10 LGBTQ Children's Books For Kids of All Ages About Love, Identity, and Family
There's nothing quite like books to teach kids about the world around them. Books are an incredibly useful resource for families, and parents often turn to them to help explain things like welcoming a new sibling, the death of a grandparent, and these days, issues like racism and homosexuality.
Giving kids access to books that showcase LGBTQ families and experiences is essential not only for children who might be questioning their sexuality, but for all kids to understand the different types of people, relationships, and families that make up our society. Jonathan Hamilt, global programming director of Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), which was started to help "give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models," knows just how important it is to expose kids to these types of books. During Story Hour, "kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress-up is real," he says.
Through books and storytimes that take place all over the country, DQSH has been able to "introduce kids to parts of LGBTQ history and culture in age-appropriate settings," says Hamilt. "Drag performers have often been at the forefront of activism, fundraising, and volunteer work in our communities, and serve as role models for how to celebrate what makes us special by putting our best high-heeled foot forward and wearing a huge sparkly smile."
For people to think critically about societal norms and stand up to injustice in any form depends on having good lessons instilled in them when they are young. Children will be able to relate to the 10 books on this list no matter how they identify, as it includes stories for toddlers to teens with relatable LGBTQ characters and experiences.
'George' by Alex Gino
With a little help from her friends, George can step into her true gender and try out for the part of Charlotte in their class play, “Charlotte’s Web,” in this moving story about identity.
'This Day in June' by Gayle E. Pitman
Experience the vibrance of a Pride parade through colorful pictures and exuberant language. Pitman also provides parents with a guide about talking to kids about their sexuality and identity.
'Home at Last' by Vera B. Williams
This book shows that love and fear can come with adoption. With the help of his loving dads and his dog Wincka, young Lester finally feels safe at home.
'Better Nate Than Ever' by Tim Federle
This story follows Nate as he makes the trek from his home in small-town Pennsylvania to New York City to pursue his passion for musical theater. He learns that sometimes, home is smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world.
'Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe' by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
An unlikely friendship blossoms into a first love in this thought-provoking middle-grade novel. It explores themes such as love, sexuality, belonging, and family.
'Little and Lion' by Brandy Colbert
Readers follow Suzette, a teenager who is coming to terms with her bisexuality and brother’s mental illness, in this honest depiction of modern teenage life.
'Labyrinth Lost' by Zoraida Cordovabert
This book is part of the Brooklyn Bruja series and follows Alex, a teenage witch, who travels to Los Lagos, a mystical limbo world, to save her family from a spell she cast. It explores LGBTQ themes and Latin-American family dynamics.
'Of Fire and Stars' by Audrey Coulthurst
Two young, powerful princesses find themselves falling in love while at the same time fighting to protect their respective kingdoms in this thrilling YA novel.
'The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet' by Becky Chambers
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she and the reader are introduced to a cast of characters that openly discusses gender identity, sexuality, spirituality, science, and more.