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  • Oliver Whitney

17 Empowering LGBTQIA+ Reads for Kids

Words have the incredible ability to shape young minds and foster understanding, making children's books an indispensable educational tool in today's world. In this guide, we'll journey through an essential selection of LGBTQIA+ children's books that entertain, educate, and inspire. 

 


Parent reading LGBT book to kids

 

 

From stories celebrating acceptance and identity to those for allies, activists, and LGBTQIA+ history, each recommendation offers a unique opportunity to instill values of empathy, acceptance, and love in young readers. 


Children’s Books About Families 


1,2,3: A Family Counting Book by Bonnie Combs  

This original read by Bonnie Combs celebrates the diversity of families through a delightful counting journey. Each page features a different family unit, showcasing love and togetherness in all its forms. Combs' charming illustrations and simple rhymes make this book educational and visually gratifying.  

 

As fellow author Trish Hopkinson said, "This book reminds us that love and family are not bound by any specific definition." Highly recommended for teaching children about the beauty of inclusivity and acceptance, as well as how to count! 


ABC: A Family Alphabet Book by Bobbie Combs 

Another Bobbie Combs original, this adorable alphabet book is a wonderful exploration of families of all kinds, from adoptive families to single-parent households and everything in between.  

 

This book introduces children to diverse family structures and expressions of love using letters of the alphabet. The book’s colorful illustrations and engaging text make this read both entertaining and educational.  

 

"This book celebrates the wonderful diversity of families in a fun and accessible way," said author Leslie Kimmelman. 

 


Stack of LGBTQIA+ Kids Books

Adopting Our Two Dads by Luca Panzini  

This heartwarming story follows two siblings as they joyfully recount the experience of being adopted by two dads. Through beautiful illustrations and heartfelt narration, Panzini captures the love, warmth, and unique bond that exists within his family.  

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell 

Based on a true story from the Central Park Zoo, this book tells the tale of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who form a family and raise a chick named Tango together. The story is a gentle introduction to same-sex relationships and the concept of non-traditional families, teaching children about acceptance and love in all its forms. 


Love Makes a Family by Sophia Beer 

Love Makes a Family by Sophia Beer is a touching picture book that celebrates the diversity of families and the power of love to unite them. Through beautiful illustrations and simple text, Beer portrays families of all shapes, sizes, and compositions, emphasizing that love is what truly makes a family.  

 

As renowned LGBTQIA+ advocate and actress Laverne Cox stated, "This book is a beautiful reminder that families come in all forms, and what matters most is the love that binds them together."  


Books About Self-Acceptance and Identity 


The Boy with the Rainbow Heart by William Mason 

In "The Boy with the Rainbow Heart," William Mason tells the story of a young boy named Harry who feels different from his peers because of his colorful heart. Through a journey of self-discovery, Harry learns to embrace his uniqueness and share his vibrant heart with the world. 

 

This heartfelt tale celebrates individuality and self-acceptance, making it a wonderful addition to any child's library.  

 

Whether you're a child, parent, or educator, this heartfelt tale celebrates individuality and self-acceptance, making it a wonderful addition to any child's library. It serves as a powerful reminder that our differences are what make us beautifully human. 

The Boy Who Cried Fabulous by Leslea Newman 

In this fun tale, a boy named Roger sees the world through a lens of fabulousness, finding beauty and joy in even the simplest things. Despite skepticism from those around him, Roger remains authentic, unapologetically embracing his fabulousness. 

 

This beautifully written book celebrates the uniqueness of every child and encourages them to embrace their true selves. Through Roger's story, readers are inspired to let their inner light shine bright and to embrace the richness of their individuality.  


10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert 

​​In "10,000 Dresses" by Marcus Ewert, a young transgender girl named Bailey dreams of wearing beautiful dresses but faces resistance from her family. With the help of a supportive friend, Bailey learns to express her true identity and finds acceptance. 

 

This touching story about gender identity and acceptance promotes understanding and empathy. As LGBTQIA+ advocate and educator Chase Strangio stated, "10,000 Dresses is a powerful and important book that challenges gender norms and celebrates the beauty of being true to oneself." 

 

The story also highlights the struggles that many transgender individuals face in a world that often fails to recognize or validate their identities. However, it ultimately sends a message of hope and empowerment, encouraging children to be true to themselves and celebrate their identity. 

 

 


Variety of LGBTQIA+ Themed Children's Books

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Teresa Thorn 

"It Feels Good to Be Yourself" by Theresa Thorn is a thoughtful exploration of gender identity, featuring diverse characters who share their distinctive experiences. Through engaging illustrations and accessible language, Thorn creates a welcoming space for children to learn about gender diversity. 

 

This inclusive book fosters awareness and acceptance of gender diversity, making it an essential resource for children and families. It introduces the concept of gender identity in a straightforward and easy-to-grasp way for young readers.  

 

Thorn also addresses common questions and misconceptions about gender identity, such as "Can you change your gender?" and "What does it mean to be transgender?" These explanations help children develop empathy and respect for people who may identify differently from themselves. 

 

In today’s society, where the concept of gender is constantly evolving, this book is a must-read. 


When Aiden Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff 

This book tells the story of a transgender boy named Aiden who navigates the complexities of welcoming a new sibling into his family. Through Aiden's journey, the book explores themes of identity, change, and unconditional love. 

 

The book also addresses the challenges that transgender individuals and their families may face in society, such as misgendering and lack of understanding. It sheds light on the experiences of transgender youth and promotes empathy toward their struggles.  

 

By normalizing diverse identities within children's literature, this book is a valuable resource for educating young readers about diversity and inclusion. 


The Every Body Book by Rachel Simon 

"The Every Body Book" by Rachel Simon is a comprehensive guide to body positivity and self-acceptance for children of all genders and identities. Through engaging illustrations and empowering text, Simon encourages readers to celebrate their bodies and embrace diversity.  

 

One of the key elements of "The Every Body Book" is its focus on promoting empathy and understanding for transgender individuals. By sharing personal stories and experiences, Simon helps readers to see beyond stereotypes and to recognize the humanity in all people.  

 

In addition to addressing the struggles faced by transgender individuals, "The Every Body Book" also celebrates the beauty of diverse identities. It teaches readers that there is no one "right" way to look or be and that everyone deserves respect and acceptance regardless of their appearance. 

Books for Allies and Activists 

 

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara 

"A is for Activist" by Innosanto Nagara is a vibrant and empowering alphabet book that introduces children to social justice issues and inspires them to become activists for change. Through inviting illustrations and catchy rhymes, Nagara encourages young readers to stand up for their beliefs and advocate for a better world. 

 

This groundbreaking book is a must-read for young activists and allies, and a powerful tool for sparking conversations about activism and social justice.  


I Am Jazz by Jessica Herschel 

"I Am Jazz" by Jessica Herschel is a heartfelt and empowering memoir that shares the journey of Jazz Jennings, a transgender advocate and reality TV star. Through Jazz's own words and Jessica Herschel's touching illustrations, the book explores themes of identity, acceptance, and resilience. 

 

This moving memoir is a valuable resource for activists and allies seeking to understand and support transgender individuals. As LGBTQIA+ advocate and author Chaz Bono commented, "I Am Jazz is a powerful and important book that celebrates the beauty and resilience of transgender youth and promotes understanding and acceptance." 


Rainbow Allies by Nancy Churnin 

“Rainbow Allies" is an inspiring collection of stories that highlights the importance of allyship in the LGBTQIA+ community. Through a series of charming vignettes, Churnin celebrates individuals who have stood up for LGBTQIA+ rights and made a positive impact in their communities.  

 

One notable story in the book is about a young girl named Emily who stood up for her gender-nonconforming friend, Alex. When Alex was teased and bullied by classmates, Emily stepped in and defended her friend. This act of allyship made a difference in Alex's life and inspired other students to stand up against bullying, too. 

 

The book emphasizes the power of small acts of kindness and demonstrates how anyone can become an ally by simply showing support, kindness, and acceptance towards others. 

LGBTQIA+ History Books for Kids 



Children's Books for LGBTQIA+ Allies

 

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

This vibrant picture book takes us on a journey through history, celebrating the life and legacy of Harvey Milk - the first openly gay elected official in California - and the iconic Rainbow Flag that serves as a symbol of LGBTQIA+ pride. With colorful illustrations by Steven Salerno and a captivating narrative by Rob Sanders, "Pride" offers a powerful and accessible introduction to LGBTQIA+ rights and the importance of standing up for equality. 

 

But what truly sets this read apart is its ability to tackle complex themes in a way accessible to young readers without watering down the message. This book doesn't shy away from big ideas, from the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights to the power of unity and activism. It celebrates diversity, resilience, and the belief that love is love – in all its colorful glory. 

 

Whether you're a parent, teacher, or just someone who appreciates a good picture book, "Pride" is a must-read. It's a story of hope, courage, and the belief that even the smallest voices can spark change.  


Our Rainbow by Little Bee Books 

Our Rainbow by Little Bee Books is a delightful children's book that celebrates diversity in a way that's as colorful and vibrant as, well, a rainbow! From the bustling city streets to the serene countryside, this book takes young readers through various communities, highlighting the beauty of different cultures, languages, and traditions.  

 

With its engaging illustrations and simple yet impactful text, Our Rainbow celebrates inclusivity and acceptance that will leave both kids and adults feeling warm and fuzzy inside. 


This Day in June by Gayle Pitman 

Gayle Pitman's "This Day in June" is a vibrant and inclusive celebration of LGBTQIA+ pride that bursts off the pages with joy and energy. Set against the backdrop of a pride parade, this book takes young readers on a colorful journey through the sights and sounds of a community coming together to celebrate love and acceptance. 

 

With its lively illustrations by Kristyna Litten, "This Day in June" captures the essence of pride events as a diverse cast of characters joyfully dances, waves flags, and spreads messages of unity and inclusivity.  

 

What sets "This Day in June" apart is its thoughtful approach to addressing various aspects of LGBTQIA+ identity in an age-appropriate manner. From explaining the meaning of "pride" to depicting same-sex couples and gender-diverse individuals, Pitman skillfully navigates complex topics with sensitivity and respect. 


Fighting the Good Fight: Words Matter 

LGBTQIA+-centric children's books allow us to instill the values of acceptance, empathy, and understanding from an early age. However, this journey has not been without its challenges. Authors advocating for LGBTQIA+ representation have faced opposition and censorship from antagonists seeking to silence their voices. Yet, despite these obstacles, they have continued to fight for the right to tell diverse stories and uplift marginalized voices.  

 

As we celebrate the progress made in LGBTQIA+ representation in children's literature, let us also remain vigilant in defending the freedom of expression and promoting inclusivity in all forms of storytelling. Together, we can create a brighter and more inclusive tomorrow for future generations.  

 

To learn more about what Be the Transformational Change is doing to continue the fight for freedom and inclusivity, check out our website - https://www.bethetransformationalchange.org/


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