Every family is worth celebrating and every child should see representations of families that look like their own. Illustrated picture books that show LGBTQ+ relationships with different combinations of parents are vital for showing all children that every family is a valid one. March 31 is International Day of Trans Visibility and in honor of the occasion, we decided to compile a list of children’s books that show the diversity of contemporary society.
When a child does not see themselves represented, it can bring feelings of shame where there should be pride. By seeing families that look like their own, it can help bridge a divide and open windows of possibility and understanding. Even if you are in a “traditional” family and do not identify as LGBTQ, it is important to teach children to accept those who have a unique family makeup. Ignorance fuels hate so we must all do our part to educate the youth so that our future is even brighter and full of color. Here are 25 LGBTQ+ children’s books that celebrate families and unique perspectives. Click on the images of the books or their titles to purchase from Amazon.
Written by Sarah S. Brannan, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding shares the story of “Chloe’s favorite uncle is getting married, and she’s not happy about it,” the publisher writes. “But after a magical day with Uncle Bobby and his boyfriend, Jamie, Chloe realizes she’s not losing an uncle, but gaining one. Selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best picture books of 2020 and by the American Library Association as a 2021 Rainbow Book List title, celebrate family with this gorgeous picture book.”
And Tango Makes Three tells the story of two male penguins, desperate to start a family of their own, adopt an egg to hatch. This cheerful, true story of the “only penguin in the Central Park Zoo with two daddies” will teach kids the true meaning of family. The book was written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.
The love and support are deeply moving in this portrait of family diversity with multiracial adopted kids and same-sex parents. You can use this hopeful and moving book as a model of inclusiveness for children in same-sex, LGBTQ households. In My Mothers’ House was written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco.
“Have fun with the kids, moms, dads and pets in this delightful book that celebrates LGBTQ families as it teaches young children the alphabet,” the publisher writes. ABC A Family Alphabet Book does not explain the different makeups of the families, but instead just shows them being families. This educational children’s book was written by Bobbie Combs.
Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne and Max Lang tells the story of “Moms, dads, sisters, brothers — and even Great Aunt Sue — appear in dozens of combinations, demonstrating all kinds of nontraditional families! Silly animals are cleverly depicted in framed portraits, and offer a warm celebration of family love,” according to the publisher. The illustrations in this one are particularly cute.
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert tells the story of a little boy who doesn’t feel like a little boy and dreams of the most amazing dresses every night. He tries to tell his family about his dreams, but they brush them off reminding Bailey he is a boy and boys shouldn’t dream of dresses. His family is NOT accepting at all and you must know that. You can use this as an opportunity to talk about overcoming adversity with your child.
Same-sex marriage is approached in a gentle way from the perspective of a young boy participating in his mothers’ wedding in Donovan’s Big Day. Any child curious about weddings and marriage will learn from this humanist story. The beautiful book was written by Leslea Newman.
“Molly’s dilemma, sensitively explored in words and art, shows readers that even if a family is different from others, it can still be happy, loving, and real,” the publisher writes. Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden tells the story from a child with two moms perspective and it could help your child better understand that love makes a family.
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman was the 2015 winner of the Stonewall Book Award. This illustrated book captures the joy and positive energy of a Pride Parade from a child’s point of view. A reading guide at the end of the book gives context to the struggle for LGBTQ rights while the magical illustrations make this a joyful tribute to gender diversity and expression.
Red: A Crayon Story by Micheal Hall is a tearjerker but it will lodge itself in your heart and never leave you. “Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon’s Story is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way,” the publisher writes.
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings tells the true story of Jazz Jennings, depicting her early childhood as a girl in a “boy body.” Kids struggling with gender identity questions will find a role model and learn compassion for her experience. “I found it deeply moving in its simplicity and honesty,” Laverne Cox said of this children’s book.
The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman tells the stories of a diverse set of families with different LGBTQ representation alongside more “traditional” family units. The text of the book is funny and good-natured. It reinforces the importance of familial love as the most important factor of what makes one.
My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis explores the importance of families and entire communities in nurturing LGBTQ children. Told with the bluntness you might expect from a true story. “Inspired by the author’s son, and by her own initial struggles to understand, this heartwarming book is a call for tolerance and an end to bullying and judgments,” the publisher writes.
You will find a history lesson in Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders. This biography of the hero who commissioned the rainbow flag to be a symbol of the 1970s gay rights movement, addresses the ugly bullying against LGBTQ communities, but the picture book still manages to resonate with hope for equality.
Written by Lesléa Newman, Mommy, Mama, and Me is about the everyday life of a family with two moms. What we adore about this book is that it highlights parts of the day that young toddlers and preschoolers can relate to easily. There is bath time, visits to the park, helping cook dinner, etc. The book shows how this family is just like your child’s.
In Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer, little Stella has two fathers but no mother, so her school Mother’s Day party creates a troubling problem for her. Her loving, extended family helps her find a solution, proving that mothering happens in many ways by many people in a community.
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Written by Daniel Haak, Prince & Knight the prince does not want to marry any of the princesses his parents choose for him. This is a rhyming fairy tale that will be perfect for little fans of princes, princesses, knights, and the like. We love that this genre now has LGBTQ characters at the center of one of its stories.
In The Family Book by Todd Parr is an excellent book that celebrates diversity and LGBTQ families by simply pairing them with more “traditional” families and treating each in exactly the same way. This is a very colorful read with super cute illustrations that kids will love.
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite goes about things a touch differently than other books on this list. In the book the child has a mommy, a daddy, and dad also has a roommate. The book was written in 1990 and even though we don’t often hear “roommate” as a euphemism for a boyfriend anymore, in 1990 it was probably more common. The message is a straightforward one about love being love.
In A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager, is essentially a collection of questions from two friends asking a third about how his family with two mommies operates. Sometimes adults go straight for the deep big issues when really kids just are curious about which mom is the one to coach little league and which one bakes cakes. Despite having LGBTQ parents, the little boy’s life does not turn out to be so different at all.
The companion of the last book, A Tale of Two Daddies by Vanita Oelschlager answers some other questions children might have about the daily routines and lives of LGBTQ parents. Kids love the vibrant illustrations in these books and if they like one of them, you should go ahead and grab the other.
“While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume,” the publisher of Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love shared. Of all the books on this list, this baby has the most incredible, imaginative illustrations.
When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff won numerous awards after its release in 2019. “When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl,” the publisher writes. “His parents gave him a pretty name, his room looked like a girl’s room, and he wore clothes that other girls liked wearing. After he realized he was a trans boy, Aidan and his parents fixed the parts of his life that didn’t fit anymore, and he settled happily into his new life.” A great LGBTQ story that every little one would benefit from reading.
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The Boy & the Bindi is a charming children’s picture book published in 2016 and written by Vivek Shraya. It is about a young boy’s fascination with his mother’s bindi and his experiences when he wears one. His mother teaches him about its cultural significance, allowing the boy to find the magic of the bindi, which in turn gives him permission to be more fully himself.
A Is For Activist by Innosanto Nagara is an unapologetic children’s picture book about activism on a number of issues including civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and environmental justice. If you are looking for a truly progressive children’s book to help them learn about the role activism plays in shaping society, this would be an excellent option for your family.
There you go! What did you think of these children’s books? If you saw one you are interested in reading your child or letting them explore on their own, simply click the title or image of the book to purchase it on Amazon. Teaching our kids about all types of families is very important. For LGBTQ parents, finding the right way to talk about certain issues that queer parents face can be difficult. With the help of a great children’s book, you can open a door to new understanding. At the end of the day, each one of these works is about love. Who can argue with that?
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