While reading classic stories with your kids is great, making sure to include books that feature LGBTQ or nonbinary characters in your family’s repertoire is super important, too. It helps to normalize the fact that these families are just like everyone else in all the ways that matter.
Reading these books as a family can also open the door to important conversations about acceptance. Plus, allowing children who may feel different to see images of themselves reflected back at them can help them to better understand and accept who they are. These types of books teach children to not just accept, but also to celebrate, everyone for who they are rather than for what others expect them to be. Whether you’ve got a baby or a teen, check out this roundup of 10 children’s books featuring LGBTQ or nonbinary families.
Love Makes a Family (Ages 0-3)
What’s the one thing that makes any family a family? Love, of course, and that’s the theme of this colorful board book. The sweet message is that what really matters is not the number or gender of parents or other caregivers you have, it’s the love between you when you bake, read, or do any number of family activities together.
Rainbow: A First Book of Pride (Ages 0-5)
The best part about this book is how it depicts same-sex families, some of which are interracial, both on their own and as part of a community, underscoring the need for acceptance for all families. Its depictions of people of all kinds doing everyday things helps illustrate that non-traditional families enjoy the same experiences and activities as more traditional families. It’s educational, too, teaching kids about the colors of the Pride flag and what each of them stands for.
Donovan’s Big Day (Ages 3-8)
Donovan is stoked that his moms are getting married—and that he gets to be the ringbearer, too! This adorable book celebrates the love and joy of planning a family wedding from a child’s point of view while hinting at the importance of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. We love that it’s not until the last page that it’s revealed his parents are two moms.
My Maddy (Ages 4-8)
When your parent is neither a mom or a dad but rather something in between, you have a Maddy, which is pretty much the best of both worlds, according to this heartfelt children’s book that was written by a psychology professor. By celebrating all great things that are in between—like hazel eyes, sporks, and more—the book helps to shine a positive light on gender-nonconforming families.
This beautifully illustrated book talks about gender in a sensitive, straightforward way. Rather than a story about accepting the one child who is “special,” this book is about appreciating how unique each and every person is, whether they’re a boy, a girl, not sure yet, or transitioning.
I Am Jazz (Ages 4-8)
Sometimes you have a girl’s brain in a boy’s body—or the other way around. While a few of the reviews of this book point out that simplifying gender to binary choices (you’re either a boy or a girl) can be problematic, they almost universally agreed that this book was a super child-friendly way to introduce these topics to young kids and start conversations around gender identity. Based on the real-life experiences of transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, this story of a transgender child is great whether your child feels different, or you just want them to understand that everyone has a right to be who they are.
Stella Brings Family (Ages 5-7)
With two dads, Stella isn’t sure what to do about the upcoming class Mother’s Day party. When her friends ask her who packs her lunch, reads her stories, and heals her boo-boos and she lists different family members, her pals suggest she bring them all to the party. This warm-and-fuzzy book is great for any child who’s ever worried they wouldn’t fit in.
The Pants Project (Ages 8-12)
Even with two moms, Liv hasn’t told anyone he’s pretty sure he was always meant to be a boy. So when a new dress code at school means he can no longer wear pants, he and his pal Jacob decide to start a petition to have the code changed again—and switch clothes to make their point.
Zenobia July (Ages 10-12)
When Zenobia July lived with her dad in Arizona, everyone told her she was a boy, no matter what she felt, did, or said. Unable to be herself around others, she spent hours online teaching herself to code. When she moves to Maine to live with her aunts and someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her new school’s website, she’s the only one with the hacking skills to solve the mystery. But is she ready to stand up for herself and what she believes in?
Carry On (Ages 13-17)
Get to know Simon and Baz, two wizards at the Watford School of Magicks. On its surface this young adult novel is similar to others in the wildly popular genre of coming-of-age, magic-rich adventures. It’s only as the two male main characters begin to realize that their antagonistic relationship is actually hiding deeper feelings that this mystery becomes so much more. Written by a New York Times bestselling author, this story is perfect for Harry Potter fans!
You can find more great books like this in our Amazon book lists—we also have suggestions for helping little ones learn to read, and for sparking great conversations about race and diversity. Like the links in this post, some of these may be affiliate links; at ParentsTogether we’re a non-profit, and we’ll earn a percentage of whatever you spend. Thanks for your support!
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