When kids, teens, and young adults identify as gay, queer, bisexual, trans or nonbinary, family support is the single most important thing they need to thrive. But often parents and kids will need a lot of additional information and advice too, especially if they’re not already part of a supportive community, school, or social group.
Even kids who are not sure of their identities yet — or kids who never end up identifying as LGBTQ+ at all — can benefit from books that are inclusive, informative, and affirming of people of all genders and identities.
The following research-supported nonfiction LGBTQ+ books should help kids, parents, and caregivers of all ages as they navigate the coming out process together and separately, understand the history that came before this moment, and learn to love and appreciate their full identities.
Helpful guides for parents whose child is coming out
If your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc., is starting to identify somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum of gender or sexuality, you might be in need of some guidance and support — especially if their particular identity or method of expression isn’t something you can personally identify with.
Here are some great LGBTQ+ books for families that will reinforce the ongoing love and joy in your family, while helping you understand what your child might be going through. Listening closely to your child (and trusting them) is also crucial, but you don’t want to put all of the burden on them to explain things that you could simply read about yourself.
- This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question & Answer Guide to Everyday Life by Dan Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo (the authors are also behind the helpful Q&A website for parents, My Kid Is Gay)
- The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes by Diane Ehrensaft
- Unconditional: A Guide to Loving and Supporting Your LGBTQ Child by Telaina Eriksen
- Trans Kids and Teens: Pride, Joy, and Families in Transition by Elijah C. Nealy
- Not ‘Him’ or ‘Her’: Accepting and Loving My Non-Binary Child: Here’s What You Should Know by Michelle Mann
LGBTQ+ books for teens and young adults (ages 13+)
These nonfiction books for teens are all about identity formation, coming out, transitioning, or navigating relationships. Actively show your support by telling your teen you can pick up any of these books they might be interested in. You can also read these in parallel with your teen:
- This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson
- The Gender Quest Workbook: A Guide for Teens and Young Adults Exploring Gender Identity by Rylan Jay Testa, Deborah Coolhart, and Jayme Peta
- What’s the T?: The Guide to All Things Trans and/or Nonbinary by Juno Dawson
- The Pride Guide: The Guide to Sexual and Social Health for LGBTQ Teens by Jo Langford
Teens can also benefit greatly from reading stories in the words of other young people who have gone through something similar, to know they’re not alone. These memoirs are recommended for teens (and their parents!):
- All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson
- Being Jazz: My Life As a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
From the Stonewall riots to accomplished LGBTQ+ people throughout history, learning about the past can also give teens and young adults (and their families) a lot of perspective, confidence, and hope as they come into their own identities. Here are some nonfiction books for young adults focused on LGBTQ+ history and role models:
- The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle E Pitman
- Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager
- No Way, They Were Gay? Hidden Lives and Secret Loves by Lee Wind (and for more great book recommendations, check out the author’s website, I’m Here, I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?)
LGBTQ-inclusive nonfiction books for elementary schoolers and tweens (ages 7-12)
Kids at this age are interested in justice and fairness, might be ready to dig deeper into topics such as romance, or may just have questions about details they notice around them like the Pride flag colors. Whether kids are starting to identify as LGBTQ+ or not, they can gain empathy and awareness by learning about how certain groups have been treated unfairly in history and how they’ve fought to make things better for all. Here are some interesting historical books suited for younger kids:
- Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution by Rob Sanders
- Two Grooms on a Cake: The Story of America’s First Gay Wedding by Rob Sanders
- Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
When kids are ready to learn about puberty and/or sex ed, it can be helpful to get an inclusive guide for them to peruse at their own pace or with you. Here are some guides that affirm all identities, helping kids expand both their confidence and their understanding:
- The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families by Rachel E. Simon
- Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and YOU by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
- You-ology: A Puberty Guide for Every Body by Melisa Holmes, Trish Hutchison, and Kathryn Lowe
Pride books and books about all kinds of families for preschoolers (ages 3-6)
Preschoolers might not have the words or experience to know much about LGBTQ+ identities, and that’s totally fine. But you can still create a welcoming, affirming space for kids of all ages and identities by reading with them. Start with these nonfiction picture books that show different kinds of families and people, and that provide you with age-appropriate ways to talk about (and answer all those wonderfully curious questions about) gender, expression, identity, and Pride:
- Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer
- Families by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly
- Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder
- Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson
- Being You: A First Conversation About Gender by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli
- I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Besides all of these practical guides and nonfiction books for all ages, you can also seek out fiction kids’ books with LGBTQ+ characters that can entertain and inspire, while making kids and families feel seen and understood.