Queer Books for Pride | LGBT Picture Books
Picture Books for Pride Month
It’s the last day of Pride month! These lists are going to continue into July and beyond (probably slowing to one per month) but I wanted to squeeze out one last list to close out the month.
Today’s booklist is one I’m quite proud of and have been working on for a while. We’ve got picture books for ages 0-5 with LGBT themes. As Early Learning and small children are my forte, this list is dear to my heart. That being said, I’m just one person and there’s no way I could ever be fully comprehensive. So if you have books that aren’t on this list that you think should be, share them in the comments!
LGBT Picture books may be few and far between but, as of late, more and more are being published! As I’ve worked in libraries and with books, I’ve noticed that picture books frequently deal with gender and the challenges therein as opposed to sexuality. If it does deal with sexuality, the references are all to parent or other familial figures. As studies continually show, children explore gender and discover themselves at a much younger age than questions of sexuality. So this makes total sense. A child is more likely to come out as transgender at very young ages and, thus, books will describe that experience. As we get into middle grade and older, stories of coming out based on sexuality become increasingly prevalent. Stay tuned for that list coming soon!
One thing I’ve noticed as I read is that many of the books regarding gender often showcase MtF trans children or boys with girly tendencies. Many of the titles on this list which deal with gender roles in girls are all simply girls who aren’t girly. And that’s not a bad thing, but I want there to be a FtM transboy! Someone find me this picture book!
All reviews are from Goodreads unless otherwise noted.
Because there are so many, I’ve only chosen a handful of book covers to highlight particularly wonderful titles. Make sure to click through on each title to learn more!
Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
Perfect for fans of And Tango Makes Three and The Sissy Duckling, this irresistible picture book is a celebration of love in all its splendid forms from debut author J. J. Austrian and the acclaimed author-illustrator of Little Elliot, Big City, Mike Curato.
You are cordially invited to celebrate the wedding of a worm . . . and a worm.
When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next: They get married! But their friends want to know—who will wear the dress? And who will wear the tux?
The answer is: It doesn’t matter. Because Worm loves Worm.
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino
Morris has a great imagination. He paints amazing pictures and he loves his classroom’s dress-up center, especially the tangerine dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother’s hair.
The other children don’t understand–dresses, they say, are for girls. And Morris certainly isn’t welcome in the spaceship his classmates are building–astronauts, they say, don’t wear dresses.
One day Morris has a tummy ache, and his mother lets him stay home from school. He stays in bed reading about elephants, and her dreams about a space adventure with his cat, Moo. Inspired by his dream, Morris paints a fantastic picture, and everything begins to change when he takes it to school.
Baby’s First Words by Stella Blackstone
Spend the day with a busy baby and her two dads, and learn the words for things you do and see along the way! This innovative first-words book features labels for objects, actions and sound effects, as well as a fun seek-and-find element.
The Different Dragon by Jennifer Bryan and Danamarle Hosler
This bedtime story about bedtime stories shows how a lively, curious boy helps one of his moms create a magical tale. Together they weave a nighttime adventures that lands young Noah and his singing cat Diva deep in dragon territory. Join them as they make an unexpected discovery and help a new friend find his way.
Also available in Spanish, El dragon diferente .
When 7th grader Alba Clark expressed an interest in translation, her Spanish teacher Pamela Torres handed her a copy of The Different Dragon. This passionate teacher and her motivated student worked closely together, delving into the essence of language and searching for words to honor the intention of the original story. Because of their efforts Two Lives Publishing is proud to bring you El dragon diferente.
Littles and How They Grow by Kelly DiPucchio
In the beloved tradition of Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever and Emily Winfield Martin’s The Wonderful Things You Will Be comes a beautiful rhyming ode to babies from a New York Times bestselling author/illustrator duo perfect for baby showers, newborn gifts, first birthdays, christenings, and anytime babies are celebrated.
In this unforgettable, squeal-filled, tear-inducing love song to babies and how quickly they grow up, author Kelly DiPucchio s heart-tugging rhyme meets the gorgeous, dimple-cheeked, multicultural babies ofillustrator AG Ford. With adorable scenes from the busy life of a baby peekaboo, feedings, tantrums, giggles and a final scene that reminds us how they become big kids all too soon, this is the ideal gift for any new parent and their child.”
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows…Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary: “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey becomes the girl she always dreamed she’d be!
This gorgeous picture book—a modern fairy tale about becoming the person you feel you are inside—will delight people of all ages.
The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein
Let’s just say that Elmer’s not your run-of-the-mill duck. He likes to decorate cookies, enjoys building sand castles instead of forts, and would rather put on puppet shows than play sports. Being different is fine for sweet Elmer — he’s as happy as a duck in water doing everything he loves.
So what’s the problem? Papa Duck and the other guys just don’t understand. Papa tries to teach Elmer to play baseball, but the results are simply disastrous for the unathletic duckling. That night, Elmer overhears Papa saying that the flock is calling his son a sissy, and he turns to Mama for some quality reassurance. After school the next day, Elmer suffers some tormenting from an enormous bully and flees instead of fighting, only to hear more scathing words from his embarrassed father. A dejected Elmer decides that his only option is to run away from home. Later in the forest, he’s horrified to see that his father has been shot while the flock is heading south, but Elmer doesn’t leave Papa to die — he hoists him on his back, carries him home, and cares for him the whole winter! Not only does Papa get better; he learns during his recovery that Elmer is a brave little duck whose courage is something to be admired.
Noted playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein delivers a heartwarming story about diversity, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the Ugly Duckling. Lovable Elmer’s story will make readers cheer, and his difference will help children recognize and appreciate the qualities that make them — along with other people in their communities — special. Henry Cole’s tender yet hilarious illustrations are just the right touch for Elmer, who even sports a pink flowered backpack and heart-shaped sunglasses. Elmer is one extraordinary duck whose “sissyhood” is something to celebrate! (Matt Warner)
The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke
Violetta is a princess. But she wants to be a knight. At night, she practises at becoming the best knight in the land. When her father, the king, stages a tournament for Violetta’s hand in marriage, she knows she must win the greatest battle yet, for the most important prize of all – herself.
Call Me Tree/Llámame árbol by Maya Christina Gonzalez
In this spare, lyrically written story, we join a child on a journey of self-discovery. Finding a way to grow from the inside out, just like a tree, the child develops as an individual comfortable in the natural world and in relationships with others. The child begins “Within/ The deep dark earth,” like a seed, ready to grow and then dream and reach out to the world. Soon the child discovers birds and the sky and other children: Trees and trees/ Just like me! Each is different too. The child embraces them all because All trees have roots/ All trees belong. Maya Christina Gonzalez once again combines her talents as an artist and a storyteller to craft a gentle, empowering story about belonging, connecting with nature, and becoming your fullest self. Young readers will be inspired to dream and reach, reach and dream . . . and to be as free and unique as trees.”
Large Fears by Myles E. Johnson and Kendrick Daye
Jeremiah Nebula is not a bullfrog. He is a black boy that loves pink things, and he desperately wants to travel to Mars. His voyage leads him to land on stars that have little Jeremiah confronting all of his fears, and not just the smalls ones, the really, really large ones. Will Jeremiah Nebula conquer his large fears? Will he ever make it to Mars? Blast off with “LARGE FEARS” to see if Jeremiah Nebula’s dreams come true or if they remain a daydream.
King and King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland
Once there lived a lovelorn prince whose mother decreed that he must marry by the end of the summer. So began the search to find the prince’s perfect match and lo and behold……his name was Lee. You are cordially invited to join the merriest, most unexpected wedding of the year. KING & KING is a contemporary tale about finding true love and living happily ever after, sure to woo readers of any age. A great gift. Exuberant artwork full of visual play calls for repeated readings. Accelerated Reader quiz available.
Inside/Out Book Club selection. Lambda Literary Award. Honorable mention in the “Most Unusual Book of the Year” category for Publishers Weekly’s 2002 “Off the Cuff” Awards, or “Cuffies” selected by booksellers.
Red : A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as “red” suffers an identity crisis in the new picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It’s an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!
The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman
This fun and fascinating treasury features all kinds of families and their lives together. Each spread showcases one aspect of home life – from houses and holidays, to schools and pets, to feelings and family trees. Ros Asquith’s humorous illustrations perfectly complement a charming text from the acclaimed Mary Hoffman; kids will love poring over these pages again and again. A celebration of the diverse fabric of kith and kin the world over, The Great Big Book of Families is a great big treat for every family to share.
Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman
Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.
From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.
The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp
Author Anna Kemp and illustrator Sara Ogilvie turn a traditional fairy tale on its royal head in this bright and funny rhythmic story that will have readers of all ages cheering along for The Worst Princess! Princess Sue dreams of finding her Prince Charming. But when that Prince proves to be a bit more traditional than what she had hoped for, Princess Sue—along with the help of fiery dragon—becomes determined to find a way to get the fairy-tale ending that she always envisioned for herself. For fans of Robert Munch’s The Paperbag Princess!
My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
My Princess Boy is a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. With words and illustrations even the youngest of children can understand, My Princess Boy tells the tale of 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by happily dressing up in dresses, and enjoying traditional girl things such as jewelry and anything pink or sparkly. The book is from a mom’s point of view, sharing both good and bad observations and experiences with friends and family, at school and in shopping stores.
My Princess Boy opens a dialogue about embracing uniqueness, and teaches you and others how to accept young boys who might cross traditional gender line clothing expectations. The book ends with the understanding that ‘my’ Princess Boy is really ‘our’ Princess Boy, and as a community, we can accept and support youth for whoever they are and however they wish to look.
Families, Families, Families! By Suzanne Lang
From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Imagine a house with many rooms, whose walls each have a different color or wallpaper, accenting a family portrait hanging there. On a rustic wooden wall hangs the first portrait—a large family of ducks posing beside a still pond. The next spread shows three pandas in pink vests, much like the pink oriental wallpaper behind them. Each portrait features a gently rhyming line: “Some children live with their grandparents…/and some live with an aunt./Some children have many pets…/and some just have a plant.” All of these appealing images demonstrate different ways of being a family. “Some children live with their father./ Some children have two mothers./Some children are adopted./Some have stepsisters and—brothers.” The cartoon-style critters contrast pleasantly with more realistic elements—a bamboo plant, a slender ceramic dog, a fat ceramic cat. Families of hippos, tigers, lions, ostriches, and whales join the other family groups in the final spread. The loud-and-clear message is that “if you love each other, then you are a family.” And imagine the many children who will be reassured because they have found a portrait of a family they will recognize as their own. A solid choice for most libraries.—Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
Every day, everywhere, babies are born. They’re kissed and dressed and rocked and fed–and completely adored by the families who love them. With an irresistible rhyming text and delightfully endearing illustrations, here is an exuberant celebration of playing, sleeping, crawling, and of course, very noisy babies doing all the wonderful things babies do best.
A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
A is for Activist is an ABC board book for the next generation of progressives: Families that want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and so on.
Donovan’s Big Day by Leslea Newman
Donovan’s two moms are getting married, and he can’t wait for the celebration to begin. After all, as ringbearer, he has a very important job to do. Any boy or girl with same-sex parents—or who knows a same-sex couple—will appreciate this picture book about love, family, and marriage. The story captures the joy and excitement of a wedding day while the illustrations show the happy occasion from a child’s point of view.
Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman
Casey loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck, but he also loves things that sparkle, shimmer, and glitter. When his older sister, Jessie, shows off her new shimmery skirt, Casey wants to wear a shimmery skirt too. When Jessie comes home from a party with glittery nails, Casey wants glittery nails too. And when Abuelita visits wearing an armful of sparkly bracelets, Casey gets one to wear, just like Jessie. The adults in Casey’s life embrace his interests, but Jessie isn’t so sure. Boys aren’t supposed to wear sparkly, shimmery, glittery things. Then, when older boys at the library tease Casey for wearing -girl- things, Jessie realizes that Casey has the right to be himself and wear whatever he wants. Why can’t both she and Casey love all things shimmery, glittery, and sparkly? Here is a sweet, heartwarming story about acceptance, respect, and the freedom to be yourself in a world where any gender expression should be celebrated. Sparkly things are for everyone to enjoy!
Mommy, Mama, and Me by Leslea Newman
Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its mommies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together.
Shares the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children.
A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager
A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too.
True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? / Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. / Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”
A Tale of Two Mommies is intended for 4-8 year olds.
This book lets us look inside one non-traditional family, a same sex couple and their son. As the children talk, it’s clear this boy lives in a nurturing environment where the biggest issues are the everyday challenges of growing up.
It’s Okay to be Different by Todd Parr
It’s okay to be a different color. It’s okay to dance by yourself. It’s okay to wear glasses. It’s okay to have a pet worm…. It’s okay to be different!
This Day in June Gayle E. Pitman
In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, this title welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. Also included is a reading guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as a ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways.
In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco
Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don’t accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema’s house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn’t mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be. Here is a true Polacco story of a family, living by their own rules, and the strength they gain by the love they feel.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families. But Tango’s family is not like any of the others. This illustrated children’s book fictionalizes the true story of two male penguins who became partners and raised a penguin chick in the Central Park Zoo.
Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer
Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family.
Introducing Teddy : A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship by Jessica Walton
One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can’t figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: ‘In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl Teddy, not a boy Teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.’ And Errol says, ‘I don’t care if you’re a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.’
DISCLAIMER: ANY AND ALL OPINIONS SHARED ARE OURS ALONE AND ARE NOT NECESSARILY REFLECTIVE OF OUR EMPLOYERS.
- https://www.leewind.org/ (I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?)
- https://glbtrt.ala.org/rainbowbooks/rainbow-books-lists (Rainbow List)
- http://www.ala.org/rt/glbtrt/award/stonewall/honored (Stonewall Book Award)
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- Emily’s Goodreads
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- Ari’s Goodreads