36 Gender Inclusive Books for Kids and Teens

These books feature trans, nonbinary, and gender-creative characters confronting challenges that range from the supernatural to the painfully real. 

An image of children's books on a colorful background.
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon (books). Art: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong and Jillian Sellers.

The beautiful thing about books is that not only do they help us understand the world around us, but they can also help us see ourselves better too. Through rich language and illustrations, kids and families can turn to books to help them feel proud, seen, and understood when facing challenges that often confront trans, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming people.

"Young people need to see images of themselves in order to internalize a healthy sense of self," says Lillian Rivera, who works with trans, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming youth and their families at the organization Gender Spectrum. "It's important for children to know that gender doesn't have to be rigid or very specific." The characters in these books encourage children of all genders to express their full, authentic selves.

Here are 36 fantastic books that feature gender-inclusive characters.

01 of 36

Picture Books: When Aidan Became A Brother

when aiden became a brother
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By Kyle Lukoff

A sweet story about a transgender boy becoming himself and preparing to welcome a new sibling. Aidan wants everything to be perfect for the baby's arrival but learns he already has all he needs to be a big brother.

Reading level: PK-3, ages 4-7

02 of 36

Pink is for Boys

pink is for boys
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By Robb Pearlman

This celebration of the colors of the rainbow, featuring a diverse cast of characters, encourages kids to reject rigid gender norms and follow their passions.

Reading level: PK-3, ages 4-8

03 of 36

Julián is a Mermaid

julian is a mermaid
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By Jessica Love

Beautifully illustrated and imagined, this award-winning book relates the story of Julián and his supportive abuela. Inspired by some magically dressed-up women he sees on the subway, Julián creates his own unforgettable mermaid costume. The author has also published a second book, Julián at the Wedding.

Reading level: PK-3, ages 2-6

04 of 36

Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope

born ready book
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By Jodie Patterson

Penelope knows that he is a boy, and also a ninja! Will the rest of the world see his truth? Based on a real story, this book is written by the mother of a transgender son.

Reading level: PK-3, ages 4-8

05 of 36

Jacob's New Dress

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By Ian Hoffman

Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Will his parents allow it? What will the other kids say? In a follow-up book, Jacob's Room to Choose, Jacob and his friend Sophie confront the gendered bathroom divide, and in Jacob's School Play: Starring She, He and They, readers meet a nonbinary character.

Reading level: PK-3, ages 4-8

06 of 36

Jamie is Jamie

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By Afsaneh Moradian

It's Jamie's first day at a new school, and there are dolls and cars to play with! Jamie's classmates are curious about whether Jamie is a boy or a girl, but Jamie teaches them that you can't determine a person's gender from their interests. In a follow-up book, Jamie and Bubbie, Jamie shows his grandmother how to respect people's pronouns.

Reading level: PK-3, ages 4-8

07 of 36

A House for Everyone

a house for everyone
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By Jo Hirst

Friends of different gender identities each do their part to construct a house in the schoolyard.

Reading level: PK-3, ages 4-8

08 of 36

Pepito Has A Doll/Pepito Tiene Una Muñeca

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By Jesús Canchola Sánchez

Pepito hides his beloved doll so the other kids won't make fun of him. Then a new student, Miguel, arrives—will he become an understanding friend to Pepito? Written in English and Spanish.

Reading level: 1st-2nd grade

09 of 36

Ho'onani: Hula Warrior

hula warrior book
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By Heather Gale

Ho'onani doesn't feel like she is completely a girl (wahine) or a boy (kane). Can she succeed in leading a school performance of a traditionally male hula chant? Ho'onani's story celebrates nonbinary gender identity and Hawai'ian culture.

Reading level: PK-3, ages 4-8

10 of 36


neither book
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By Airlie Anderson

Everyone is either a blue bunny or a yellow bird in the Land of This and That. Everyone, that is, except Neither. Will Neither find a place to fit in?

Reading level: PK-3, ages 4-8

11 of 36

One of a Kind, Like Me/Único Como Yo

one of a kind like me book
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By Laurin Mayeno

Danny and his mother rush to the store to find the perfect dress for him to use as a princess costume for the school parade. They are written in English and Spanish.

Reading level: ages 4-8

12 of 36

Call Me Max

call me max book
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By Kyle Lukoff

In this series of books by transgender writer Kyle Lukoff, Max affirms his identity and learns, alongside his friends, not to make assumptions about people based on their gender. Sequels Max and the Talent Show and Max on the Farm feature Max and his friends having new adventures.

Reading level: grades 2-4, ages 7-9

13 of 36

A Kids Book About Being Transgender', 'A Kids Book About Being Non-Binary', and 'A Kids Book About Being Inclusive' from A Kids Book About and the Gender Cool Project

a kids book about...
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Three new nonfiction titles written by kids and for kids, these books feature the powerful, positive stories of young people who stand up for themselves and others.

Reading level: ages 5 and up

14 of 36

Middle Grade: The Other Boy

the other boy book
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By M.G. Hennessey

Shane Woods is a typical 12-year-old boy. He plays baseball, draws comics, and hangs out with his best friend, Josh. But there is something about Shane that even Josh doesn't know. Who will stand beside him if his secret is revealed?

Reading level: grades 3-7, ages 8-12

15 of 36

Ana on the Edge

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By A.J. Sass

Figure skating champion Ana-Marie Jin is not enthused about skating a princess-themed program. Being around her new friend Hayden, a transgender boy, she is beginning to feel comfortable with the boyish side of herself. Will Ana reveal her nonbinary identity to everyone?

Reading level: grades 3-7, 8-12 yrs

16 of 36

Melissa (Previously published as George)

george book
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By Alex Gino

With a little help from her friends, George can step into her true gender and play the role of Charlotte in the class theatrical production of Charlotte's Web.

Reading level: grades 3-7, ages 8-11

17 of 36

The Deep and Dark Blue

the deep and dark blue book
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By Niki Smith

In this graphic novel, twins flee when their house is usurped by a coup and take on female gender identities to hide with a tribe of magical women. As they plot their revenge and their return, however, one of them realizes that she wants to continue living as a girl.

Reading level: grades 3-7, ages 8-12

18 of 36

Too Bright to See

too bright to see book cover
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By Kyle Lukoff

Eleven-year-old Bug spends the summer before middle school trying to untangle two mysteries: a ghost in the house and Bug's gender identity, by the transgender author of the picture books When Aidan Became A Brother and the Max series.

Reading level: grades 5-6, ages 10-12

19 of 36


snaapdragon book
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By Kat Leyh

Witches, ghosts, queerness, and trans identity—this graphic novel has it all and will speak to anyone who identifies as a misfit.

Reading level: grades 5-9, ages 10 and up

20 of 36

Lily & Dunkin

lily & dunkin book
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By Donna Gephart

An award-winning story about two unforgettable kids: Lily, who is transgender, and Dunkin, who has bipolar disorder.

Reading level: grades 5-6, 10 and up

21 of 36

Gracefully Grayson

gracefully grayson
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By Ami Polonsky

Grayson is coming to realize that she is a girl, and, with the support of a teacher and a friend, she prepares to audition for a female role in the school play.

Reading level: grades 3-7, ages 8-12

22 of 36

Young Adult: All Out: The No-Longer Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages

all out book
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Edited by Saundra Mitchell

Seventeen young adult authors, representing a vibrant range of queer, trans voices, came together to create this marvelous collection of short stories. The stories cut across history and time to give a trans, queer perspective on well-known stories like Little Red Riding Hood and more.

Reading level: grades 10-12, ages 13-17

23 of 36

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

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By Susan Kuklin

This book uses text and photos to document the real stories of six transgender and nonbinary teens as they transition to become their true selves.

Reading level: grades 9-12, ages 14-17

24 of 36

If I Was Your Girl

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By Meredith Russo

In this award-winning novel, written by a transgender author, Amanda Hardy is falling for a boy named Grant. Will she tell him everything about herself, including her former gender identity?

Reading level: grades 8-12, ages 13-18

25 of 36

The Prince and the Dressmaker

the prince and the dressmaker book
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By Jen Wang

By day he is Prince Sebastian in search of a bride. By night he is Lady Crystallia, the fashion icon of Paris. Frances is his best friend and the creator of his incredible dresses—how long will she keep this secret?

Reading level: grades 7-9, ages 12 and up

26 of 36

Not Your Sidekick

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By C.B. Lee

A tale of friendship and superpowers, or lack thereof, featuring a queer female protagonist and her transgender best friend. In a follow-up title, Not Your Villain, transgender boy Bells takes center stage.

Reading level: grades 7-12, ages 12 and up

27 of 36

Double Exposure

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By Bridget Birdsall

Fifteen-year-old Alyx Atlas was born intersex and raised as a boy, but she knows she's a girl, and after some major life changes, she begins living as one in a new school in a new state. She makes the girls' varsity basketball team, and they're on a winning streak, but one jealous teammate is determined to figure out what Alyx's secret is and reveal it to everyone.

Reading level: grades 6 and up, ages 12 and up

28 of 36

Anger is a Gift

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By Mark Oshiro

This award-winning novel features a group of teens with different racial, sexual, and gender identities banding together to stand up for their community.

Reading level: grades 7-9, ages 14-18

29 of 36

Felix Ever After

felix ever after book cover
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By Kacen Callender

Black, queer, and trans, Felix Love worries that he will never find his happily ever after. But when he plots revenge on an anonymous harasser, the results aren't anything that he expected.

Reading level: grades 9-12, ages 14 and up

30 of 36

None of the Above

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By I.W. Gregorio

Kristin Lattimer seems to have a picture-perfect teenage life. Then she discovers that she was born intersex. How will she manage her new identity, and what will she do when the whole school finds out?

Reading level: grades 9-12, ages 14 and up

31 of 36


pet book cover
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By Akwaeke Emezi

A 15-year-old transgender girl named Jam, and an unusual monster named Pet, set forth to save their society from pressing danger in this award-winning speculative novel.

Reading level: grades 7-9, ages 12 and up

32 of 36

Symptoms of Being Human

symptoms of being human book cover
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By Jeff Garvin

Genderfluid teen Riley Cavanaugh faces pressure from all sides. To cope, he writes an anonymous blog about his life—but what will happen when his identity is discovered?

Reading level: grades 9 and up, ages 14 and up

33 of 36

Dreadnought: Nemesis Book 1

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By April Daniels

Danny Tozer's run-in with the great Dreadnought leaves her with superpowers—and the female body she's always known was hers. Can she adjust to her new identity in time to save the world from a cyborg named Utopia? Dreadnought confronts new enemies and new truths in the follow-up title 'Sovereign: Nemesis Book 2.'

Reading level: grades 7-9, ages 12 and up

34 of 36

Wandering Son, Book 1

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By Shimura Takako

In this Japanese manga, we meet Shuichi and Yoshiro, who aren't comfortable with their gender. Can a fifth-grade drama production allow them to show everyone their true selves?

Reading level: grades 9-12, ages 13-16

35 of 36

Lizard Radio

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By Pat Schmatz

15-year-old Kavali is having a great time at CropCamp until she is pressured to pick a gender in this dystopian sci-fi tale.

Reading level: grades 9-12, ages 14-17

36 of 36

When the Moon Was Ours

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By Anna-Marie McLemore

Best friends Miel and Sam star in this magically real romance featuring painted moons, witches, and flowers that grow from human skin.

Reading level: grades 7-9, ages 12 and up

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