Whether tackling complicated subjects like racism, social injustices, or sexual identity, books can help to foster rich conversations between adults and children. Thankfully, many authors are writing literature to help little ones learn about the LGBTQ+ community, encouraging them to develop a sense of identity, equality, empathy, and community.
For children who are struggling with how they identify or ways in which their family may look different than others, seeing characters that look and feel like them can create a sense of understanding and safety.
I informally polled my friends to see which books had been most instrumental in opening lines of communication surrounding the LGBTQ+ community within their homes. So, as we wrap up PRIDE month, here is a list of our top books to keep the conversations surrounding gender, stereotypes, families, and love going in your household, year-round. We’ve also included shopping links to Bookshop, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.
7 Books to Teach Children About the LGBTQ+ Community
By Michael Genhard, illustrated by Anne Passchier
This bright, gorgeously illustrated book teaches the youngest audiences about the meaning behind each stripe of the rainbow flag. Rainbow is a great read to show children the importance of recognizing and celebrating all families.
A Family Is a Family Is a Family (Ages 4-7)
By Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Qin Leng
This beautiful story, which is a personal favorite in my daughter’s nightly stack, unpacks and celebrates the fact that families come in all different forms. From having two dads to having two separate houses, students in a classroom are encouraged to share all of the wonderful things that make their families unique.
Julián Is a Mermaid (Ages 4-8)
By Jessica Love
So many of my mama friends raved about this tale of Julián, a child whose life is forever changed after seeing women dressed like beautiful mermaids on the subway. The story navigates gender nonconformity and self-love, encouraging readers to celebrate their individuality.
I Am Jazz (Ages 4-8)
by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Jazz Jennings courageously shares her story of realizing at a young age that, although she was raised as a boy, she is truly a girl. The empowering tale of a transgender child’s experience is a must-read for families.
By Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jamey Christoph
The story by Rob Sanders explains an essential piece of LGBTQ+ history through the story of the 1969 police raid of New York City’s Stonewall Inn. Narrated by the Stonewall Inn, the tale will leave children feeling empowered and hopeful.
Stella Brings the Family (Ages 5-8)
By Miriam B. Schiffer, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
This is the endearing story of how a young girl named Stella and her two fathers navigate a Mother’s Day celebration at her school. Stella comes to realize that she is surrounded by an abundance of love and support, creating a sense of pride in what makes her family unique.
George (Ages 8-12)
By Alex Gino
George is a story about what happens when the main character, who the world sees as a boy, is actually a girl named Melissa and wants to play the lead role of Charlotte in the play “Charlotte’s Web.” The author even has a helpful conversation guide for families online.
We hope you enjoy these 7 LGBTQ+ books for kids and are able to share them with your own families!
Katie Nave is a freelance writer, producer, and mama living in Brooklyn, New York. Driven by her passion for storytelling, she is always seeking opportunities to elevate people who are working to better the world around them.