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Relevant Resources: Books for Children through Adults about LGBTQ+ Topics

Books for children about LGBTQ+ topics:

Daddy, Papa, and Me by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson

Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with their daddies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together. Share the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children. For ages 0–5.

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

The love and support is palpable in this portrait of family diversity with multiracial adopted kids and same-sex parents. Use this joyful and moving book as a model of inclusiveness for children in same-sex households. For Growing Readers ages 6 to 8. 

Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman, illustrated by Eda Kaban

Teaches children about colors and encourages living beyond gender stereotypes, and that every color is for everyone. Great for kids 4-7. 

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom, illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching

In the magical time between night and day, when both the sun and the moon are in the sky, a child is born in a little blue house on a hill. And Miu Lan is not just any child, but one who can change into any shape they can imagine. The only problem is they can’t decide what to be: A boy or a girl? A bird or a fish? A flower or a shooting star? At school, though, they must endure inquisitive looks and difficult questions from the other children, and they have trouble finding friends who will accept them for who they are. But they find comfort in the loving arms of their mother, who always offers them the same loving refrain: “whatever you dream of / I believe you can be / from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea.” In this captivating book about gender, identity, and the acceptance of the differences between us, Miu Lan faces many questions about who they are and who they may be. Ages 3–8.

Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima

Harriet, an African American girl, with two dads loves costumes and can get a little carried away! A fun story about remembering where you belong, no matter how far you roam, or what you’re wearing when you get there. Ages 2 to 6. 

Large Fears by Myles E. Johnson, illustrated by Kendrick Daye

“This book aims to create a space for queer Black boys in children’s literature and help young kids of color see themselves reflected in the stories that they read. It tells the story of Jeremiah Nebula ― a Black boy who loves pink things. Jeremiah Nebula longs to travel to Mars where he thinks he will find people and things that accept him rather than shame or alienation for being different from other young Black boys in his life. According to Johnson, this longing leads to a daydream that causes Nebula to confront several fears he would have about going to Mars. The story follows him as he lands on different stars that symbolize different fears he has along his journey.” (HuffPost, Queer Voices) Ages 4–8.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis. Almost everyone tries to “help” him be red until a friend offers a new perspective. He’s blue! About finding the courage to be true to your inner self. Ages 3 to 5.

Heather Has Two Mommies by: Lesléa Newman

Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies. As school begins, Heather sees that, "the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love one another." Ages 3 to 5.

The Adventures of Honey and Leon by Alan Cumming and Grant Shaffer

The two rescue dogs shadow their dads on a trip across the sea, keeping them out of danger at every turn! How did their dads survive without Honey and Leon’s protection for this long? Ages 5 to 7.

The Different Dragon by Jennifer Bryan

Shows how the wonderful curiosity and care of a little boy, with some help from his two moms, can lead to magical places with a dragon who is tired of being tough. Ages 5 to 7.

Donovan’s Big Day by Lesléa Newman

Captures the excitement of  a young boy as he and his extended family prepare for the boy’s two moms’ wedding. A picture book about love, family, and marriage. Ages 5 to 8.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole

A sweet tale of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo, given an egg to care for and, ultimately, a penguin chick to raise as their own. 

Great for: Pre-K (ages 3–5), Growing Reader (ages 6–8)

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis, illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone

A mother celebrates her son who just happens to love wearing sparkly pink clothes. And tiaras — he loves tiaras. Kilodavis wrote the book memoir-style, describing her own journey of accepting her transgender son.

Great for: Pre-K (ages 3–5), Growing Reader (ages 6-8)

The Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy by S. Bear Bergman, illustrated by Suzy Malik

Tulip has a great job, fulfilling the birthday wishes of all the 9-year-olds in North America. But what will he do when he receives a wish from a child called David, who’d rather be Daniela?

Great for: Pre-K (ages 3–5), Growing Reader (ages 6–8)

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

Stella's class is having a Mother's Day celebration, but what's a girl with two daddies to do? Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family. For ages 3 to 6.

Postcards from Buster: Buster’s Sugartime by Marc Brown

In this episode of the travels and adventures of Buster the bunny, Buster goes to Vermont to learn about maple syrup making. He meets a new friend who has two moms.

Great for: Growing Reader (ages 6–8)

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Dennis is mad about soccer — but also about fashion. When a friend encourages him to wear a dress to school and call himself “Denise,” instead of being celebrated, he’s kicked out of school. Which means the soccer team loses its star player.

Great for: Growing Reader (ages 6–8), Tween (ages 9–12)

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

The Fletchers are no different from any modern American family — four brothers, various pets (some possibly imaginary), soccer, plays, and pesky neighbors. The fact that the fathers are gay and a few of the brothers are adopted? That’s just background, showing readers without telling them that there as many definitions of family as there are families.Continues with The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island.

Great for: Tween (ages 9–12)

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennani

June just wants to hang out with her friends this summer, but a backlash against Vermont’s civil union law threatens her family’s security. Use this book to start a conversation about marriage equality and what it is like to be the innocent child of same-sex parents who are discriminated against. For ages 9 to 13.

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Eighth-grader Nate Foster feels stuck in small-town, small-mind Pennsylvania, with a religious father and a depressed mother. Nate pines to dance on Broadway, and with the help of his best friend Libby, hops a bus to New York to audition for "ET: The Musical." In the process, his whole world — including his quest to come to terms with his sexuality — busts wide open in a wonderful way.

Great for: Tween (ages 9–12)

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill

When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. They join forces to defeat a jealous sorceress while realizing their happy ever after is with each other. For ages 8 to 11.

A Fire Engine for Ruthie by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Cyd Moore

Ruthie’s Nana assumes that she will want to play with dolls, put on fashion shows, and paint flowers, but Ruthie wants to play with fire trucks, trains, and motorcycles. When Nana realizes that Ruthie doesn’t conform to traditional notions of what a girl should like, she buys a fire engine for Ruthie. Energetic illustrations capture the loving relationship between Ruthie and Nana in this insightful and sensitive story. Many of Newman’s children’s books touch on the LGBTQ experience in an age-appropriate way that simply conveys the importance of family, acceptance, love, and letting people be who they were created to be. For ages 3 to 7.

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case

Jacob loves wearing dresses and pretending he’s a princess at school, but a male classmate disapproves and says boys can’t wear dresses. Thank goodness for Emily, Jacob’s friend who always defends and supports him and demonstrates the power of an ally. This heartwarming story shows that there are all sorts of ways to be a boy and conveys the importance of support from friends and family. It also speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don't identify with traditional gender roles. For ages 3 to 7.

Roland Humphrey Is Wearing a WHAT? By Eileen Kiernan-Johnson, illustrated by Katrina Revenaugh

Roland Humphrey is a little boy who likes to wear pink and fun accessories, but the girls at school have created lists of colors and things that only girls can like. The lists confuse Roland and make him sad because he only really likes the stuff that’s deemed “only for girls.” Roland wonders why girls can be tomboys and like both dolls and sports, but boys cannot. Written in verse, the book playfully raises important questions about gender norms, acceptance, and friendship. For ages 3 to 7.

The Best Man by Richard Peck

Much like the picture books on this list, The Best Man shows an adult gay relationship (and wedding) from a child’s perspective. The main character is Archer, whose uncle Paul is set to marry one of Archer’s teachers. The story spans a whole five years, from Archer’s time in elementary school to middle school. It shows the depth that does exist in the lives of kids, and is funny and sweet at the same time. While not much happens in terms of plot, it is such an easy and enjoyable read that it doesn’t matter so much. Archer grows as a person, and that is what is most important. For ages 9 to 12.

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Liv is a transgender boy set on fighting his school’s uniform policy: the girls are made to wear skirts, while the boys are allowed to wear pants. In fighting for his rights, Liv gets to explore his own identity and what it means to be himself, while finding friends who support him no matter what. Liv also comes from a family with two mums, which is explored in a lovely way that shows how strong his family is. For ages 9 to 13.


Books for young adults about LGBTQ+ topics:

The Misfits by James Howe

A gang of seventh graders, bonded for years over being shunned and bullied by others (one’s gay, one’s an outspoken girl, one’s everybody’s favorite hooligan), form an alliance when they decide to not take the taunts anymore. Followed up by Totally Joe.

Great for: Tween (ages 9–12), Teen (ages 13–14)

 As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman

Thirteen-year-old Charlie experiences isolation resulting from racist and homophobic bullying while at an all-girls’ Christian camp. This 2018 Stonewall Award Honor-winning graphic novel sensitively explores issues around race, faith, feminism, and girls’ friendships. For ages 12 and up.

Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

A high school boy falls in love with an undocumented immigrant in this timely and thought-provoking novel. Sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity are all portrayed against a backdrop of police violence and social injustice in an inner-city Oakland setting. For ages 12 and up.

Like Water by Rebecca Podos

Loyal, dependable Vanni questions her sexual identity when she becomes friends with mischievous and daring Leigh. Winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award, this book explores self-discovery in the context of Hispanic family culture. For ages 12 and up.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out — without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met. Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story — wrapped in a geek romance — is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli. For ages 12–18.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life. For ages 14 and up.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting―working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating―no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done. But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!). When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated―or understood. For ages 13 and up.