Traditionally, Pride Parades are held throughout the month of June around the world (where those who are on the LGBT spectrum are safe to celebrate their identities in public- which, sadly, is still not everywhere, not even close). As it's coming up to June, I'm here with a list of some of my favourite, favourite queer kid's books, and I hope this gives all of you enough time to grab some of these for your homes and classrooms. Remember- teach love. Always.
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman is a gorgeous and preschool-friendly introduction to pride celebrations. The book also features a wonderful reader's guide at the back explaining various terms in the book as well as further details of the history of LGBT movements in the United States. We love this book over here, and it's a beautiful and colourful introduction for even the youngest readers.
Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer is a sweet, charmingly illustrated story of a young girl with two dads, who is trying to figure out who she can bring to Mother's Day at school. After explaining to friends that she has two dads, she finally decides to bring her whole family- dads, uncle, aunt, grandmother and cousin. The story is a sweet affirmation of the love her father's have for her, and the family that surrounds her. It's lovely.
Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman- one of the most banned children's books of all time, and hugely controversial when it was originally published, this is a new, updated version released for the 20th anniversary last year. Heather is starting school and talking to her new friends about her family, wondering if she's the only one who has a unique family. The teacher decides to have them all draw their own families to show how each family makeup is different- two mums, two dads, a grandma, a single mum, stepparents and more. The book is inclusive, diverse and just great. The updated, fresh version is magnificent and I can't recommend it enough.
Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian is one of my favourite books. A sweet love story of two worms who get married, even though everyone keeps telling them that this isn't how things have been done in the past, the book is gentle and cute as heck. Perfect for even very young ones, the story is simple and full of adorable bugs, which is really all one wants in a toddler love story anyways.
King and King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland is fun and quirkily illustrated and delightful. A prince whose mother wants him to get married is sick of him turning down every princess she brings his way. Finally, he sees the brother of a princess and falls for him, and the two get married and live happily ever after. Colourful, sweet and lovely, there's also a sequel about them adopting a child (King and King and Family).
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino is a gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous story of a little boy who loves getting dressed up in a beautiful dress, despite the children telling him that boys can't wear dresses. Stunning illustrations accompany the sweet story, which concludes with Morris being comfortable with himself and his dress choices. His mother in the story is accepting and loving regarding her son's desire to wear dresses, which is lovely to see so explicitly in a children's book. While it isn't explicit that Morris is non-binary or genderqueer or trans, the story of a boy in a dress who learns to accept himself is timely and perfect. One hundred percent recommend.
The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya is a lovely story about a little boy who thinks his mother's bindi is beautiful and wants one for himself. She happily gives him one, rather than trying to repress that interest. He learns about the history of the bindi and its significance to his culture, and becomes more comfortable with his own self through this connection to his culture and mother. It's gorgeous, features a child of colour (super rare in LGBTQ kid's books!) and is a lovely example of gender norms being gently nudged to the side.
I Am Jazz by Jessica Hershel and Jazz Jennings is one of my all time favourites, has been a staple in my classroom forever and a day, and is written by Jazz herself- the girl who put a face to the concept of trans children to the world at large. Sweet illustrations and a simple story make this a favourite amongst preschool and elementary teachers and i can't recommend it highly enough.
Finally, Who Are You? The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee came out in December of last year and is my new obsession. A book written for children (and this is written in such a straightforward and simple way that it can easily be read to preschoolers) that explains the variety of gender identities and how people can define themselves and the ways in which people identify, I am so, so, so happy that a resource like this finally exists. It's practically perfect and I have recommended it to pretty much everyone I know on my teacher friend's list. Buy it.
I know this was a long list, but i'm hoping it gets people moving to incorporate LGBTQ books in your children's spaces- representation matters in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as in race and religion. I'm definitely hoping for more books about LGBTQ families and children of colour- but we already know racial disparities in children's literature are vast. I'm working on finding more, but in the meantime, these, though fairly white-centred, are still beautiful representations of queerness and would be excellent additions to any bookshelf.
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