When curating this booklist, we focused on the importance of being our truest selves, loving others for who they are, and accepting all family compositions. Our resulting booklist centers the lived experiences and interactions of many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community members, their family dynamics, and the history and culture/identity of the LGBTQIA+ community. We know books are powerful. Books written by, and those that center, the LGBTQIA+ community create space for children whose family structures fall out of the “norm,” who struggle with their own identity, and who otherwise feel unsupported. These books highlight values of difference, community, love, respect, appreciation, and empathy which are beneficial for children who identify as LGBTQIA+ and those who don’t.
We encourage all readers to dig deeper, not only into these LGBTQIA+ stories of identity and connection, but also into the larger narrative of representation, and how these stories are being told, in what ways, and by whom.
We hope you love these stories.
Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
Love is baking a special cake. Love is lending a helping hand. Love is reading one more book. In this exuberant board book, many different families are shown in happy activity, from an early-morning wake-up to a kiss before bed. Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love the family members share. (Ages 5 and up.)
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Steven Salerno
In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today’s world. Award-winning author Rob Sanders’s stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno’s evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable—and undertold—story. A story of love, hope, equality, and pride. (Ages 5-8.)
Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jamey Christoph
This powerful and timeless true story allows young readers to discover the rich and dynamic history of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement—a movement that continues to this very day. Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution is an essential and empowering civil rights story that every child deserves to hear. (Ages 5-8.)
It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn, illustrated by Noah Grigni
Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between. This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. With child-friendly language and vibrant art, It Feels Good to Be Yourself provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity. (Ages 4-8.) Watch a read-aloud of this book here.
Love Is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer
Mari is getting ready to make a sign with crayon as the streets below her fill up with people. “What are we making, Mama?” she asks. “A message for the world,” Mama says. “How will the whole world hear?” Mari wonders. “They’ll hear,” says Mama, “because love is powerful.” Inspired by a girl who participated in the January 2017 Women’s March in New York City, Heather Dean Brewer’s simple and uplifting story, delightfully illustrated by LeUyen Pham,is a reminder of what young people can do to promote change and equality at a time when our country is divided by politics, race, gender, and religion.
Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman, illustrated by Eda Kaban
Pink is for boys … and girls … and everyone! This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids—and their grown-ups—to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages girls and boys to enjoy what they love to do, whether it’s racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up. (Ages 4-8.)
She’s My Dad & He’s My Mom by Sarah Savage
My Dad’s name is Haley. She used to be a he but now she is a she! Last year she did this thing called transition. She grew her hair long, painted her nails in bright colors and started wearing different clothes.’
When Mini’s cousin accidentally misgenders her dad Haley, Mini explains why misgendering is hurtful and why we need to treat trans people with respect. Mini speaks with confidence about transitioning and gender identity, and helps to educate and empower others with trans relatives or friends.
This brightly illustrated book for children aged 3 – 7 will aid discussion with children about a loved one transitioning or about trans people in general. Featuring a child with a dad who has transitioned, this book passes on an important message about acceptance and respect, and covers pronouns, dysphoria, family diversity and misgendering. Watch a read-aloud for this book here.
A Plan for Pops by Heather Smith and Brooke Kerrigan
Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. They walk to the library hand in hand, like a chain of paper dolls. Grandad reads books about science and design, Pops listens to rock and roll, and Lou bounces from lap to lap. But everything changes one Saturday. Pops has a fall. That night there is terrible news: Pops will need to use a wheelchair, not just for now, but for always. Unable to cope with his new circumstances, he becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. Hearing Grandad trying to cheer up Pops inspires Lou to make a plan. Using skills learned from Grandad, and with a little help from their neighbors, Lou comes up with a plan for Pops. Watch a read-aloud for this book here.
C is for Country by Little Nas X
Join superstar Lil Nas X—who boasts the longest-running #1 song in history—and Panini the pony on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown. Experience wide-open pastures, farm animals, guitar music, cowboy hats, and all things country in this debut picture book that’s perfect for music lovers learning their ABCs and for anyone who loves Nas’s signature genre-blending style. Watch a read-aloud for this book here.
My Maddy by Gayle E Pitman (Author of This Day in June)
Most mommies are girls. Most daddies are boys. But lots of parents are neither a boy nor a girl. Like my Maddy.
My Maddy has hazel eyes which are not brown or green. And my Maddy likes sporks because they are not quite a spoon or a fork.
Some of the best things in the world are not one thing or the other. They are something in between and entirely their own.
Randall Ehrbar, PsyD, offers an insightful note with more information about parents who are members of gender minority communities, including transgender, gender non-binary, or otherwise gender diverse people. Watch a read-aloud for this book here.