admire and strive to emulate authors who tackle the conflicts of the human heart—contemporary writers like Edmund White and Larry McMurtry, and classic writers like Leo Tolstoy and Willa Cather. 

What’s coming up next for you? 

My writing continues to focus on teens. Adolescence was a conflictive time for me, so there is still a lot in my heart to write about. To keep posted please visit me at