Do you recall reading any books as a young child that served as a mirror, closely reflecting your own identity or that of your family and culture?

Young child sitting outdoors reading a book Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

Culturally relevant books represent different identities, cultures, and life experiences and encourage readers to accept and appreciate themselves and others.

LGBTQ+ inclusive books help children see themselves and their loved ones in the characters and stories they read, or share in experiences that are different from their own.

Selecting LGBTQ+ books appropriate for your child's age will help you and your child explore rich literature that honors all of the wonderful ways we love and identify.

🧸 Preschool Age (0 - 4 yrs)

Reading with your preschool age child helps foster a love of reading while helping your child develop understanding of the world around us.

Woman sitting on bed with toddler reading a picture book together

LGBTQ+ affirming books appropriate for your preschooler include those that:

  • reflect and honor various types of families

  • value self-expression and exploration

  • respect diverse experiences and interests

Some books to explore include:

The Family Book by Todd Parr

This board book celebrates families and shows every family is special in its own unique way.

Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang

Fun rhymes and illustrated animals highlight many different types of families.

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman

This colorful story encourages children to love what they enjoy, while helping them learn about colors in the world.

What Riley Wore by Elana K. Arnold

This story features a gender-creative child who loves to wear whatever clothes feel right each day and encourages children to be true to themselves.

🧩 Early Elementary Age (5-8 yrs)

Younger school age children begin exploring books they can read on their own about topics that pique their interest or curiosity. Young boy laying in bed with stuffed animals reading a picture book

Children in this age group may develop interest in:

  • gender expression including clothing and activity choices

  • family origins and experiences including their own or of loved ones

Some books to consider that help introduce gender identity and share LGBTQ family experiences include:

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book about Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn

This picture book introduces the concept of gender identity with child-friendly language and colorful images.

I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel

Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience as she and her family work through her gender identity questions.

Donovan's Big Day by Leslea Newman

Donavan has a very important job for his two moms' wedding, and this story captures the joy and excitement of this special day from his perspective.

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam Schiffer

Stella's class is celebrating Mother's Day, and with two daddies, doesn't know what to do. She then finds a perfect solution.

🎒 Late Elementary Age (9-11 yrs)

By late elementary, children choose books with stories and characters they identify with and non-fiction topics they want to learn more about.

Older child laying outdoors on grass reading a book Photo by Skylar Zilka on Unsplash

Older children may show interest in:

  • Stories with LGBTQ+ characters of similar age (10-13 years) emphasizing friendship and relationships

  • LGBTQ+ relevant non-fiction topics, such as historical events or people

Books that explore LGBTQ+ characters or significant events and people include:

Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges

In this graphic novel, Ash and his friends discover an imaginary girls-only world, and Ash faces the possibility he may be a transgender girl.

Taproot by Keezy Young

In this graphic novel, Blue is a ghost who doesn't want to leave his best friend, Hamal. He is in love with Hamal, and wants to protect him, even from the afterlife.

Stonewall: A Building, An Uprising, A Revolution By Rob Sanders

This historic picture book tells the story of the Stonewall Inn and its role in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders

This picture book tells the empowering history of the Gay Pride Flag, including the story of social activist Harvey Milk.

📖 Scenario: Sam Goes Book Shopping for Ava

A girl looking at a book shelf of LGBTQ+ children's books Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

Sam is shopping with 8-year-old niece, Ava, who has two dads and has grown curious about the origins of their special family. Sam takes Ava to a local bookstore during Pride Month, where many LGBTQ+ inclusive books are on display.

Here are some books Sam is considering buying for Ava:

A) Calvin by JR and Vanessa Ford

A transgender boy prepares for the first day of school and introduces himself to his family and friends for the first time.

B) Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack

A prince and knight join to defeat a terrible monster and find true love in an unexpected place.

C) This Day in June by Gayle E. Pittman

A San Francisco Pride parade come to life in this book with rhymes and illustrations developing respect for LGBTQ+ people.

D) And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

The true story about the only penguin in the Central Park Zoo with two daddies, and shows the true meaning of family.

Quiz

Which of these books would be appropriate for Ava's age and interests?

Take Action

Congratulations! You're ready to explore great LGBTQ+ picture books while keeping age-appropriateness for your child in mind. Colorful stack of children's picture books

Here are some things you can do when searching for books:

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This Byte has been authored by

VV

Valerie Verastegui

Designing Learning for Learners on the Go!